The jazz musicians who took home trophies last night at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards spanned several generations, a testament to the durability—and vitality—of America’s homegrown musical art form.
The winners included 29-year-old singer Cécile McLorin Salvant, who won her third Grammy in the Jazz Vocal Album category for The Window (Mack Avenue), her intimate duo record with pianist Sullivan Fortner, featuring in-studio tracks along with live cuts from the Village Vanguard in Manhattan.
Saxophonist Wayne Shorter, 85, won his 11th Grammy for Emanon (Blue Note), his first album since 2013’s Without a Net, featuring his longtime quartet of Danilo Pérez on piano, John Patitucci on bass, and Brian Blade on drums. His bandmates wheeled the ailing Shorter onstage to accept the award during the “premiere” (i.e., non-televised) portion of the Grammy ceremony at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Following a standing ovation, Shorter gave a brief speech in which he thanked “all the people behind the scenes in the record industry who secretly do what I’m trying to do: take a trail less trodden.” It was one of the evening’s most emotional moments.
Trumpeter John Daversa took home three Grammys for his album American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom, featuring his big band alongside DACA artists—in what seemed to be a clear political statement by Grammy voters against the Trump administration’s harsh policies on immigrants. Daversa won the award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album as well as Best Improvised Jazz Solo (on “Don’t Fence Me In”) and Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella (for “Stars and Stripes Forever”).
The Dafnis Prieto Big Band won in the Best Latin Jazz Album category for Back to the Sunset, the drummer’s first album to feature a large ensemble, while the Spanish Harlem Orchestra won Best Tropical Latin Album for Anniversary.
In related categories, Willie Nelson won a Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album award for My Way, his heartfelt tribute to Frank Sinatra. The Steve Gadd Band took home a Best Contemporary Instrumental Album Grammy for its self-titled release. Terence Blanchard won Best Instrumental Composition for “Blut and Boden (Blood and Soil),” from his soundtrack to Spike Lee’s film BlacKkKlansman; Blanchard has also received a first-time Oscar nomination for the same piece. Keyboardist Randy Waldman‘s version of “Spiderman Theme,” featuring Take 6 and Chris Potter, won Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals. And Quincy, the Netflix documentary on Quincy Jones, won the Best Music Film award—which means that Jones has now won 28 Grammys, more than any living artist.
A full list of winners can be found here.