At least six University of North Texas alumni and one College of Music professor were in the running to win golden gramophone statuettes on Monday during the 58th annual Grammy Awards.
First, the winners:
Snarky Puppy, a jazz and R&B fusion act that was born in the halls of UNT and in the basement at J&J’s Pizza on the Square, won its second Grammy, this time for best contemporary instrumental album. The band’s winning album, Sylva, was recorded with Netherlands jazz-pop ensemble Metropole Orkest.
Saxophone player and UNT alumnus Dave Pietro is a member of the Maria Schneider Orchestra, which won the Grammy for best large jazz ensemble album with The Thompson Fields. Pietro also performed on another album nominated in the same category, the Gil Evans Project’s Lines of Color.
Other nominees also had Denton ties:
Rich DeRosa, a professor of composing and arranging at UNT, was nominated for best instrumental composition for his song “Neil,” a track from Lab 2015. The piece was a tribute to Neil Slater, former director of the UNT One O’clock Lab Band. The winner was Arturo O’Farrill for his song “The Afro Latin Jazz Suite.”
UNT alumnus and TEDx Austin music director Cameron Beauchamp is the bass vocalist for Brad Wells and Roomful of Teeth. The ensemble was nominated for best chamber music or small ensemble performance for their album Render. The award went to Eighth Blackbird’s Filament.
UNT alumnus Don Henley was nominated in the category of best American roots song for “Cost of Living,” featuring Merle Haggard, on Henley’s album Cass County. Jason Isbell won the category for "24 Frames."
Mezzo-soprano Laura Mercado-Wright, a UNT alumna, appeared as a soloist on the album Pablo Neruda: The Poet Sings by the choir Conspirare. The record was nominated for best choral performance. The winner of the category was the Kansas City Chorale and Phoenix Chorale’s Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil, conducted by Charles Bruffy. A number of UNT alumni have sung with Conspirare.
— Lucinda Breeding