NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans’ funk, soul, hip-hop and spoken-word ensemble known as Tank and the Bangas has gotten a Grammy nod for best new artist of the year.
Other New Orleans artists making the list announced Wednesday include the Rebirth Brass Band, R&B singer and keyboardist PJ Morton, jazz trumpeter Christian Scott and saxophonist Branford Marsalis, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.
Tank and the Bangas’ nomination is noteworthy because New Orleans acts rarely appear in the top four Grammy categories — record, album and song of the year, and best new artist. Others nominated in the new artist category are 17-year-old alternative rock sensation Billie Eilish, contemporty R&b star Lizzo, Lil Nas X of “Old Town Road” fame, Black Pumas, Maggie Rogers, Rosalia and Yola.
After coming together at local clubs and festivals, the Bangas took a major step forward nationally by winning National Public Radio’s 2017 Tiny Desk Contest, in which 6,000 applicants vied to be featured on the station’s popular “Tiny Desk” concert series. The panel of 10 judges included Phish guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio, who described singer Tarriona “Tank” Ball as “a force of nature, just full of joy — and her band is killing in the background.” The Bangas boys behind her — drummer Joshua Johnson, alto sax and flute player Albert Allenback and bassist/keyboardist Norman Spence — illustrate her multi-colored explorations.
The August 2018 issue of Vanity Fair contained a full-page spread on Tank and the Bangas. That same month, Rolling Stone included the group in a lavish six-page spread devoted to “10 Artists You Need to Know.”
Verve Forecast Records released Tank & the Bangas’ “Green Balloon,” the band’s second full-length album overall, this spring. This fall, the band headlined New York’s Apollo Theater and taped an episode of “Austin City Limits” that will air in early 2020.
Meanwhile, Scott’s “Ancestral Recall” album, recorded with his band aTunde Adjuah, is nominated as best contemporary instrumental album.
Morton, who is also the keyboardist in pop-rock band Maroon 5, is nominated in the traditional R&B performance category for “Built For Love,” a collaboration with Jazmine Sullivan, and for Best R&B song for “Say So,” featuring JoJo. His “Paul” is also nominated as best R&B album.
Also nominated in the Best Traditional R&B Performance category is New Orleans native Lucky Daye for “Real Games” and in the best R&B Performance category for “Roll Some Mo.” He’s also nominated for Best R&B Album for “Painted.”
Marsalis, a Grammy favorite over the years, earned a best improvised jazz solo nod for “The Windup” and he and his quartet got a best jazz instrumental album nomination for “The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul.”
The Rebirth Brass Band, which previously won a Grammy in 2012, is nominated again in the best regional roots music album category, this time for “Recorded Live at the 2019 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.”