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Scofield, Bowie, ‘Miles Ahead’: Winners from the 59th Grammys

Grammy Award

Guitarist John Scofield, Snarky Puppy, Gregory Porter, and the late David Bowie are some of the big winners.  The 59th Grammy Awards brought a mix of established artists and up-and-comers. Here are some of the winners.

Best Improvised Jazz Solo:
"I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" - John Scofield, soloist
Best Jazz Instrumental Album:
John Scofield, Country For Old Men

Credit johnscofield.com

It’s better late than never for three time Grammy winning guitarist John Scofield.  His latest effort Country For Old Men notched him 2017 Grammys for Best Improvised Jazz Solo and Best Jazz Instrumental Album.  Scofield is a back to back winner in the instrumental album category.  His first Grammy was for 2016’s Past Present. John Scofield wasn’t at the Grammy ceremony to accept his awards.  He’s celebrating his wins on the road between tour dates in Massachusetts and California.

Best Large Ensemble Album:
Presidential Suite: Eight Variations on Freedom - Ted Nash Big Band
Best Instrumental Composition:
"Spoken At Midnight" - Ted Nash, composer (Ted Nash Big Band)

Ted Nash album cover

Composer Ted Nash takes some of the most moving speeches of the 20th century and interprets them into big band jazz compositions. The album has been critically praised by fans and critics alike.  Nash’s Best Instrumental Composition winner Spoken at Midnight is from a speech by Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India.  You can hear the original speech HERE.  

When I hear a speech offered from the soul of a great person, I’m moved by the rhythm, the cadence, the pauses, what it communicates, and even the audience’s reaction. It’s like music. Great political speeches inspire us to believe we are capable of achieving great things together. It is my hope that when people listen to Presidential Suite, they will be reminded not only how far we have come but also how much we still have to do regarding human rights and freedom.” – Ted Nash

Last year Ted spoke with Gary Walker about the album, listen to the interview here.

Best Jazz Vocal Album:
Take Me To the Alley - Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter album cover

Gregory Porter’s latest album Take Me To The Alley is his second straight Grammy award winning release.  The transplant from the West Coast - he spent his formative years in California but now makes his home in New York - previously won the Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 2014 Grammys for Liquid Spirit.  In his acceptance speech, Porter paid tribute to the late singer Al Jarreau.

Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media:
"Miles Ahead" - (Miles Davis & Various Artists)

Miles Ahead

Miles Ahead certainly wasn’t the highest grossing movie of 2016, but who’s to deny Miles Davis a music award when there’s one to be given?  Don Cheadle stars and directs the film.  He called on two- (now three-) time Grammy award winner Robert Glasper to arrange it.  Glasper also added some of his own compositions. Last year we welcomed Miles Davis' son Erin Davis to speak about the near decade-long process of making the film. Listen to that conversation here.

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album:
Culcha Vulcha - Snarky Puppy

Snarky Puppy
Snarky Puppy

Snarky Puppy have claimed the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album Grammy once again.  The so-called “once Texan, now New York-based quasi-collective” jazz ensemble actually won at three straight Grammy Awards ceremonies.  In 2014 they won Best R&B Performance for “Something” off of the Family Dinner – Volume 1 album with singer Lalah Hathaway. If you haven't seen the band play live, here's your opportunity - a full concert courtesy of WBGO's Jazz Night in America.

Best Alternative Music Album:
Blackstar - David Bowie

Best Rock Performance:
"Blackstar" - David Bowie

Best Rock Song:
"Blackstar" - David Bowie, songwriter
Best Recording Package:  
Blackstar - Jonathan Barnbrook, art director (David Bowie)

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical:
Blackstar - David Bowie, Tom Elmhirst, Kevin Killen & Tony Visconti, engineers; Joe LaPorta, mastering engineer (David Bowie)

David Bowie, Blackstar
David Bowie, Blackstar

David Bowie’s 25th studio album, Blackstar, was released two days prior to his death on Jan. 10, 2016.  It's now technically his most critically acclaimed album, winning all five Grammy's it was nominated for.  Hard to believe, right?  He previously won a Grammy for Best Short-Form Video for Jazzin' for Blue Jean.  Bowie worked with the Donny McCaslin Quartet on his final studio album.  You can hear saxophonist Donny McCaslin and pianist Jason Lindner on The Checkout, where they talk about the British rockstar's final album HERE.

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella:
"You and I" - Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier)

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals:
"Flintstones" - Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier)

Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier found Grammy favor twice, and it's no surprise it was as an arranger - the young musician has quickly gained fame for his smart and intricate performances where he plays every part. With the help and endorsement of Quincy Jones, Collier has amassed a large online following, where not only his music but also videos are a technical marvel. We were lucky to have him perform in studio on The Checkout

Best Traditional Blues Album:
Porcupine Meat - Bobby Rush

Best Contemporary Blues Album:
The Last Days of Oakland - Fantastic Negrito

Best Latin Jazz Album:
Tribute to Irakere: Live in Marciac - Chucho Valdés