Cincinnati ties in Grammy Awards

Elaine Martone in the Music Hall recording booth
Elaine Martone in the Music Hall recording booth
Craig Hella Johnson of Vocal Arts Ensemble, won a Grammy with his other group, Conspirare
Craig Hella Johnson of Vocal Arts Ensemble, won a Grammy with his other group, Conspirare

A few people with Cincy ties received major recognition in the Grammy Awards last Sunday.

Craig Hella Johnson won the Grammy for Best Choral Performance for his Harmonia Mundi recording of “The Sacred Spirit of Russia”with his Austin ensemble Conspirare. Johnson is also music director of Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble.

Elaine Martone, our pick for Producer of the Year, Classical, was passed up. She and Michael Bishop, who have produced all of the CSO’s and Pops’ albums, were also nominees for Surround Sound. Both are already Grammy winners… Elaine’s Red Carpet photo is all over the web.

The Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album goes to Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett for their wonderful “Cheek to Cheek.” But it’s the backup group that interests us on this album: Brian Newman on trumpet, Alex Smith on piano, Steve Kortyka on tenor sax, Scott Ritchie on bass and Paul Francis on drums. One is a Queen City native and all but one are CCM Jazz Studies grads. It seems they are Lady Gaga’s regular band. Where to next? A world tour to promote the album. I hear.

What a shame hometown mega-talent Fred Hersch came up short- even though he had two nominations for Best Improvised Jazz Solo and Best Instrumental Jazz Album. Chick Corea swept those categories.

Here’s my post to see what other locals were in contention this year.

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