This Just In: What Do the Grammys Mean to a Career Jazz Artist?

The Grammys are coming up this weekend (telecast live on CBS on Sunday at 7pm Central Time). After Samara Joy’s banner year last year nabbing Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album, more attention has been justifiably put upon the jazz world and it’s relation to the Grammys. I had the opportunity to connect with Billy Childs, a legendary pianist and composer, about his experience with the Grammys. Since the mid-90s Childs has been a frequent Grammy winner and nominee. This year, he’s up for Best Jazz Instrumental album. Childs shared his thoughts on the impact of a Grammy win or nomination on a jazz career and discussed some ways the Grammys could better serve the jazz community. Check out the full conversation here.

Additionally, you can find a list of the nominees for the jazz related Grammys and my personal predictions for who will win the category.


Best Jazz Performance

Adam Blackstone Featuring The Baylor Project & Russell Ferranté – Vulnerable (Live)
Fred Hersch & Esperanza Spalding – But Not for Me
Jon Batiste – Movement 18’ (Heroes)
Lakecia Benjamin – Basquiat
Samara Joy – Tight

Sean’s prediction for winner: Jon Batiste – Movement 18’ (Heroes)

Best Jazz Vocal Album

Cécile McLorin Salvant – Mélusine
Fred Hersch & Esperanza Spalding – Alive at the Village Vanguard
Gretchen Parlato & Lionel Loueke – Lean In
Nicole Zuraitis – How Love Begins
Patti Austin Featuring Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band – For Ella 2

Sean’s prediction for winner: Cécile McLorin Salvant – Mélusine

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

ADDA Simfònica, Josep Vicent, Emilio Solla – The Chick Corea Symphony Tribute – Ritmo
The Count Basie Orchestra Directed by Scotty Barnhart – Basie Swings the Blues
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – Dynamic Maximum Tension
Mingus Big Band – The Charles Mingus Centennial Sessions
Vince Mendoza & Metropole Orkest – Olympians

Sean’s prediction for winner: The Count Basie Orchestra Directed by Scotty Barnhart – Basie Swings the Blues

Best Jazz Instrumental Album

Adam Blackstone – Legacy: The Instrumental Jawn
Billy Childs – The Winds of Change
Kenny Barron – The Source
Lakecia Benjamin – Phoenix
Pat Metheny – Dream Box

Sean’s prediction for winner: Lakecia Benjamin – Phoenix

Best Latin Jazz Album

Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band – Vox Humana
Eliane Elias – Quietude
Ivan Lins With the Tblisi Symphony Orchestra – My Heart Speaks
Luciana Souza & Trio Corrente – Cometa
Miguel Zenón & Luis Perdomo – El Arte del Bolero Vol. 2

Sean’s prediction for winner: Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band – Vox Humana

Best Alternative Jazz Album

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily – Love in Exile
Cory Henry – Live at the Piano
Kurt Elling, Charlie Hunter, SuperBlue – SuperBlue: The Iridescent Spree
Louis Cole – Quality Over Opinion
Meshell Ndegeocello – The Omnichord Real Book

Sean’s prediction for winner: Kurt Elling, Charlie Hunter, SuperBlue – SuperBlue: The Iridescent Spree

Best Contemporary Blues Album

Bettye LaVette – LaVette!
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram – Live in London
Larkin Poe – Blood Harmony
Ruthie Foster – Healing Time
Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton – Death Wish Blues

Sean’s prediction for winner: Ruthie Foster – Healing Time


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