All That Jazz And More!

The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards Pre-Telecast Ceremony (which can be viewed on demand now), was great fun, and there were moments that I'll remember forever.

Being in the presence of some of the most creative people that I have ever met was intoxicating. The vocalists, songwriters, musicians, recording engineers, and DJs all were abuzz with anticipation, apprehension and appreciation of all that was going on around them.

It was a good vibe.

It was very cool to me that many of the award presenters were from the jazz genre. We were honored with the presence of young pianist/composer Gerald Clayton, luminaries Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke, Latin jazz pianist Arturo O'Farrill and last year's Best New Artist winner Esperanza Spalding.

The Rebirth Brass Band got the audience jumping with a rousing performance of their brand of New Orleans funk as they made their way up the aisle to the stage. It was a great segue into the Pre-Telecast segment that announced the winners in the Jazz Field categories.

The five nominees for Best Improvised Jazz Solo were all heavy-hitters and if it were possible, I'd want all of them to receive a trophy. But Corea's solo in the composition "500 Miles High" was well deserving of the honor. It was made even better by the fact that he was actually there to receive the award. For me, there's nothing like hearing the heartfelt acceptance speech from an artist that has just been acknowledged for their hard work.

I was thrilled when drummer Terri Lyne Carrington's The Mosaic Project was announced as the recipient of the Best Jazz Vocal Album. (To be nominated in this category, an album must have 51 percent vocals.) I had met Carrington at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception the day before and shared with her my enthusiasm for her latest release. The Mosaic Project was one of my favorite albums in 2011. Well done, Academy members.

Corea and Clarke made a second joint appearance to accept the trophy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. Corea and Clarke teamed with drummer Lenny White for the Forever album. Most jazzheads would agree that Forever was a worthy recipient.

The last jazz category to be awarded was for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. It was exciting to be there and watch bassist Christian McBride win his third GRAMMY for The Good Feeling, his debut big-band effort on Mack Avenue Records.

It was all over way too soon. I can't wait to bring you all of the excitement of the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2013!


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