Scofield, Hersch, Mehldau Lead Jazz Grammy Noms


Fred Hersch was nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo and Best Jazz Instrumental Album

(Photo: Martin Zeman)

Guitarist John Scofield and pianists Fred Hersch and Brad Mehldau are among the jazz artists nominated for multiple awards at the 59th annual Grammys this year. David Bowie and his album Blackstar (ISO/Columbia) also garnered mass appeal with a total of five nominations.

The Best Improvised Jazz Solo category included both the young and old, but all familiar names. Child prodigy Joey Alexander returned as a Grammy nominee for his solo on the title track of his sophomore album Countdown (Motéma). His competition consists of two other well-known pianists: Hersch, for his solo on “We See” from Sunday Night At The Vanguard (Palmetto), and Mehldau, for his solo on “I Concentrate On You” from the Blues And Ballads (Nonesuch). The category is rounded out with Ravi Coltrane’s solo on the title track of In Movement (ECM), recorded with Jack DeJohnette and Matthew Garrison.

The nominees for Best Jazz Vocal Album are René Marie’s Sound Of Red (Motéma), Branford Marsalis and Kurt Elling’s Upward Spiral (Okeh), Gregory Porter’s Take Me To The Alley (Blue Note), Catherine Russell’s Harlem On My Mind (Jazz Village) and The Tierney Sutton Band’s The Sting Variations (BFM Jazz).

Nearness, a collaboration between Mehldau and Joshua Redman on Nonesuch records, is among the nominees for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, along with NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron’s Book Of Intuition (Impulse!). The category also includes Peter Erskine’s Dr. Um (Fuzzy), The Fred Hersch Trio’s Sunday Night At The Vanguard (Palmetto) and John Scofield’s Country For Old Men (Impulse!).

The Best Large Jazz Ensemble category includes two tributes, John Beasley’s Presents Monk’estra, Vol. 1 (Mack Avenue) and John Daversa’s Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music Of The Beatles (BFM Jazz), as well as the Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society’s Real Enemies (New Amsterdam), Bob Mintzer’s All L.A. Band (Fuzzy) and Ted Nash Big Band’s Presidential Suite: Eight Variations On Freedom (Motéma).

The nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album are Andy González’s Entre Colegas (Truth Revolution), Brian Lynch’s Madera Latino: A Latin Jazz Perspective On The Music Of Woody Shaw (Hollistic Musicworks), Michael Spiro and Wayne Wallace La Orquesta Sinfonietta’s Canto América (Patois), Trio Da Paz’s 30 (Zoho) and Chucho Valdés’ Tribute To Irakere: Live In Marciac (Jazz Village).

After winning the Beyond Artist and Beyond Album categories in both DownBeat’s Critics and Readers Polls, Bowie’s received Grammy nominations in five categories. Blackstar was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical and Best Recording Package. Its title track was also nominated for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance.

This year, jazz did more than dominate Best Contemporary Instrumental Album—it completely swept the category. Bill Frisell’s When You Wish Upon A Star (Okeh) and Snarky Puppy’s Culcha Vulcha (Groud Up) are among the nominees, as are Herb Albert’s Human Nature (Herb Albert Presents), the Steve Gadd Band’s Way Back Home: Live From Rochester, NY (BFM Jazz) and Chuck Loebb’s Unspoken (Shanachie Entertainment).

Joe Bonamassa’s Live At The Greek Theatre (J&R Adventures) is among the nominees for Best Traditional Blues Album, a category that also includes Lurrie Bell’s Can’t Shake This Feeling (Delmark), Luther Dickinson’s Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger’s Songbook: Volumes I & II) (New West), Vasti Jackson’s The Soul Of Jimmie Rodgers (VJM) and Bobby Rush’s Porcupine Meat (Rounder).

William Bell has a nomination for Best Traditional R&B Performance for “The Three Of Me” from the album This Is Where I Live (Stax). The album was also nominated for Best Americana Album.

Miles Ahead (Columbia/Legacy), the soundtrack for the Miles Davis biopic of the same name, is up for the Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media.

The awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 12 and broadcast by CBS. DB

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