Steinhardt’s John Scofield, Jazz Guitar Legend, Wins Grammy


John Scofield, an internationally acclaimed jazz guitarist and instructor in NYU Steinhardt’s jazz studies program, was named the winner of the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Album for his album Past Present.

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John Scofield and his Steinhardt Jazz Guitar Ensemble during a recent recording session. Photo by Bruce Katz

John Scofield, an internationally acclaimed jazz guitarist and instructor in NYU Steinhardt’s jazz studies program, was named the winner of the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Album for his album Past Present.

The Grammy Award is Scofield’s first; he was also nominated this year for Best Jazz Solo Performance, which went to Christian McBride’s Cherokee.

In Past Present, from record label Impulse!, Scofield reunites with his acclaimed jazz quartet from the 1990s, including saxophonist and fellow Steinhardt jazz faculty member Joe Lovano. The nine-song album of original compositions by Scofield – performed by “a quartet of superb improvisers,” according to The Guardian – blends jazz with rock, pop, blues, and country influences.

Scofield is known for his distinctive guitar sound and stylistic diversity, and has collaborated and played with musical greats Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Pat Metheny, Mavis Staples, and Phil Lesh. He has been part of the jazz studies faculty at NYU Steinhardt since 2005.

The 58th Annual Grammy Awards were held yesterday in Los Angeles’s Staples Center, hosted by rapper LL Cool J. In addition to Scofield’s two nominations, other nominees from the NYU Steinhardt Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions included composer Julia Wolfe and alumna Ruthie Ann Miles (‘07, Vocal Performance).

Wolfe, associate professor of music composition and co-founder of the music collective Bang on a Can, was nominated for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Anthracite Fields, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for Music last year.

Miles was nominated for Best Musical Theater Album for The King and I, which competed against albums from Broadway’s Fun Home, An American in Paris, Something Rotten, and the ultimate winner, Hamilton. Miles received a 2015 Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her role in The King and I.

About NYU Steinhardt Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions
Established in 1924, Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions (MPAP) is a leading research and practice center in music technology, music business, music composition, film scoring, songwriting, music performance practices, performing arts therapies, and the performing arts-in-education (music, dance, and drama). Prominent alumni include: jazz great Wayne Shorter, music theatre composer and songwriter Cy Coleman, lyricist Betty Comden, composer Elmer Bernstein, and playwright and film writer John Patrick Shanley. Visit here for more information.

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