Sunday, March 4, 2012

The 54th Annual Grammys Experience

It's been three weeks since my return from Hollywood and the 54th Annual Grammy Awards Ceremony. The Vocal Jazz nomination for : "The Music of Randy Newman" (Motéma Music) will always be a highlight in my life, not only for myself, but my entire family. I only wish I could have shared the entire trip with my band, who worked diligently for a year and a half rehearsing and putting the music and arrangements together. Special thanks to Mark Soskin, pianist for his playing and arrangements, Sara Caswell violin for her sensitivity, arranging additions and fine musicianship, Dean Johnson bassist extraordinaire and Tim Horner excellent drummer and percussionist. A special 'Thank you' to manager/friend Jeffrey Levenson for attending all of the bands rehearsals, giving advice and support throughout the birth of my project. I did share this experience with my husband and engineer of the project, Paul Wickliffe, daughter Sarah, my sisters, niece, mom, her best friend and even my cousin and my make up artist Adele. What an entourage.
Terri Lynn Carrington, famed jazz drummer won The Vocal Jazz award for her recording, "Mosaic" which featured a who's who of famous singers and female musicians, ie. Diane Reeves Casandra Wilson, Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Parlato and more. The other three vocalists in my category were: Kurt Elling, Tierney Sutton and Karrin Allyson. All of the recordings were very good and it was an honor to be considered with this group.
The entire weekend was a whirlwind experience. All of my family were booked in a Doubletree Hotel in L.A. and we all arrived on friday afternoon. We immediately picked up our tickets at the Staple Center and proceeded on to El Cholo across the street which boasts the finest margaritas and Mexican fare you can imagine. Saturdays events included a Nominees Only event; The Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony, which honored, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Diana Ross, The Allman Brothers, George Jones and Glen Cambell followed by a huge dinner and concerts of Grammy kids bands, plus photos and receiving the 'gold medal' medallion (photo from my cell phone at top left the moment I put it on!). This was too exciting, I think my face says it all.

In the evening after the dinner and ceremony, my family met at famed Beverly Hills Restaurant Villa Blanca for drinks and dinner followed by a white limo sight seeing tour of Hollywood for my entire group. We had a blast, rocking out to listening cds I made for the trip. I'm not sure the Russian limo driver appreciated the Tex/Mex mix we were singing with complete with: Lorretta Lynn's, "You Ain't Woman Enough to Take My Man" and "Texarkana Baby". Harry Levenson had a hard time with the C&W and Jeffrey rode in the front of the limo with the driver. We returned around 12 midnight with everyone exhausted but ready for Grammy Day.

Grammy Day started with make up (Adele Fass) , hair stylist (Jerry Lambert), a solid breakfast and a mind set that no matter who wins the Grammy, we are set. I knew that each record in my category could easily win. All of the projects were excellent, but we all knew that Terri Lynn was poised to take the prize with an album loaded with famous singers. Many people felt her project should have been entered in another category, but NARAS had deleted over 30 categories and Terri's album met the rules of 51 minutes of vocals for our category. It's all good. After the winner was announced in the pre-show telecast (around 2pm.) my family put on their comfortables shoes and strolled back over to El Cholo! When you go to the Grammys, you've got to have lunch or dinner there and you'll understand why Robert Redford recommends the margaritas and food.
We were happy and satisfied and ready for the Grammys. Paul and I headed to the Nominees Red Carpet area. I got in line, said hello to Diana Krall. Then proceeded to follow Kathy Griffin, posing on the red carpet with over 75 photographers hollering 'Roseanna, look this way' ! Lol.. Steve Van Zandt was standing beside me before hitting the stage to play guitar with Bruce Springstein. Very cool.
Paul and I had good seats surrounded by other nominees and totally enjoyed the show. Jennifer Hudson was astounding in her tribute to the passing and memory of Whitney Houston. It was a great show and afterwards we headed for the giant after party, where Judi and Joe Lovano were a welcome sight to hang out with. Not everyone in my group got to attend the big party because of Naras selling out of tickets in the first 2 days, but other than that, a great time was had by all. I am inspired on a different level now. After over 30 years singing jazz and teaching for 15 years, this award was mindblowing and unexpected. I am working hard on a couple of new projects and hey- we'll see what happens next?