Grammy Awards: Jon Batiste wins album of the year

Jon Batiste won album of the year at the 64th annual Grammy Awards, taking home the top prize along with four others while also giving a show-stopping performance on music’s biggest night.

Batiste’s We Are was named album of the year, a dark-horse winner over pop superstars such as Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eillish, Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Taylor Swift.

It was the final of Batiste’s five Grammy wins out of 11 nominations. Earlier in the night, the New Orleans native won his first Grammy for best score soundtrack for visual media for his work with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on Soul. He then followed it with awards for best American roots performance and best American roots song — both for Cry — and best music video for Freedom. Batiste played the latter in an energized performance as part of the Grammy Awards ceremony.

Batiste looked visibly shocked when his name was announced as the winner of album of the year.

“I believe this to my core: There is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor,” Batiste said in his acceptance speech. “The creative arts are subjective and they reach people at a point in their lives when they need it most.”

Also among the other nominees for album of the year were Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, who were nominated for five Grammys thanks to their album Love for Sale. The duo came away with two awards: best traditional pop vocal album and best engineered album, non-classical.

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Chick Corea posthumously won two more Grammys: one for best improvised jazz solo for Humpty Dumpty (Set 2), and another for best Latin jazz album for his work on Eliane Elias’s Mirror Mirror. It’s the second year that Corea, who died in February of 2021, has won posthumous Grammys. It brings Corea’s total Grammy tally to 27, putting him in a fourth-place tie with Alison Krauss for the most Grammys of all time.

Lyle Mays, who died in early 2020, won for best instrumental composition for Eberhard, the title track from his own posthumously released album. That makes 11 Grammys in total for the iconic jazz keyboardist.

Esperanza Spalding’s Songwrights Apothecary Lab won the Grammy for best jazz vocal album, a field that also included Kurt Elling, Gretchen Parlato, the Baylor Project and Nnenna Freelon. Spalding has won the award twice before — for 12 Little Spells in 2020 and Radio Music Society in 2013 — and she has won five Grammys in total.

Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette & Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s Skyline won best instrumental album, up against Jon Batiste, Terence Blanchard, Pat Metheny and the Chick Corea Akoustic Band.

The Christian McBride Big Band’s For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver won the award for best large jazz ensemble album; the other nominees were the Count Basie Orchestra, Jazzmeia Horn and Her Noble Force, the Sun Ra Arkestra and the Yellowjackets + WDR Big Band. McBride’s latest win bring his total Grammy count to eight.

Vince Mendoza’s To the Edge of Longing won best arrangement for instrument and vocals. It’s the sixth Grammy overall for Mendoza.

Taylor Eigsti’s Tree Falls won the award for best contemporary instrumental album, a field that also include nominees Randy Brecker and Eric Marienthal, Rachel Eckroth, Taylor Eigsti, Steve Gadd and Mark Lettieri. It’s his first Grammy out of three nominations.

The legendary Joni Mitchell made an appearance, winning best historical album for Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967) after already being honoured as the MusiCares Person of the Year for 2022. She shared the award with producer Patrick Milligan and mastering engineer Bernie Grundman. It’s the ninth Grammy Award for the Canadian icon.

Jazz historian and author Ricky Riccardi won the award for best album notes for The Complete Louis Armstrong Columbia and RCA Victor Studio Sessions 1946-1966. “I learned everything I know about jazz from liner notes,” Riccardi said in his acceptance speech. “The music of Louis Armstrong changed my life, and that’s the crux of this box set.”

Cuban-Canadian singer-songwriter Alex Cuba won best Latin pop album for Mendó. It’s his first Grammy win out of four total nominations.

The Grammy for best tropical Latin album went to Salswing! by Roberto Delgado & Orquesta and Rubén Blades, which had also won this year’s Latin Grammy for album of the year.

Summer of Soul, directed by Questlove, won best music film.

The award for best compilation soundtrack for visual media went to The United States vs. Billie Holiday by Andra Day, produced by Salaam Remi with music supervisor Lynn Fainchtein.

Here’s a selected list of this year’s Grammy Awards nominees, with the winners in bold.

Album of the Year
  • Jon Batiste – We Are
  • Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – Love for Sale
  • Justin Bieber – Justice
  • Doja Cat – Planet Her
  • Billie Eillish – Happier Than Ever
  • H.E.R. – Back of My Mind
  • Lil Nas X – Montero
  • Olivia Rodrigo – Sour
  • Taylor Swift – Evermore
  • Kanye West – Donda
Best Improvised Jazz Solo
  • Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – Sackodougou
  • Kenny Barron – Kick Those Feet
  • Jon Batiste – Bigger Than Us
  • Terence Blanchard – Absence
  • Chick Corea – Humpty Dumpty (Set 2)
Best Jazz Vocal Album
  • The Baylor Project – Generations
  • Kurt Elling & Charlie Hunter – SuperBlue
  • Nnenna Freelon – Time Traveler
  • Gretchen Parlato – Flor
  • Esperanza Spalding – Songwrights Apothecary Lab
Best Jazz Instrumental Album
  • Jon Batiste – Jazz Selections: Music From and Inspired By Soul
  • Terence Blanchard featuring the E Collective and the Turtle Island Quartet – Absence
  • Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette & Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Skyline
  • Chick Corea, John Patitucci & Dave Weckl – Akoustic Band LIVE
  • Pat Metheny – Side-Eye NYC (V1.IV)
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
  • The Count Basie Orchestra directed by Scotty Barnhart – Live at Birdland!
  • Jazzmeia Horn and Her Noble Force – Dear Love
  • Christian McBride Big Band – For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver
  • Sun Ra Arkestra – Swirling
  • Yellowjackets + WDR Big Band – Jackets XL
Best Latin Jazz Album
  • Eliane Elias with Chick Corea and Chucho Valdés – Mirror Mirror
  • Carlos Henriquez – The South Bronx Story
  • Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra – Virtual Birdland
  • Dafnis Prieto Sextet – Transparency
  • Miguel Zenón & Luis Perdomo – El Arte Del Bolero
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
  • Randy Brecker & Eric Marienthal – Double Dealin’
  • Rachel Eckroth – The Garden
  • Taylor Eigsti – Tree Falls
  • Steve Gadd Band – At Blue Note Tokyo
  • Mark Lettieri – Deep: The Baritone Sessions, Vol. 2
Best Instrumental Composition
  • Brandee Younger – Beautiful is Black
  • Tom Nazziola – Cat and Mouse
  • Vince Mendoza – Concerto for Orchestra: Finale
  • Arturo O’Farrill – Dreaming in Lions: Dreaming in Lions
  • Lyle Mays – Eberhard
Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals
  • Ólafur Arnalds – The Bottom Line
  • Tehillah Alphonso – A Change is Gonna Come
  • Jacob Collier – The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
  • Cody Fry – Eleanor Rigby
  • Vince Mendoza – To the Edge of Longing (Edit Version)