Special Grammy History Edition: KC Winners


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In honor of the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Another Verse presents a breakdown on Grammy winners with a Kansas City-area connection.

As you might expect, KC Grammy winners are heavily weighted toward jazz. But there are winners in other categories, including rock, Broadway and folk.

In numerical order, the winners are:

Pat Metheny
It’s not even close — as an artist, soloist and producer, Pat Metheny leads the pack with 18 awards. All but one of his awards are in the jazz category, but in 1998, he won Best Rock Instrumental Performance for The Roots of Coincidence.

Metheny grew up in Lee’s Summit, Mo., a suburb on the southeast side of the Kansas City metro area.

Count Basie
Basie has the distinction of winning two Grammies at the first Grammy Awards ceremony in 1958.  He won a total of nine as a bandleader and soloist.

A native of Red Bank, N.J., Basie came to Kansas City in the late 1920s and stayed through the mid-1930s. He was part of Kansas City’s legendary scene and helped define the sound of Kansas City-style jazz.

Burt Bacharach
As one of the great pop composers of the last half of the 20th Century, Burt Bacharach has won six Grammy Awards. The range is broad, including Song of the Year, Best Instrumental Arrangement, Best Score from an Original Cast Album and Pop Collaboration.

Bacharach was born in Kansas City and lived here until he was four years old.

Melissa Etheridge
Etheridge has one two Grammies, both for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Female. She one her first in 1992 for Ain’t It Heavy, and in 1994 for Come to My Window, her best-known song.

Etheridge was born in Leavenworth, Kan., located about 35 miles northwest of Kansas City. She briefly lived in Kansas City and gigged at a hotel bar before moving to Los Angeles and pursuing a record deal.

Composer John Kander (at piano)

John Kander
It’s hard to believe that one of Broadway’s greatest composers has only one Grammy Award. John Kander, working with lyricist Fred Ebb, won a Grammy in 1967 for Cabaret, honored for Best Score for an Original Cast Show Album. Kander’s work includes such shows as Chicago, Woman of the Year and Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Kander was born in Kansas City, Mo., and lived here until he graduated high school and left for college.







Robert Reynolds (left)


The Mavericks
One of the best country bands of the late 1980s and 1990s won a Grammy in 1995 for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group, for Here Comes the Rain.

The Mavericks’ bassist, Robert Reynolds, lived in Kansas City, Kan., for part of his childhood.







Randy Sparks


The New Christy Minstrels
The most popular folk groups of the early 1960s won a Grammy for their debut album. That album, Presenting the New Christy Minstrels, won for Best Performance by a Vocal Group in 1962.

The  NCM’s musical director, Randy Sparks, was born in Leavenworth, Kan., and lived there until he was 10 years old.

Charlie Parker
Jazz great Charlie Parker died before the Grammy Awards began, but he won an award posthumously. In 1974, he won a Grammy for Best Jazz Performance by a Soloist for the album First Recordings.

Parker was born in Kansas City, Kan., and grew up in Kansas City, Mo.


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