The unknown Grammy winners
Of the 108 Grammys awarded this year, only 11 trophies were handed out on the Feb. 8 telecast. Here are a few lesser-known victors worth tracking down.
Best Contemporary World Music Album
Gilberto Gil, Eletracústico (Warner Music Latina) Who says pop and politics don’t mix? Sen. Barack Obama won the Best Spoken Word Album Grammy for his Dreams From My Father. And Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil — who moonlights as the country’s minister of culture — picked up a prize for this excellent, sprightly 2004 live album, which includes a samba-tweaked version of Bob Marley’s ”Three Little Birds.”
Best Recording Package
Aimee Mann, The Forgotten Arm (SuperEgo) Packaged like a yellowing pulp novel, this disc comes complete with gritty, seedy drawings by California artist Owen Smith that really bring the narrative of Mann’s melancholy story cycle — the songs follow two hard-luck lovers — to life.
Best Bluegrass Album
The Del McCoury Band, The Company We Keep (McCoury/Sugar Hill) After more than 40 years in twang, McCoury won his first Grammy for these down-home ditties that are as crisp as the natty suits he and his band wear on stage. The sexagenarian singer definitely still has it — his keening, nasal voice lends weight to every cadence.
Best Jazz Vocal Album
Dianne Reeves, Good Night, and Good Luck (Concord Jazz) The perfect accompaniment to George Clooney’s period piece, Reeves’ understated delivery is as cool as Edward R. Murrow’s. Backed by a four-piece band, she purrs and coos through this set of smoky jazz standards.