This year marked another successful year for the annual GRAMMY Awards. The 55th GRAMMY Pre-Telecast Ceremony was held for the first time at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live. Congratulations to The Recording Academy for scoring such a great venue for the event!
Perhaps it was the change of scenery that made the energy of the audience this year so kinetic. The crowd was alive and crackling, and the theater was pulsating with more anticipation than ever before. The first jazz award of the day was presented to Chick Corea, who took home Best Improvised Jazz Solo for the second consecutive year. Corea shared the award with Gary Burton for the title song from Hot House, a project celebrating their 40th anniversary of making music together. As always, Corea was a gracious winner and it was great to see him present to accept the award with Burton.
The GRAMMY for Best Jazz Vocal Album went to Esperanza Spalding for Radio Music Society. Trumpeter Thara Memory, who has been Spalding's music teacher since she was 8 years old, accompanied her onstage. The pair received a GRAMMY for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for "City Of Roses" from Radio Music Society. They shared with the audience how special their collaboration was on this project.
Best Jazz Instrumental Album was accepted by ecstatic band leader Pat Metheny and bassist Ben Williams of the Pat Metheny Unity Band for the eponymously titled album. The award marked Metheny's 20th career GRAMMY win. Their joy and happiness were palpable.
There were three albums nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: Centennial: Newly Discovered Works Of Gil Evans by Gil Evans Project, For The Moment by Bob Mintzer Big Band and Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You) by Arturo Sandoval. The award went to Sandoval, who was accompanied by co-producer Gregg Field onstage.
"I'm really glad that Chick Corea didn't make a big band record," joked Field, referring to Corea's near sweep of the Jazz Field as the audience erupted into laughter.
The final jazz category announced was Best Latin Jazz Album, which went to the Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band for ¡Ritmo! Brent Fischer, son of the late Clare Fischer, was there to receive the award. His acceptance speech was bittersweet as he shared with the audience that his father had passed away in 2012.
With another GRAMMY season in the books, I look forward to what the jazz community has in store for next year.