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Chicagoans rack up early wins, losses at Grammys

Tonight’s telecast of the Grammy Awards will feature a lot of performances but few actual award presentations. The bulk of the 109 prizes were handed out this evening. Among the artists who wouldn’t have their Chicago residency contested, here’s who got some gold:

Chicago’s queen of soul, Mavis Staples, won best Americana album for “You Are Not Alone,” her acclaimed collaboration with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. “That was the shock of my life,” Staples said as she accepted the award, overcome with emotion and receiving lengthy, loud applause. “This Grammy took along time coming. It was a long time, but it was worth the wait. You haven’t seen the last with me. God is not through with me yet.”

Perennial honoree Buddy Guy snatched the contemporary blues album gramophone for “Living Proof,” besting acclaimed titles by the late Solomon Burke, Dr. John, Bettye LaVette and Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s “Live in Chicago” album.

Both James Cotton and the pairing of Pinetop Perkins & Willie “Big Eyes” Smith competed for traditional blues album. Perkins and Smith triumphed for their album “Joined at the Hip.”

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra took two of its four nominations. Riccardo Muti’s physical health may have suffered during his visits to Chicago, but his conducting of Verdi’s “Requiem” (on the Orchestra’s own CSO Resound label) won him and the CSO Grammys for classical album and choral performance. Pierre Boulez’s Stravinsky lost orchestral performance, and David Frost trumped James Mallison for classical producer of the year.

Herbie Hancock won two of his three nods — pop collaboration with vocals (for his read of “Imagine” with Pink, India.Arie, Seal and more) and improvised jazz solo (for his take on “A Change Is Gonna Come”).

R. Kelly‘s fiery “When a Woman Loves” single was talked about as a contender in the traditional R&B vocal performance category, but he lost to John Legend & the Roots. Usher beat him for contemporary R&B album, as well.

Other Chicagoans heading home empty-handed include rapper Common (who was tied to Legend & the Roots for rap/sung collaboration but lost to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys), gospel singer VaShawn Mitchell (hard to beat the Winans), children’s singer Justin Roberts (hard to beat Pete Seeger) and Kathy Griffin (should have beaten Lewis Black).