It was another good year for America’s #1 public university at the Grammys.
Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Album for Fandango at the Wall in New York, featuring the Congra Patria Son Jarocho Collective. The album stemmed from Varda Bar Kar’s powerful documentary, Fandango at the Wall, which traced the lineages of fandango dance across Mexico to the border wall in Tijuana. The documentary was a powerful lesson in how music and dance unite people across arbitrary lines (and border walls) erected by governments.
O’Farrill – a professor of Global Jazz Studies and associate dean for equity, diversity, and inclusion at the School of Music – will celebrate his eighth Grammy by bringing the Congra Patria Son Jarocho Collective to Schoenberg Hall for a free concert on Monday, February 6. The performance will follow a screening of the documentary at 7:00 p.m.
Best Opera Recording went to Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones. Blanchard, professor of music and the Kenny Burrell Chair in Jazz Studies, has previously won five Grammys. His opera, which adapted the memoir of New York Times columnist Charles Blow, premiered in 2019 with the St. Louis Opera and has been performed at the Lyric Opera of Chicago before leading off the New York Metropolitan Opera 2021-22 season. It was the first time in its 140 year history that the Met had performed an opera written by a Black composer. The recording has drawn lavish critical praise.
A principal soloist on the album is opera superstar and UCLA alum Angel Blue. Blue, whose performance in Porgy and Bess won the best opera recording Grammy in 2021, recently returned to UCLA for an emotional homecoming. She performed the inaugural Judith L. Smith Voice Recital at Schoenberg Hall and held a public masterclass for budding opera talents in the School of Music.
Wayne Shorter, adjunct professor in the music department, won in the category of Best Improvised Jazz Solo for “Endangered Species,” bringing his Grammy Award total to an even dozen.
Congratulations again to all The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music faculty and alumni who have represented the school so robustly this year.