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Grammy Awards: Three albums in, Esperanza Spalding is a deserving best new artist, and Mick Jagger makes an entrance

Spalding Jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding wasn't the favorite to be named best new artist, but she's perhaps the most adventurous artist in the crop. Justin Bieber really never had much of a shot, as Grammy voters stay away from teen stars. Drake was deserving, as he released some of the more emotional hip-hop of the last year, and the debut from Florence + the Machine, "Lungs," is full of highs and lows, but beyond hit single "Dog Days Are Over," much of it is an album for fans only.

So it's rare for a jazz artist to win: In 2008, Herbie Hancock’s “River: The Joni Letters” was named album of the year, the first jazz title to lead the field in approximately 50 years, and Norah Jones, who leans decidedly more toward pop, was named best new artist in 2003, one of the few talents with a jazz background to lead the field. I woulda put my money (except not, cuz betting, it's bad) on Mumford & Sons, as the folksy act seemed more like Grammy artists, but Spalding, three albums in, has had the critical and industry support for a few years now.

So it's not her first, but she's an artist deserving of more recognition, and one the Grammy Awards should be highlighting. So....Grammy voters, congrats. You got this one right. 

As for Mick Jagger paying tribute to Solomon Burke, there was nothing not to like in his take on "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love." Jagger was raised on this sort of bluesey-soul, and he brought the crowd to his feet like few others. Personally, I would have liked to have seen him dig a little deeper and go beyond the big hit that's been covered by dozens, and give a performance that really would inspire people to check out Burke.

-- Todd Martens

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (7)

Lady gaga best performer of the night, hands down.

I don't understand.
Justin is far more popular. No one seems to know who she is. I am not a Tween but a 55 year old women who has heard him sing and perform. He is very talented. It should be about charisma as well. Bieber has it!!
This girl must not are she would be well know. Even with roots in Jazz.

At a still very young 67, tonight's Grammys proved that there's Mick Jagger, and then there is everybody else. On the other end there was a pathetic 69 yr old Bob Dylan whose voice is totally shot, why bother? And who knew, Gwyneth Paltrow can really sing and dance!

Way too many feeble performances, starting w/ Aretha tribute by a group of woman who largely didn't deserve the honor. I could go on, but it was mostly a big yawn. except for Jagger.

Mick Jagger rocked!!!! He looked and sounded phenomenal best performance of the night!!!!

What a show! mick j ,got off the chair and stood there in ahw
love the new stars ,popular or not great sounds and new faces babara s still got it too

Personally I think the Grammy voters made a huge mistake and once again Country Music dominates over all other music. I love Lady Antebellum, but I don't believe they deserved all of those awards (Lady Gaga, Cee Lo Green and Eminem are music geniuses) . Also I expected Best New Artist to go to Justin Bieber, Drake or Florence + The Machine. The fact that neither of them won, has me wondering what the Grammy voters criteria is. Also the fact that the president of the organization had her on stage with him later in the show, makes me feel like it was a fix in her favor. How is an album with 31,000 copies sold, eligible to win over artists who have sold over 200,000 at the least in their careers. Also all this talk about how she's a classically trained bassist. I'm like, Bieber can play the piano, drums and sing. Drake is a rapper/Actor and Florence is just an amazing vocalist. I really think all three artists were robbed of an award for someone who wasn't deserving. Arcade Fire are amazing, so I'm not mad about them. They're brilliant in their own right.

Hands down Mick Jagger was the best performer. And this is coming from a 25 year old Gaga fan. I'm just being upfront and honest here. He put the other artists to shame. Gaga was very good, but Mick Jagger was the star of the night.


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