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Esperanza Spalding Hacked After Grammy Upset

Feb 16 2011

After her stunning upset as "Best New Artist" at Sunday's Grammy Awards, Esperanza Spalding has had to deal with some of the pitfalls of success -- like her Wikipedia page being hacked.  Apparently, the page was altered by both supporters and those who objected to her winning over the likes of Justin Bieber. reports that one "entry" read, "She now has the 2011 Grammy....even though no one's ever heard of her!"  Another read, "Haha Justin Bieber, you're just a little boy with no Grammy for 'Best New Artist.'"  The page has since been cleaned up and "locked" so that no more unwanted "editors" can leave their mark.  Spalding's win marks the first time a jazz artist has picked up the "Best New Artist" prize; on the Grammys YouTube broadcast, she described getting the award as "inspiring" and "a thrill." 

The Rippingtons Debut At #1

Feb 11 2011

Congratulations to The Rippingtons; their new album, Cote D'Azur has debuted at number one on the Contemporary Jazz chart. It's also #2 on Amazon's best-sellers list and in the top 5 of iTunes Jazz albums. This latest project is inspired by guitarist Russ Freeman’s newfound passion for the French Riviera.  He admits that he became hooked on France after his wife showed him around. “This is the best album I’ve ever written,” he says, “and unlike on any other Rippingtons recording, the music is a pristine crystallization of the way I first heard it in my head. I think the incredible cultural connection between France and America hit me one night in Nice when I was watching a show on the history of St. Tropez. Brigitte Bardot was so well known as a model and film actress, but in the 60s she also did hundreds of music videos of French remakes of songs that were big hits in America…All of this taught me how close our cultures really are… and combined with [my wife's] French heritage, really made me fall in love with the country.”

Herb Alpert Releases "I Feel You"

Feb 08 2011

Herb Alpert and his wife, singer Lani Hall, have issued their first studio album in ten years, with the release today [Feb.8] of I Feel You [Concord Jazz].  Alpert and Hall cover classic songs from the past four decades, such as Van Morrison's "Moondance," Peggy Lee's "Fever" and two Beatles songs ["Here Comes the Sun" and "Blackbird"].  The couple also revisit the Tijuana Brass Hit, "What Now My Love."  Commenting on this joint effort, Alpert said, "I think the key to a great song is always the melody and Lani thinks its an equally expressive lyric which is one of the reasons we're a good team...our mutual commitment to all the songs we do together is to make them sound fresh." 

Grammy Highlights

Feb 14 2011
News >>

The 53rd annual Grammy Awards were handed out last night in Los Angeles.  Esperanza Spalding was a surprise winner as Best New Artist [beating out Justin Bieber] -- and unlike Lady Gaga, she didn't have to arrive encased in a giant egg.  Some other winners:

Best Pop Performance by Duo or Group with Vocals:  "Hey Soul Sister"/Train

Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals: "Imagine"/Herbie Hancock with India Arie

Best Pop Instrumental Album: "Take Your Pick"/Larry Carlton, Tak Matsumoto

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: "Crazy Love"/Michael Buble

Best R&B Performance by Duo or Group with Vocals: "Soldier of Love"/Sade

Best R&B Album: "Wake Up"/John Legend and the Roots

Best Contemporary Jazz Album: "The Stanley Clarke Band"

Saxophonist Kirk Whalum won in the Gospel category for "It's What I Do" from his "The Gospel According to Jazz Chapter 3" album; Alicia Keys was among the winners for Best Rap Song for her inclusion on "Empire State of Mind."




Wait, Who Is This Esperanza Spalding?






George Shearing Dies

Forever known for the standard ‘Lullaby of Birdland’ which he wrote in 1952 the British-born pianist George Shearing has died of heart failure at the age of 91.

From Battersea in London Shearing emigrated to the States in 1947 and quickly became known for his hit ‘September In The Rain’, and his quintet was a popular draw even turning on the Beats to jazz, memorably recalled in Jack Kerouac’s On The Road.

Blind since birth Shearing was attracted to bebop, but his style was not the full-on ferociousness of the music, rather a channelled lyricism which made a direct impact with his growing numbers of listeners. Shearing changed the personnel of his group many times over the years but kept it going until the late-1970s eventually tiring of it. But in the 80s he put the band together again for a Carnegie Hall concert although he preferred to play in duos with a bass player as his career developed and also performed with the singer Mel Torme, aka the Velvet Fog.

Influenced initially by Art Tatum and Fats Waller, Shearing attended the Shilington School for the Blind and the Linden Lodge School in London. He began his professional career as a teenager and became well enough known to win a Melody Maker poll before leaving for the States.

Shearing in the States developed his own style based around the vibes, guitar, bass and drums and recorded for MGM and Capitol labels but he later formed his own company which he called Sheba before recording for the Concord label. Late in his career Shearing wrote an autobiography and was honoured by the BBC. He duetted with another expatriate Marian McPartland and other veterans including the late Hank Jones. He was awarded at OBE in 1996 and was knighted in 2007.

- Stephen Graham


Stanley Clarke, Herbie Hancock And Dee Dee Bridgewater Win At The G...


The Grammys took place last night in Los Angeles and in a separate ceremony earlier in the day the jazz Grammy winners were announced. There weren’t any Brit winners this year although both John McLaughlin and Dave Holland were nominated, instead main honours went to the Stanley Clarke Band for their eponymous Heads Up release in the best contemporary jazz album category while best jazz vocal album this year went to Dee Dee Bridgewater for her Billie Holiday tribute album Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee.

Perennial Grammy victor Herbie Hancock picked up the award for best improvised solo on his Imagine Project album track ‘A Change is Gonne Come’ and in the pop collaboration with vocal category, while there was a posthumous award for the late James Moody and his album Moody 4B in the best jazz instrumental album category.

Best large ensemble album award went to the Mingus Big Band for Live At Jazz Standard, while Cuban great Chucho Valdes picked up for best latin jazz album for Chucho’s Steps. Bela Fleck won in the contemporary world music album category and Billy Childs was victorious in the instrumental composition category. Vince Mendoza won for best instrumental arrangement.

Esperanza Spalding (pictured) was also one of the big winners of the Grammys this year winning in the best new artist category; and fittingly Roy Haynes was also awarded a special Lifetime Achievement award.

– Stephen Graham

Lizz Wright - And The Healing Has Begun

Lizz Wright has returned to her gospel heartland on her latest album Fellowship delivered with the intensity we have come to expect with the singer. Yet it turns up some unexpected twists and turns that illuminate Wright’s remarkable talent. Interview by Peter Quinn

If Lizz Wright’s 2003 debut Salt gave the first indications of the stunning beauty and emotive power of her voice, then her latest album Fellowship takes her story into fascinating new areas. Her fourth album is one which completely envelops you in her gospel roots, her personal history, and her musical soul.

She may now be living in the western mountains of North Carolina (“It’s cold, but it’s beautiful and it’s clear, so I can see well into the woods,” she tells me over the phone), but cast your eye over the new album and it’s clear that her heart still lies in her Georgia birthplace. The signs of home are everywhere. Her chosen collaborators include Dr Bernice Johnson Reagon, the Georgia-born founder of the internationally renowned African-American a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock. Dr Reagon’s daughter, Toshi, is Wright’s trusted co-writer and, on this album, co-producer.

Ranging from the sacred to the secular, her chosen material includes an epic gospel medley kicking off with ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, a classic African-American congregational song which she would have grown up singing in church; ‘Amazing Grace’, the hymn she sang as a 19-year-old at a club on Peachtree Street, Atlanta, which marked the beginning of her current musical journey; and Wright even invests ‘Imagination’ by the Atlanta-based family group Gladys Knight & the Pips, another Georgia link, with a kind of ardent resolve.

This is an extract from Jazzwise Issue #149 – to read the full article click here


 Jazz Grammy Winners

Here is a list of the winners from the 2010  Grammy Awards in jazz related categories:

Best Contemporary Jazz Album:

The Stanley Clarke Band

The Stanley Clarke Band
[Heads Up International]

Best Jazz Vocal Album:

Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Best Improvised Jazz Solo:

A Change Is Gonna Come

Herbie Hancock, soloist
Track from: The Imagine Project
[Hancock Records]

Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group:

Moody 4B

James Moody
[IPO Recordings]

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album:

Mingus Big Band Live At Jazz Standard

Mingus Big Band
[Jazz Workshop, Inc./Jazz Standard]

Best Latin Jazz Album:

Chucho’s Steps

Chucho Valdés And The Afro-Cuban Messengers
[Four Quarters Entertainment]
Esperanza Spalding and Bobby McFerrin hosted the pre-telecast, doing a great skat with bass version of the Freedom Jazz Dance. Esperanza followed that up later that evening by winning Best New Artist of the Year.

Best Contemporary Jazz Album:

The Stanley Clarke Band


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