The late, great keyboardist and composer Joe Zawinul (pictured above) — along with his group, the Zawinul Syndicate — won a well-deserved Grammy for “Best Contemporary Jazz Album” during Sunday night’s Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Zawinul’s 2-CD 75 (Heads Up International) bested nominated albums by Stephon Harris & Blackout, Julian Lage, Philippe Saisse, and Mike Stern.
On a night when the national media focused, as usual, on pop and rock, jazz made a relatively quiet but impressive splash. The marvelous trumpeter Terence Blanchard took top honors for “Best Improvised Jazz Solo (for an instrumental solo performance)” for his solo on a track from the Jeff “Tain” Watts album Watts (Dark Key Music), besting solos by fellow nominees Gerald Clayton, Roy Hargrove, Martial Solal, and Miguel Zenón. Chick Corea and John McLaughlin’s Five Peace Band won in the “Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group” category with their spirited release Five Peace Band — Live (Concord), trumping notable releases by Quartet (comprised of Pat Metheny, Gary Burton, Steve Swallow and Antonio Sanchez), the Clayton Brothers, the John Patitucci Trio, and New Orleans pianist Allen Toussaint.
Other winners included Bebo Valdés and Chucho Valdés’ Junto Para Siempre (Sony Music/Calle 54) for “Best Latin Jazz Album” and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s Book One (World Village) for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.” And in the “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album” category, Michael Bublé won with his 143/Reprise disc Michael Bublé Meets Madison Square Garden, topping releases from fellow nominees Tony Bennett, Harry Connick, Jr., Liza Minnelli, and Willie Nelson.
For many jobs very well done, JAZZIZ congratulates all of this year’s Grammy winners and nominees. For a complete list of all the Grammy winners and nominees, go to www.grammy.com/nominees.
Photo credit: Ines Kaiser