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Published: 2/10/2009

SESAC is proud to congratulate our Grammy winners!

Chrisette Michele
Best Urban/Alternative Performance
Chrisette Michele Featuring will.i.am
Track from: I Am

Chrisette Michele, "I Am," (Def Jam)

Chrisette Michele is grand. She possesses a timeless sound and already has held her own while working with musical heavyweights: Appearing on the chorus on Jay-Z's "Lost Ones" and a handful of hooks on Nas'"Hip-Hop is Dead," Michele's jazzy vibrato endowed those tracks with the element most rappers try to capture by sampling old-school tracks.

On her debut album "I Am," Michele, who co-wrote every track, does an exceptional job of traversing the "then" and "now." On "Good Girl," the twentysomething Long Island native tackles what makes a man golden — cash falling short of conversation — like a Strong Island version of Lady Day.

Cassandra Wilson

Best Jazz Vocal Album
Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson, "Loverly" (Blue Note)

Great songs are always in short supply, but in the very best jazz, material becomes negligible. The band takes over and does whatever it does, dominating over authorship. Many always knew this, but more know it now, and know it deeply. So “Loverly,” Ms. Wilson’s new record that is nearly all jazz standards, isn’t conceptually jarring. But it’s good to see how far she, and we, have come in 20 years. And for whatever reasons — don’t give the songs all the credit — it’s her best work in a long time.

Much of the music transmits the feeling that the engineer pressed the record button in the middle of a jam session in which everyone was happily hanging behind the beat. Occasionally you hear some kind of clinking, maybe from Ms. Wilson’s bracelet; she gooses the rhythm section with grunts, the way she might on a gig, or wanders off microphone and sings a few lines to the walls. Naturalism is the idea, but this is a beautifully constructed record, from Mr. Moran’s blenderized, genre-defying piano solos to Ms. Wilson’s judicious phrasing, using the full range of her double-smoked voice.