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2016 Grammy Nominations: The Jazz Side

National Scene

Tony Bennett and Bill CharlapAlthough Jazz has been rarely high profile among Grammy nominations, awards or the televised awards program (save Esperanza Spalding’s surprise win as Best New Artist in 2011), there are a number of jazz and jazz-related categories, and again, the 2016 nominations reflect a broad cross-section of jazz artists appearing in both jazz and not-really-jazz categories. And sometimes the definitions of categories seem a bit blurry, which perhaps works to the advantage of artists like Tony Bennett and Bill Charlap, nominated for “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album” (The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern).

There are some Minnesota connections, notably Minnesota native Maria Schneider, whose music received three nominations, along with 2015 visitors to the Twin Cities–Bettye LaVette, Bill Frisell, Karrin Allyson, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Eliane Elias, Terence Blanchard, Bob Mintzer, and Jamison Ross.

The 2016 nominations of jazz artists, or artists often associated with jazz music, include:

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

  • The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern, Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap [RPM Records/Columbia Records]

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album

  • Guitar In The Space Age!, Bill Frisell [Okeh]
  • Afrodeezia, Marcus Miller [Blue Note Records]
  • Sylva, Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest [Impulse!]
  • The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter IV, Kirk Whalum [Mack Avenue Records]
Joshua Redman (Bad Plus)
Joshua Redman (Bad Plus), © Andrea Canter

Best Improvised Jazz Solo

  •  “Giant Steps,” Joey Alexander, My Favorite Things [Motema Music]
  •  “Cherokee,” Christian McBride, Live At The Village Vanguard (Christian McBride Trio) [Mack Avenue Records]
  •  “Arbiters Of Evolution,” Donny McCaslin, The Thompson Fields (Maria Schneider Orchestra) [ArtistShare]
  •  “Friend or Foe,” Joshua Redman, The Bad Plus Joshua Redman [Nonesuch]
  • “Past Present,” John Scofield, Past Present [Impulse!]

Cecile McLorin Salvant CD Cover 2015Best Jazz Vocal Album

  • Many A New Day: Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein, Karrin Allyson [Motema Music]
  • Find A Heart, Denise Donatelli [Savant Records]
  • Flirting With Disaster, Lorraine Feather [Jazzed Media]
  • Jamison, Jamison Ross [Concord Jazz]
  • For One to Love, Cécile McLorin Salvant [Mack Avenue Records]

Best Jazz Instrumental Album

  • My Favorite Things, Joey Alexander [Motema Music]
  • Breathless, Terence Blanchard Featuring The E-Collective [Blue Note Records]
  • Covered: Recorded Live at Capitol Studios, Robert Glasper & The Robert Glasper Trio [Blue Note Records]
  • Beautiful Life, Jimmy Green [Mack Avenue Records]
  • Past Present, John Scofield [Impulse!]

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

  • Lines Of Color, Gil Evans Project [Blue Note/ArtistShare]
  •  Köln, Marshall Gilkes & WDR Big Band [Alternate Side Records]
  • Cuba: The Conversation Continues, Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, [Motema Music]
  • The Thompson Fields, Maria Schneider Orchestra [ArtistShare]
  • Home Suite Home, Patrick Williams [BFM Jazz]
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Maria Schneider Orchestra, © Andrea Canter

Best Latin Jazz Album

  • Made In Brazil, Eliane Elias [Concord Jazz]
  •  Impromptu, The Rodriguez Brothers [Criss Cross Jazz]
  •  Suite Caminos, Gonzalo Rubalcaba [5Passion]
  •  Intercambio, Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet [Patois Records]
  •  Identities Are Changeable, Miguel Zenón [Miel Music]

Best Instrumental Composition

  •  “The Afro Latin Jazz Suite,”Arturo O’Farrill, composer, Cuba: The Conversation Continues, Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra Featuring Rudresh Mahanthappa [Motema Music]
  •  “Civil War,” Bob Mintzer, composer, Get Up, Bob Mintzer Big Band [MCG Jazz]
  •  “Confetti Man,” David Balakrishnan, composer, Confetti Man, Turtle Island Quartet [Azica Records]
  • “Neil,” Rich DeRosa, composer, Lab 2015, University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band [North Texas Jazz]
  •  “Vesper,” Marshall Gilkes, composer, Köln, Marshall Gilkes & WDR Big Band [Alternate Side Records]

Best Arrangement/Instrumental or A Cappella

  •  “Ghost Of A Chance,” Bob James, arranger, The New Cool, Bob James & Nathan East) [Yamaha Entertainment Group Of America]
  • “You and the Night and the Music,” John Fedchock, arranger, Like It Is, John Fedchock New York Big Band [Mama Records]

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals

  • “Be My Muse,” Shelly Berg, arranger, Flirting With Disaster (Lorraine Feather)
  • [Jazzed Media]
  • “52nd & Broadway”, Patrick Williams, arranger, Home Suite Home (Patrick Williams Featuring Patti Austin) [BFM Jazz]
  •  “Garota de Ipanema,” Otmaro Ruiz, arranger, Catina DeLuna Featuring Otmaro Ruiz [Cantina De Luna]
  • “Sue (Or In a Season of Crime)”, Maria Schneider, arranger, Nothing Has Changed (David Bowie) [Legacy/Columbia]
  • “When I Come Home,” Jimmy Greene, arranger, Beautiful Life (Jimmy Greene With Javier Colon) [Mack Avenue Records]

Erroll Garner COmplete Concert by the Sea CD CoverBest Historical Album
The Complete Concert by the Sea (Errol Garner), Geri Allen, Jocelyn Arem & Steve Rosenthal, compilation producers; Jessica Thompson, mastering engineer [Columbia/Legacy]

Best Music Film
What Happened, Miss Simone? (Nina Simone), Liz Garbus, video director; Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby, Jayson Jackson & Justin Wilkes, video producers [Netflix]


The 2016 Grammy Awards will be broadcast live on February 15, 7 pm CST on CBS, or stream live from the Grammy website.