It’s not that Grammy Award winners don’t appear at the McPherson Opera House — Jimmy Webb, for instance, is the only artist ever to have won Grammys in three different categories—it’s just that the circumstances surrounding the recent performance of The Harlem Quartet were exceptional.
First, the performance itself was exceptional: a great program with works by Hayden, Beethoven, Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis; coupled with flawless technique and great passion; all in the spirit of “let’s have fun while we’re doing this,” said John Holecek, Opera House executive director.
There was an added air of excitement, however, when violinist Ilmar Gavilán announced that the group was up for three Grammy Awards, with the awards ceremony the next evening. The nominations were all under the jazz category for the album “Hot House,” a collaboration between jazz pianist Chick Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton. These two jazz giants know talent when they see it, and they included The Harlem Quartet on the album as well as on a national tour.
“Hot House” won two Grammys: best improvised solo and also best instrumental composition “Mozart Goes Dancing,” a tune which showcases The Harlem Quartet.
“What a great evening that was,” Holecek, said.
“Ilmar was only partially joking when he said that their fee would go up if they won a Grammy. It’s probably all too true. They might work a deal for us, though. They loved the venue and the super enthusiastic audience response.”