The following GRAMMY moments in Jazz are by no means an authoritative list. These are events that come to mind just for me; I’m hopeful that you will share your own Top 5 GRAMMY moments in Jazz in the comments section.
- During the first GRAMMY Awards ceremony in 1958, there were just two categories in the Jazz genre: Ella Fitzgerald won the GRAMMY for Best Jazz Performance, Individual with Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Duke Ellington Song Book and The Count Basie Orchestra won Best Jazz Performance, Group with their recording Basie.
Listen to Ella Fitzgerald singing I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good). She has such a beautiful voice!
- In 1964, Stan Getz and João Gilberto introduced many Americans to the sultry genre known called Bossa Nova with their album simply entitled Getz/Gilberto. It won GRAMMY Awards for both Record of the Year and Album of the Year.
The following video isn’t the from the GRAMMY Awards but it shows Joao Gilberto’s former wife, Astrud, and saxophonist Stan Getz performing the most beloved tune from the album The Girl from Ipanema.
- The 26th Annual GRAMMY Awards were held in 1983. That was the year that Herbie Hancock had an enormous crossover hit with the ground-breaking song Rock It. It introduced a much wider audience to the sounds and styles that were mainly being embraced by urban America.
- Jazz artists have only won the Album of the Year Award two times during the history of the GRAMMYs. The first time was the Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto mega hit album that was mentioned previously. We have to fast-forward 43 years from 1964 to 2007 to see the magic happen again. This time, Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters was honored with the prestigious award. You can listen to the entire album below:
- The year was 2011. It was my first time attending the GRAMMY Awards as a member of the Community Bloggers program. The nominees for the Best New Artist category were being read on stage – Drake, Florence + The Machine, Justin Bieber, Mumford & Sons and Esperanza Spalding. The amazingly self-assured and ridiculously talented high school Jazz musicians who had performed all during GRAMMY week were sitting with me and a couple of other bloggers.
The name of the Best New Artist was announced. There was a moment of silence down on the floor of the Staples Center (I believe that a few people were stunned) but our section started screaming our heads off. “Oh my God!!! Esperanza won!! “ We were so thrilled and happy. I lost my voice temporarily. :)