Feature photo of John Daversa courtesy the artist
Trumpeter-bandleader John Daversa, vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, drummer Steve Gadd and saxophone icon Wayne Shorter were among the big winners in the jazz categories of the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. They received their trophies during a pre-broadcast ceremony at the Microsoft Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, along with other winners in the jazz, blues and classical categories. The ceremony was streamed online prior to the Recording Academy’s 8 p.m. network broadcast on CBS.
Here, we present you with an audio recap of this year’s Grammy winners in jazz. Listen for yourself to all the outstanding music that was honored for 2019.
The night’s biggest winner was undoubtedly John Daversa, chair of the studio music and jazz program at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. The visionary trumpeter-bandleader took home three Grammy awards for American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom, a large ensemble album released on BFM Jazz that features performances by artists who live in the United States under the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Daversa won for every category for which he was nominated, including Best Large Ensemble Album and Best Improvised Solo, which came for the track “Don’t Fence Me In.”
He also won in the Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella category for his version of “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
Saxophonist Wayne Shorter, at 85 years old, earned top honors in the Best Jazz Album category for Emanon, his epic three-disc album featuring his longtime working quartet (Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass and Brian Blade on drums) as well as the 34-piece Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Released in September on the Blue Note label, the album came with an accompanying graphic novel written by Shorter and Monica Sly and illustrated by Randy DuBurke. Its recognition here as Best Jazz Album marks Shorter’s 10th Grammy award.
Vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant’s win for Best Jazz Vocal Album — for her Mack Avenue project The Window, featuring pianist Sullivan Fortner — is the singer’s third consecutive win in that category.
In the Latin jazz categories, drummer Dafnis Prieto (Daversa’s colleague at the University of Miami) took home the award for Best Latin Jazz Album for his disc Back to the Sunset. The album was also nominated for a Latin Grammy earlier this year. Stream the title track below, featuring reedist Henry Threadgill.
The Spanish Harlem Orchestra won the category for Best Tropical Latin Album for their project Anniversary, which commemorates the band’s tremendous 15-year history.
In other categories, jazz drummer Steve Gadd nabbed the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for his disc Steve Gadd Band. The prize is Gadd’s first Grammy Award, coming on the heels of his nomination for Way Back Home for the same category in 2016.
And trumpeter Terence Blanchard won in the Best Instrumental Composition Category for his track “Blut Und Boden (Blood And Soil),” which appeared in the score of the Oscar-nominated Spike Lee film BlacKkKlansman. (Blanchard’s score has also been nominated for an Academy Award.) For Blanchard, who has scored all of Lee’s films since 1991’s Jungle Fever, this year’s win marks his fourth Grammy Award.
In the Best Music Film category, the Grammy went to Quincy, the Netflix documentary that provided an endearing look at the producer and bandleader Quincy Jones’ storied — and sometimes troubled — personal history. The film was co-written and co-directed by Alan Hicks and Jones’ daughter Rashida. The win is Jones’ 28th Grammy Award, making him the living artist with the most awards in Grammy history.