MSU Jazz Connected with Two GRAMMYs

Two College of Music alumni’s music collaborations honored at music’s most prestigious event.

A saxophone alumnus and jazz studies trumpet graduate from the MSU College of Music recently took high honors at the 56th GRAMMY Awards for their collaborations with popular recording artists.

Christopher Bullock, '05, and his band members from Snarky Puppy, received a GRAMMY for best R&B performance for “Something”—a song recorded with Lalah Hathaway. The win represented the first for the instrumental fusion band from Brooklyn, N.Y., as well as a first for Hathaway. The song is featured on Snarky Puppy's 2013 album “Family Dinner.”

“Wow, an incredible honor for Chris for what I'm sure is just the beginning,” says assistant professor of jazz studies Diego Rivera. “He’s an incredible performer and humble individual who continues to grow professionally. It was a pleasure working with him here at MSU and I'm proud to be one of his mentors.”

“Chris is one of the most versatile musicians I have ever met,” says Rodney Whitaker, director of jazz studies. “As a student, his interests in various styles of music had already blossomed. His saxophone ability from classical to jazz from r & b to funk allows him to be successful in any genre he choses.”

Snarky Puppy will be recording a new album later this spring with the Metropole Orchestra in Holland. Bullock earned his master's in saxophone performance from MSU and held a Jazz Studies assistantship while pursuing his studies.

Curtis Taylor, '07, was among a team of musicians recognized for their recording sessions with rising jazz star Gregory Porter. Dubbed “the brilliant new voice of jazz” by the Huffington Post, Porter won a Grammy for Best Vocal Jazz Album of 2013 for his Blue Note debut, “Liquid Spirit.” Taylor played on the record as well as on Porter's 2010 Grammy nominated debut album “Water.”

“I'm so grateful to be part of this record and incredible team,” says Taylor. “I still can't believe it. I'm a Grammy Award-winning trumpeter now.” 

“I always knew that trumpeter Curtis Taylor would have a very successful career,” says Whitaker. As a beginning student, Taylor already possessed excellent networking and marketing skills. “With his intelligence and musical ability, I am not at all surprised of his success.”

Read more about recent Grammy award winners connected with the MSU College of Music. 

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