Mack Avenue Music Group’s John Beasley and Christian Sands Receive Five GRAMMY Award Nominations
Mack Avenue Music Group Congratulates Pianists John Beasley and Christian Sands on Five GRAMMY® Award Nominations
John Beasley is One of the Top Nominated Artists at the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards with Four Nominations
Christian Sands Earns First Leader Nomination
Mack Avenue Music Group is proud to congratulate pianists John Beasley and Christian Sands on an astounding five nominations for the 63rd annual GRAMMY® Awards. Both artists released critically acclaimed albums and overcame great adversity in 2020 to thrive amongst one of the most difficult years for the music community.
John Beasley is one of the most nominated artists in this year’s GRAMMY Awards, and the only jazz artist considered one of its top nominees. (Top nominees include Beyoncé, 9; Dua Lipa, 6; Roddy Ricch, 6; Taylor Swift, 6; Brittany Howard, 5; John Beasley, 4; Justin Bieber, 4; Phoebe Bridgers, 4; DaBaby, 4; Billie Eilish, 4; David Frost, 4; and Megan Thee Stallion, 4. Information sourced by NARAS.)
His August release, MONK’estra Plays John Beasley, brings the MONK’estra cycle full circle with the big band’s third release. With MONK’estra, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 garnering a pair of GRAMMY Award nominations apiece, alongside widespread critical acclaim, Beasley keeps in line with its namesake’s unpredictable nature on the new release as MONK’estra veers off in new directions on its stunning third album. Additionally, besides casting the lens of his brilliant ensemble on his own music for the first time, the album also reunites Beasley with several now-formidable artists–including John Patitucci, Vinnie Colaiuta, Joey DeFrancesco, and Hubert Laws–with whom he performed with in his formative years nearly three decades ago.
This remarkable new release garners two nominations for Beasley: Best Large Jazz Ensemble Albumas well as Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella for his track “Donna Lee.” This marks six total GRAMMY Award nominations for the MONK’estra series, with each album receiving two nominations.
Additionally, Beasley has earned two other nominations for his significant roles in Maria Mendes feat. Metropole Orkest and John Beasley’s Close To Me, which earned a nomination for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals, as well as Somi’s Holy Room: Live At Alte Oper, which was nominated in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category. Beasley led the orchestra, played keyboards on and produced the Maria Mendes album–which also earned a Latin GRAMMY nomination–and arranged Somi’s album. Beasley also arranged blues great Ruthie Foster’s Live At The Paramount, which received a nomination in the Best Contemporary Blues Album category, although this does not technically count as a nomination for him as the others do.
In addition to the highly productive year Beasley has had with album releases, he has expanded on an already prolific list of soundtrack credits and worked on film and television productions such as Watchmen, Bosch and 1917, and will appear in Steven Soderbergh’s film Let Them All Talk, which stars Meryl Streep. Additionally, he performed on nearly 80 stages this year in COVID-safe settings, he performed as part of the iconic Pharoah Sanders’ 80th birthday celebration streaming event and he conducted and arranged part of Charlie Parker’s centennial celebration, among many other things.
Pianist Christian Sands also celebrates a milestone year with his first GRAMMY Award nomination as a leader. His composition “Be Water II,” from his July album Be Water, received a nomination in the Best Instrumental Composition category.
Beyond the GRAMMY Award nomination, the album received critical acclaim with attention from Associated Press, NPR “All Things Considered,” Stereogum, The Absolute Sound, Glide Magazine, Soul Tracks, as well as heavy playlisting with Spotify’s “State of Jazz” and “Jazz X-Press,” NPR’s “New Music Friday,” Apple Music’s “Jazz Currents,” Tidal’s “Modern Contemporary,” and Amazon’s “Fresh Jazz.”
On his stunning latest album, Sands takes inspiration from water’s tranquility and power and muses on the possibilities offered by echoing its fluidity and malleability. Through ten gorgeous and thrilling pieces, he alternately conjures the serenity of a sun-dappled lake and the drama of a relentless thunderstorm. Just barely into his 30s, Sands has already enjoyed a remarkable career trajectory, touring and recording with Christian McBride’s Inside Straight and Trio, as well as collaborating with the likes of Gregory Porter and Ulysses Owens.
Be Water is Sands’ fourth release for Mack Avenue Music Group (including a five-track digital-only EP as an extension of his debut album, Reach), and flows with a mesmerizing tranquility and power of its namesake. On his most conceptually ambitious album to date, Sands heeds the wisdom of martial arts master and movie star Bruce Lee and allows his creativity to transform and assume a dazzling variety of forms.
Not only did Sands release his critically acclaimed album in 2020, but he participated in a number of other impressive endeavors. He served as Artist-In-Residence for the Monterey Jazz Festival while they went virtual, and hosted “Welcome To The Sands Box” in conjunction with the festival– and he’s gearing up to serve as its Artist-In-Residence again in 2021. He also kicked off WBGO’s 2020 Jazzathon with an energetic and engaging performance, discussed jazz in film with Turner Classic Movies (TCM), continued his role as Creative Ambassador for the Erroll Garner Jazz Project (the non-profit organization dedicated to Garner’s legacy) and recently partnered with Ancestry.com to uncover family stories he never knew.
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