Grammy Awards: Maria Schneider and Chick Corea lead the year’s jazz cohort

Maria Schneider and the late Chick Corea were among the jazz musicians who received honours at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards.

Corea, who died a month earlier at the age of 79, posthumously won the Grammys for best improvised jazz solo and best instrumental jazz album for his work on Trilogy 2 with Christian McBride and Brian Blade.

Corea’s widow Gayle Moran accepted the awards with touching speeches, citing her late husband’s admiration of Martin Luther King Jr. and L. Ron Hubbard and encouraging fans to “keep the music fires burning.” The wins bring Corea’s total number of Grammys to 25, out of a remarkable 67 nominations.

The Maria Schneider Orchestra’s album Data Lords was named best large jazz ensemble album, and Schneider herself added another for best instrumental composition for the tune Sputnik. Schneider has now won seven Grammys out of 14 nominations.

Kurt Elling’s record Secrets Are the Best Storiesfeaturing pianist Danilo Pérez, was named best vocal jazz album, landing the singer his second Grammy.

The winner of best Latin jazz album was Four Questions by Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, claiming the prize over other nominees including conga player Poncho Sanchez and guitarist Chico Pinheiro.

The award for best contemporary instrumental album went to Snarky Puppy for Live at the Royal Albert Hall, giving the band their fourth Grammy win. Among the other nominees were fellow jazz notables Jon Batiste and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah.

Robert Glasper‘s song Better Than I Imagine, featuring H.E.R. and Meshell Ndegeocello, was named best R&B song.

John Beasley and Jacob Collier, who were both nominated for multiple Grammys this year, each won a prize for best arrangement.

Blues veteran Bobby Rush’s latest record Rawer Than Raw won the Grammy for best traditional blues album.

In the category of best regional roots music album, the New Orleans Nightcrawlers won the Grammy for their record Atmosphere.

James Taylor, who was up against Harry Connick Jr. and others in the running for best traditional pop vocal album, won the award for his album American Standard, which was co-produced by jazz guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli.

Thundercat’s It Is What It Is won the title of best progressive R&B album, emerging atop a slate that also included Robert Glasper’s F*** Yo Feelings. For best R&B album, Gregory Porter’s All Rise was eclipsed by John Legend’s Bigger Love.

Among the other jazz artists nominated in non-jazz categories were Bebel Gilberto for best global music album; Norah Jones and Mavis Staples for best American roots performance; säje, Alan Broadbent and Pat Metheny, and Remy Le Boeuf for best arrangement; Christian Sands for best instrumental composition; Jon Batiste for best contemporary instrumental album and best new age album; and Nat King Cole and Bela Fleck for best historical album.

Here are the lists of nominees in the Grammy Awards’ jazz (and jazz-centric) categories, with the winners in bold.

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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