Spalding, Hancock and Bridgewater Among Jazz Grammy Winners

Esperanza Spalding becomes first jazz musician to win Best New Artist award

Herbie Hancock at CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival 2010 image 0
Melissa Mergner

Herbie Hancock at CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival 2010

In a pre-telecast ceremony held in Los Angeles today, the winners in nearly 100 categories were announced. Included in that presentation were the jazz categories, in which Stanley Clarke, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Billy Childs, Herbie Hancock, Chucho Valdes and the late James Moody were among the winners.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the night occurred later during the nationally broadcast show, when bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding won Best New Artist, a category that included teen sensation Justin Bieber, hip-hop/R&B artist Drake and roots music stars Mumford & Sons. Spalding is the first jazz artist to win that award. Spalding also performed with the Grammy Jazz High School Ensemble.

Herbie Hancock, whose River famously beat out records by Kanye West and Amy Winehouse to win Album of the Year in 2008, won again in a pop-dominated category: “Imagine,” off his The Imagine Project, triumphed over songs from albums by Katy Perry and Lady Gaga in the Pop Collaboration With Vocals category.

During the telecast, Roy Haynes’ Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award was mentioned, as was a Trustees Award for Blue Note chairman emeritus Bruce Lundvall. Also, a tribute montage to recently deceased music legends noted James Moody, Dr. Billy Taylor, Lena Horne and photographers Herman Leonard and Jim Marshall.

The pre-telecast ceremony was ably hosted by Bobby McFerrin and Spalding, both of whom ended up accepting many an award for no-shows, usually with the words, “The Podium is happy to accept this award on behalf of BLANK.” For those watching on streamed webcast, McFerrin proved himself a particularly entertaining host, able to improvise clever song bits and ad libs. After Neil Young exited the stage, McFerrin sang in Young-like falsetto the first bars of “Helpless.”

The reality is that for a serious music fan the pre-telecast is way more interesting and engaging. Where else will you get to see people like Billy Childs, Stanley Clarke and Dee Dee Bridgewater accept awards, among company such as Patty Griffin, Neil Young, Paul McCartney and Jeff Beck? And although jazz people like to complain about being treated as second (or third) class citizens, among the pre-telecast winners were Lady Gaga, The Black Keys, Usher and Eminem.

Below are the winners (in bold) along with the rest of the nominees in the categories with some connection to jazz. For a complete list of winners, you can go the Grammy website.

Congratulations to the winners, as well as the nominees, all of whom at least had the option to get dressed up on a Sunday night in Los Angeles.

Best Pop Instrumental Album

Take Your Pick

Larry Carlton & Tak Matsumoto

[335 Records, Inc.].

Pushing The Envelope

Gerald Albright

[Heads Up International].

Heart And Soul

Kenny G

[Concord Records].


Robby Krieger

[Oglio Records].

Everything Is Everything: The Music Of Donny Hathaway

Kirk Whalum

[Rendezvous Music/Mack Avenue].

Best Contemporary Jazz Album

For albums containing 51% or more playing time of INSTRUMENTAL tracks.

The Stanley Clarke Band

The Stanley Clarke Band

[Heads Up International]

Never Can Say Goodbye

Joey DeFrancesco

[HighNote Records]

Now Is The Time

Jeff Lorber Fusion

[Heads Up International]

To The One

John McLaughlin

[Abstract Logix]


Trombone Shorty

[Verve Forecast]

Best Jazz Vocal Album

For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.

Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee

Dee Dee Bridgewater


Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B

Freddy Cole

[HighNote Records]

When Lights Are Low

Denise Donatelli

[Savant Records]


Lorraine Feather

[Jazzed Media]


Gregory Porter

[Motéma Music]

Best Improvised Jazz Solo

For an instrumental jazz solo performance. Two equal performers on one recording may be eligible as one entry. If the soloist listed appears on a recording billed to another artist, the latter’s name is in parenthesis for identification. Singles or Tracks only.

A Change Is Gonna Come

Herbie Hancock, soloist

Track from: The Imagine Project

[Hancock Records]


Alan Broadbent, soloist

Track from: Live At Giannelli Square: Volume 1

[Chilly Bin Records]

Body And Soul

Keith Jarrett, soloist

Track from: Jasmine


Lonely Woman

Hank Jones, soloist

Track from: Pleased To Meet You

[Justin Time Records]

Van Gogh

Wynton Marsalis, soloist

Track from: Portrait In Seven Shades (Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra)

[Jazz At Lincoln Center]

Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group

For albums containing 51% or more playing time of INSTRUMENTAL tracks.

Moody 4B

James Moody

[IPO Recordings]


John Beasley

[Resonance Records]

The New Song And Dance

Clayton Brothers



Vijay Iyer Trio

[ACT Music + Vision]


Danilo Perez

[Mack Avenue Records]

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

For large jazz ensembles, including big band sounds. Albums must contain 51% or more INSTRUMENTAL tracks.

Mingus Big Band Live At Jazz Standard

Mingus Big Band

[Jazz Workshop, Inc./Jazz Standard]

Infernal Machines

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society

[New Amsterdam Records]

Autumn: In Moving Pictures Jazz – Chamber Music Vol. 2

Billy Childs Ensemble Featuring The Ying String Quartet



Dave Holland Octet

[Dare2 Records]


Metropole Orkest, John Scofield & Vince Mendoza


Best Latin Jazz Album

Vocal or Instrumental.

Chucho’s Steps

Chucho Valdés And The Afro-Cuban Messengers

[Four Quarters Entertainment]

Tango Grill

Pablo Aslan


Second Chance

Hector Martignon


Psychedelic Blues

Poncho Sanchez

[Concord Picante]

¡Bien Bien!

Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet

[Patois Records]

Best Contemporary World Music Album

Vocal or Instrumental.

Throw Down Your Heart , Africa Sessions Part 2: Unreleased Tracks

Béla Fleck

[Acoustic Planet Records]

All In One

Bebel Gilberto



Angelique Kidjo

[Razor & Tie Entertainment]

Bom Tempo

Sergio Mendes

[Concord Records]

Om Namo Narayanaya: Soul Call

Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon

[Soul Chants Music]

Best Instrumental Composition

A Composer’s Award for an original composition (not an adaptation) first released during the Eligibility Year. Singles or Tracks only.

The Path Among The Trees

Billy Childs, composer (Billy Childs Ensemble)

Track from: Autumn: In Moving Pictures Jazz – Chamber Music Vol. 2



Patrick Williams, composer (Patrick Williams The Big Band)

Track from: Aurora


Battle Circle

Gerald Clayton, composer (Clayton Brothers)


Box Of Cannoli

Tim Hagans, composer (The Norrbotten Big Band)

Track from: The Avatar Sessions

[Fuzzy Music]

Fourth Stream…La Banda

Bill Cunliffe, composer (Temple University Symphony Orchestra)

[Boyer College Of Music And Dance]

Best Instrumental Arrangement

An Arranger’s Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.


Vince Mendoza, arranger (John Scofield, Vince Mendoza & Metropole Orkest)

Track from: 54


Fanfare For A New Day

Patrick Williams, arranger (Patrick Williams The Big Band)

Track from: Aurora


Itsbynne Reel

Gil Goldstein, arranger (Dave Eggar)

Track from: Kingston Morning

[Domo Records]


Ted Nash, arranger (Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra)

Track from: Portrait In Seven Shades

[Jazz At Lincoln Center]

Skip To My Lou

Frank Macchia, arranger (Frank Macchia)

Track from: Folk Songs For Jazzers


Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)

An Arranger’s Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

Baba Yetu

Christopher Tin, arranger (Christopher Tin, Soweto Gospel Choir & Royal

Philharmonic Orchestra)

Track from: Calling All Dawns

[Tin Works Publishing]


Roger Treece, arranger (Bobby McFerrin)

Track from: Vocabularies


Based On A Thousand True Stories

Vince Mendoza, arranger (Silje Nergaard & Metropole Orchestra Strings)

Track from: A Thousand True Stories


Don’t Explain

Geoffrey Keezer, arranger (Denise Donatelli)

Track from: When Lights Are Low

[Savant Records]

Herbie Hancock & Larry Klein, arrangers (Herbie Hancock, Pink, Seal, Jeff Beck,

India.Arie, Konono No 1 & Oumou Sangare)

Track from: The Imagine Project

[Hancock Records]

Best Album Notes

Keep An Eye On The Sky

Robert Gordon, album notes writer (Big Star)


Alan Lomax In Haiti: Recordings For The Library Of Congress, 1936-1937

Gage Averill, album notes writer (Various Artists)

[Harte Recordings]

Side Steps

Ashley Kahn, album notes writer (John Coltrane)

[Prestige Records]

There Breathes A Hope: The Legacy Of John Work II And His Fisk Jubilee Quartet, 1909-1916

Doug Seroff, album notes writer (Fisk University Jubilee Quartet)

[Archeophone Records]

True Love Cast Out All Evil

Will Sheff, album notes writer (Roky Erickson With Okkervil River)


Best Classical Crossover Album

Award to the Artist(s) and/or to the Conductor.

Tin, Christopher: Calling All Dawns

Lucas Richman, conductor (Sussan Deyhim, Lia, Kaori Omura, Dulce Pontes, Jia

Ruhan, Aoi Tada & Frederica von Stade; Anonymous 4 & Soweto Gospel Choir; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)

[Tin Works Publishing]

Meeting Of The Spirits

Matt Haimovitz (Amaryllis Jarczyk, Jan Jarczyk, John McLaughlin, Dominic

Painchaud, Leanna Rutt & Matt Wilson)

[Oxingale Records]

Off The Map

The Silk Road Ensemble

[World Village]

Roots – My Life, My Song

Jessye Norman (Ira Coleman, Steve Johns, Mike Lovatt, Mark Markham & Martin


[Sony Classical]


Bobby McFerrin