Jazz, Gospel, American Roots -- Pinetop Perkins Is 'New' Oldest Honoree
Emotional moments weren't the sole province of the nationally televised portion of the Grammy Awards. The preshow also claimed its fair share of highlights in the jazz, gospel and American roots categories, with several veterans finally receiving their due.
One of those memorable moments occurred when Dee Dee Bridgewater ran screaming to the stage to accept her award for best jazz vocal album. Another happened when James Moody's widow, Linda (he died last December), accepted his award for best jazz instrumental album, individual or group. Additional jazz winners included the Stanley Clarke Band (best jazz contemporary album), Herbie Hancock (best improvised jazz solo) and Mingus Big Band (best large jazz ensemble album).
Not surprisingly, BeBe & CeCe Winans picked up two gospel Grammys: best gospel performance and best contemporary R&B gospel album. But although saxophonist Kirk Whalum is best-known as a jazz artist, he earned a nod for best gospel song along with songwriter Jerry Peters. Rounding out the gospel winners' circle: Switchfoot (best rock or rap gospel album), Israel Houghton (best pop/contemporary gospel album), Diamond Rio (best Southern, country or bluegrass gospel album) and Patty Griffin (best traditional gospel album).
Calling it "the shock of her life," Mavis Staples finally won her first Grammy (best Americana album) in a long career that dates back to 1950. And 97-year-old Pinetop Perkins became the oldest Grammy honoree when he and 75-year-old youngster Willie "Big Eyes" Smith accepted the statuette for best traditional blues album. Perkins' win pushed him ahead of comedian George Burns. Additional American roots winners included Patty Loveless (best bluegrass album), Buddy Guy (best contemporary blues album), Carolina Chocolate Drops (best traditional folk album) and Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs (best contemporary folk album). LaMontagne was also up for song of the year.