2021 Jazz GRAMMY Winners

The winners of the 63rd GRAMMY Awards were announced on March 14 during a ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center. With COVID protocols in place, there was no live audience for this year’s ceremony outside of a limited number of performers and handful of other attendees.

In the Jazz Categories, composer/orchestra leader Maria Schneider, claimed two more GRAMMYs giving her a total of six for her album Data Lords and her composition “Sputnik.” The late pianist Chick Corea, Christian McBride and Brian Blade received a GRAMMY for Best Instrumental Album for their album Trilogy 2. Also from the album Corea’s solo on “All Blues” earned him a posthumous award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo. Gayle Moran, Chick Corea’s wife accepted the awards.

In the Contemporary Jazz Album category, Snarky Puppy won for their Live at Royal Albert Hall. Jacob Collier had a big year with his album Djesse Vol. 3 nominated for Best Album Of The Year alongside Taylor Swift, Post Malone and others. From the album, Collier won for best arrangement in the Instruments and Vocals category for the song “He Won’t Hold You”. In the Instruments or A Cappella arrangement, John Beasley won for “Donna Lee” from Monk’estra Plays John Beasley. This year Robert Glasper’s latest album was nominated in the R&B categories. Best R&B Album and Best R&B song, “Better Than I Imagined”, which he won.

Saxophonist Benny Golson was also honored by being made a Trustee of the Recording Academy. The late great Vibraphonist Lionel Hampton was given a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to jazz and Winners below are written in bold along with the full list of nominees.

Jazz Vocal
Carmen Lundy, Modern Ancestors (Afrasia)
Kenny Washington, What’s the Hurry (Lower 9th)
Kurt Elling feat. Danilo Pérez, Secrets Are the Best Stories (Edition)
Thana Alexa, ONA (self-released)
Somi with Frankfurt Radio Big Band, Holy Room, Live at Alte Oper (Salon Africana)

Jazz Instrumental Album
Ambrose Akinmusire, on the tender spot of every calloused moment (Blue Note)
Chick Corea, Christian McBride & Brian Blade, Trilogy 2 (UMG)
Gerald Clayton, Happening: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note)
Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, Brian Blade, RoundAgain (Nonesuch)
Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science, Waiting Game (Motéma)

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah, Axiom
Jon Batiste, Take the Stairs, Black Violin Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard
Gregoire Maret, Romain Collin & Bill Frisell, Americana
Snarky Puppy, Live at the Royal Albert Hall

Large Ensemble
Gregg August, Dialogues on Race (Iacuessa)
John Beasley, Monk’estra Plays John Beasley (Mack Avenue)
John Hollenbeck with Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry, Gary Versace and The Frankfurt Radio Big Band, Songs You Like a Lot (Flexatonic)
Maria Schneider Orchestra, Data Lords (ArtistShare)
Orrin Evans and The Captain Black Big Band, The Intangible Between (Smoke Sessions)

Latin Jazz
Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra, Tradiciones (MVM)
Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Four Questions (Zoho)
Chico Pinheiro, City of Dreams (self-released)
Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Aymée Nuviola, Viento y Tiempo – Live at Blue Note Tokyo (Top Stop)
Poncho Sanchez, Trane’s Delight (Concord Picante)

Improvised Solo
Chick Corea, “All Blues” from Trilogy 2
Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah, “Guinnevere” from Axiom
Gerald Clayton, “Celia” from Happening: Live at the Village Vanguard
Joshua Redman, “Moe Honk” from RoundAgain
Julian Lage, “Tomorrow is the Question” from Love Hurts
Regina Carter, “Pachamama” from ONA

Best Instrumental Composition
Baby Jack, Arturo O’Farrill, composer (Arturo O’Farrill & the Latin Jazz Orchestra)
Be Water II, Christian Sands, composer (Christian Sands)
Plumfield, Alexandre Desplat, composer (Alexandre Desplat)
Sputnik, Maria Schneider, composer (Maria Schneider)
Strata, Remy Le Boeuf, composer (Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly Of Shadows Featuring Anna Webber & Eric Miller)

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella
Bathroom Dance, Hildur Guðnadóttir, arranger (Hildur Guðnadóttir)
Donna Lee, John Beasley, arranger (John Beasley)
Honeymooners, Remy Le Boeuf, arranger (Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly Of Shadows)
Lift Every Voice and Sing, Alvin Chea & Jarrett Johnson, arrangers (Jarrett Johnson Featuring Alvin Chea)
Uranus: The Magician, Jeremy Levy, arranger (Jeremy Levy Jazz Orchestra)

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals
Asas Fechdas, John Beasley & Maria Mendes, arrangers (Maria Mendes Featuring John Beasley & Orkest Metropole)
Desert Song, Erin Bentlage, Sara Gazarek, Johnaye Kendrick & Amanda Taylor, arrangers (Säje)
From This Place, Alan Broadbent & Pat Metheny, arrangers (Pat Metheny Featuring Meshell Ndegeocello)
He Won’t Hold You, Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier Featuring Rapsody)
Slow Burn, Talia Billig, Nic Hard & Becca Stevens, arrangers (Becca Stevens Featuring Jacob Collier, Mark Lettieri, Justin Stanton, Jordan Perlson, Nic Hard, Keita Ogawa, Marcelo Woloski & Nate Werth)

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