Most Denton County residents are probably aware that the Grammy Awards ceremony was held Sunday — the annual event was preceded by a typical blast that saturated virtually every type of media.
And many of them — thanks to a national broadcast of major award categories — probably know who took home a coveted gold-plated trophy depicting a gilded gramophone.
But what some residents may not realize, thanks to the limitations of what can be included in the national broadcast, is that this year’s winners’ list included several performers with direct ties to the University of North Texas and Denton.
Snarky Puppy, a 10-year-old jazz band that originated in Denton, won a Grammy Award on Sunday night for best R&B performance. The 2014 ceremony marked the band’s first nomination and Grammy win.
“I want to thank all these dudes behind me,” band leader Michael League said during his acceptance speech. “They’ve spent the last 10 years with me, eight of them touring very unglamorously on the road and sleeping on floors and couches. To be here right now is completely unimaginable.”
The band was nominated for “Something” featuring soul singer Lalah Hathaway. Artists in that category included Miguel (with Kendrick Lamar), Hiatus Kaiyote (with Q-Tip), Anthony Hamilton and Tamar Braxton.
“Something” comes from Snarky Puppy's live DVD/CD called Family Dinner — Volume One, with 10 percent of sales benefiting education at the Music Lab at Jefferson Center in Roanoke, Va.
Other UNT alums who celebrated Sunday night were voice/jazz trombone alumnus Cameron Beauchamp and alumnus Aaron Lington.
Beauchamp sings with A Roomful of Teeth, selected for best chamber music/small ensemble performance. Prior to Sunday’s honor, Beauchamp had performed on four Grammy-nominated albums and one DownBeat award-winning album, according to press information.
Lington was also a Grammy winner with the Pacific Mambo Orchestra for best tropical Latin album. You will probably be hearing a lot more about Pacific Mambo Orchestra because the group is credited with leading a renaissance of the big band sound and live music.
UNT, of course, has long been celebrated for the quality of its various music programs, and the university is certainly no stranger to the Grammy Awards stage. UNT alums have been among honorees singled out for outstanding achievement in the music industry on many occasions.
But we believe this year’s event was especially significant because UNT alumni received multiple Grammy awards, and we offer our congratulations to each of the winners.