Beasley, Clayton, Schneider Among Grammy Nominees


John Beasley earned Grammy nominations in multiple categories, including Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.

(Photo: Raj Naik)

Big band leaders John Beasley and Maria Schneider, pianist Gerald Clayton, trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier are among the artists who have received multiple nominations for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. The nominations were announced today.

Beasley’s recent album, MONK’estra Plays John Beasley, and Schneider’s latest gem, Data Lords, are nominated in the category Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. The other nominees are Gregg August’s Dialogues On Race, Volume One; Orrin Evans & The Captain Black Big Band’s The Intangible Between; and Songs You Like A Lot, by John Hollenbeck with Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry, Gary Versace and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band.

Beasley also is nominated in the category Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella for his arrangement of “Donna Lee” (which appears on MONK’estra Plays John Beasley). Additionally, he is nominated in the category Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals for “Asas Fechadas,” a track that he and Maria Mendes co-arranged for her album Close To Me.

Schneider’s song “Sputnik” (from Data Lords) is nominated for Best Instrumental Composition, a category that also includes Arturo O’Farrill’s “Baby Jack,” Christian Sands’ “Be Water II,” Alexadre Desplat’s “Plumfield,” and Remy Le Boeuf’s “Strata,” which he wrote for his Assembly of Shadows big band.

Clayton’s quintet album Happening: Live At The Village Vanguard earned a nomination in the category Best Instrumental Jazz Album. The other nominees are Ambrose Akinmusire’s On The Tender Spot Of Every Calloused Moment; Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science’s Waiting Game; Chick Corea, Christian McBride and Brian Blade’s Trilogy 2; and Joshua Redman’s RoundAgain, which he recorded with Blade, McBride and Brad Mehldau.

Clayton’s work on the track “Celia” (from Happening) earned him a nod in the category Best Improvised Jazz Solo. Among his fellow nominees is Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, for “Guinevere,” from his album AXIOM.

The trumpeter’s AXIOM earned a nod in the category Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, where it faces tough competition from Jon Batiste’s Chronology Of A Dream: Live At The Village Vanguard; Black Violin’s Take The Stairs; Grégoire Maret, Romain Collin and Bill Frisell’s Americana; and Snarky Puppy’s Live At The Royal Albert Hall.

Collier received three nominations. His release Djesse Vol. 3 is nominated for Album of the Year, a category in which he will compete against such household names as Coldplay and Taylor Swift.

“All I Need,” Collier’s collaboration with Mahalia and Ty Dolla $ign, is nominated for Best R&B Performance. Also, Collier earned a nod in the category Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals for “He Won’t Hold You,” a collaboration he recorded with Rapsody.

The nominees for Best Jazz Vocal album are Thana Alexa’s ONA; Carmen Lundy’s Modern Ancestors; Kenny Washington’s What’s The Hurry; Kurt Elling’s Secrets Are The Best Stories, featuring Danilo Pérez; and Somi’s Holy Room: Live At Alte Oper, a collaboration with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band.

Harry Connick Jr.’s True Love: A Celebration Of Cole Porter is nominated in the category Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. Among the other nominees in that category is James Taylor’s American Standard, an album co-produced by John Pizzarelli and which features such Great American Songbook tunes as “The Nearness Of You” and “It’s Only A Paper Moon.”

The nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album are the Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra’s Tradiciones, Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s Four Questions, Chico Pinheiro’s City Of Dreams, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Aymée Nuviola’s Viento Y Tiempo: Live At Blue Note Tokyo and Poncho Sanchez’s Trane’s Delight, which was the subject of a cover story in the October 2019 issue of DownBeat.

Saxophonist Kamasi Washington earned a nod in the category Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for his work on Becoming, Nadia Hallgren’s documentary about Michelle Obama. Washington faces competition from, among others, a couple of Hollywood icons: Thomas Newman (for 1917) and John Williams (for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker).

Robert Cray is nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album for That’s What I Heard, and nominees for Best Contemporary Blues Album include Bettye LaVette’s Blackbirds and the Ruthie Foster Big Band’s Live At The Paramount.

Releases nominated for Best Historical Album include the Nat “King” Cole set Hittin’ The Ramp: The Early Years (1936–1943). Zev Feldman, Will Friedwald and George Klabin served as compilation producers for the set, and Matthew Lutthans was the mastering engineer. Also nominated in that category is banjo player Béla Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart: The Complete Africa Sessions. Fleck was the compilation producer, and Richard Dodd was the mastering engineer.

The Grammy Awards will be presented on March 14, 2021, and a portion of the ceremony will be broadcast live by CBS. After initially announcing that the awards ceremony would take place on Jan. 31, the Recording Academy announced on Jan. 5 that the new date would be March 14, citing concerns related to to pandemic.

A complete list of nominations is posted at the Grammy website. DB

Updated Jan. 8

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