Grammy Awards 2021: The full list of jazz nominees

The Recording Academy’s nominees for the 2021 Grammy Awards include jazz heavyweights honoured in a number of categories across the board.

Gerald Clayton, Chick Corea, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Robert Glasper, Maria Schneider, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Remy Le Boeuf, Arturo O’Farrill and John Beasley are all nominated for multiple Grammys.

In the main jazz categories, you’ll also find Ambrose Akinmusire, Terri Lyne Carrington, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling, Carmen Lundy, Kenny Washington and Poncho Sanchez among the nominees.

This year’s Grammys also feature a big nod to Toronto-based violinist Drew Jurecka, who’s nominated for record of the year thanks to his role in the engineering and mixing of Dua Lipa’s song Don’t Start Now.

Jazz also dominates the races for best contemporary instrumental album and best instrumental composition, with nods to Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Jon Batiste, Maria Schneider, Snarky Puppy, Christian Sands, Arturo O’Farrill, Remy Le Boeuf and the trio of Grégoire Maret, Romain Collin and Bill Frisell.

A number of artists known for their work in jazz have crossed over into the R&B realm of the Grammys this year. Gregory Porter’s All Rise is nominated for best R&B album. Robert Glasper’s F*** Yo Feelings is up for best progressive R&B album, and his tune Better Than I Imagine, featuring H.E.R. and Meshell Ndegeocello, is nominated for best R&B song.

Jacob Collier earned a nod in the big-ticket category of this year’s album of the year for his fourth record, Djesse Vol.3. He’s also nominated for best arrangement for his song He Won’t Hold You, featuring Rapsody, and for best R&B performance for his tune All I Need, featuring Mahalia and Ty Dolla $ign.

Norah Jones and Mavis Staples are nominated for best American roots performance for their duet ballad I’ll Be Gone. 

On top of nominations for Beasley and Collier, two other jazz acts are nominated for best arrangement, instruments and vocals: Säje, the vocal supergroup of Sara Gazarek, Erin Bentlage, Johnaye Kendrick and Amanda Taylor, for their tune Desert Song; and Alan Broadbent and Pat Metheny, for Metheny’s song From This Place.

Harry Connick Jr.’s record True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter, is up for best traditional pop vocal album.

Bebel Gilberto’s Agora, an album highly influenced by the relationship with her father João Gilberto, is nominated for best global music album.

Kamasi Washington’s soundtrack for the Michelle Obama documentary Becoming is included in the category of best score soundtrack for visual media.

The blues categories include nominations for Bettye LaVette, Don Bryant, Bobby Rush and the Ruthie Foster Big Band.

Check out the list of nominees in the jazz-related categories below.

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Grammy Awards 2020


Best Improvised Jazz Solo

  • Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – Guinevere
  • Regina Carter – Pachamama
  • Gerald Clayton – Celia
  • Chick Corea – All Blues
  • Joshua Redman – Moe Honk


Best Jazz Vocal Album

  • Thana Alexa – Ona
  • Kurt Elling feat. Danilo Pérez – Secrets Are the Best Stories
  • Carmen Lundy – Modern Ancestors
  • Somi with Frankfurt Radio Big Band – Holy Room: Live at Alte Oper
  • Kenny Washington – What’s the Hurry


Best Jazz Instrumental Album

  • Ambrose Akinmusire – On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment
  • Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science – Waiting Game
  • Gerald Clayton – Happening: Live at the Village Vanguard
  • Chick Corea, Christian McBride & Brian Blade – Trilogy 2
  • Redman Mehldau McBride Blade – RoundAgain


Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

  • Gregg August – Dialogues on Race
  • John Beasley – MONK’estra Plays John Beasley
  • Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band – The Intangible Between
  • John Hollenbeck with Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry, Gary Versace and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band – Songs You Like a Lot
  • Maria Schneider Orchestra – Data Lords


Best Latin Jazz Album

  • Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra – Tradiciones
  • Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra – Four Questions
  • Chico Pinheiro – City of Dreams
  • Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Aymée Nuviola – Viento Y Tiempo: Live at Blue Note Tokyo
  • Poncho Sanchez – Trane’s Delight


Best Contemporary Instrumental Album

  • Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – Axiom
  • Jon Batiste – Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard
  • Black Violin – Take the Stairs
  • Grégoire Maret, Romain Collin & Bill Frisell – Americana
  • Snarky Puppy – Live at the Royal Albert Hall


Best Instrumental Composition

  • Arturo O’Farrill – Baby Jack
  • Christian Sands – Be Water II
  • Alexander Desplat – Plumfield
  • Maria Schneider – Sputnik
  • Remy Le Boeuf – Strata


Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella

  • Hildur Guðnadóttir – Bathroom Dance
  • John Beasley – Donna Lee
  • Remy Le Boeuf – Honeymooners
  • Alvin Chea & Jarrett Johnson – Lift Every Voice and Sing
  • Jeremy Levy – Uranus: The Magician

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals

  • John Beasley & Maria Mendes – Asas Fechadas
  • Erin Bentlage, Sara Gazarek, Johnaye Kendrick & Amanda Taylor – Desert Song
  • Alan Broadbent & Pat Metheny – From This Place
  • Jacob Collier – He Won’t Hold You
  • Talia Billig, Nic Hard & Becca Stevens – Slow Burn