The other New England musician — legendary pianist Chick Corea, born in Chelsea — won the 2020 Grammy Award Sunday for Best Latin Jazz Album.

But John Finbury — who was raised in Haverhill and lives in Andover  — won a whirlwind experience by sheer dint of being nominated in the category, for his album “Sorte!."

Finbury and his wife, Patty Brayden, got swept up in a weekend of moments. They included pre- and post-Grammy events, renewing and making friends and Sunday's ceremonies at the Staples Center.

Delight met sadness there in the convergence of arriving Grammy celebrants and thousands of fans mourning the death of NBA star and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria Onore Bryant, were killed Sunday morning 30 miles from Los Angeles in a helicopter crash.

For more than a decade Bryant had made the Staples Center a basketball stage.

"Everybody was wearing Kobe jerseys," Finbury said. "Everyone was shocked."

The 62nd Grammy Awards, presented by The Recording Academy, went on.

Most of the gold-plated statuettes, including those in Finbury's category, were given during the premiere ceremony in the afternoon.

Finbury, in a blue tuxedo, and his wife, in a sparkly, gray gown arrived to the red carpet by limousine from the nearby Millennium Biltmore Hotel in old Los Angeles.

The carpet stretched some 75 yards, flanked by more than 100 media folks toting cameras and microphones.

The carpet color was enhanced.

"It's the reddest you've ever seen," Finbury said.

On their carpet walk they saw musicians David Crosby, Jacob Collier and Tanya Tucker.

Over the weekend, Finbury and Brayden met old friends and made new ones.

Old ones included Ned Claflin, a musician and producer, and Tom Vickers, a recording label artist and repertory person.

New ones included Mickey Smith Jr., a music educator from Louisiana who won the Grammy in the Educator of the Year category.

Twice at the Biltmore the couple shared an elevator with a musician they have long since liked and often go to see, American blues musician Keb' Mo.'

Keb' Mo' is a regular at the Tupelo Music Hall in Derry and at the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury.

Keb' Mo," by the way, won a Grammy for Best Americana Album, "Oklahoma."

Finbury didn't have a chance to meet musical idol Chick Corea, but he did get to hear him perform live.

Corea and The Spanish Heart Band played the song "Armondo's Rhumba," for which Corea, 78, was awarded the Grammy.

Corea has been nominated some 60 times and won 23 Grammys, putting him among the all-time winners.

Finbury knew who he was up against in the Grammy competition and was proud to be among the nominees, which also included Wynton Marsalis.

Still, Finbury's heart pounded as the winner was announced.

The singer and lyricist on “Sorte!” is Thalma de Freitas of São Paulo, Brazil.

Finbury and de Freitas fielded questions from media, many of them from Spanish news outlets.

The album "Sorte!" marries American and South American sensibilities, particularly jazz and Brazilian samba, forging a musical union between genres with a long-standing history of coming together.

The word "Sorte," pronounced “SORchee” — means luck or serendipity.

Other highlights from Finbury's Grammy adventure included the nominee reception on Saturday at the Ebell of Los Angeles Club, a club founded by and for women.

Other exciting moments were main ceremony musical performances including a tribute to Prince by Usher, and Aerosmith reuniting with Run-D.M.C. on the hit "Walk this Way."

Finbury has been making music since childhood and is hitting his stride in his 60s.

He was about 5-years-old when the first Grammy Award ceremonies were held, in 1959.

In 2016, Finbury was nominated for a Latin Grammy for the song “A Chama Verde,” a Brazilian phrase meaning “the green flash.”

He has two albums coming out this year, the instrumental "American Nocturns" and an as yet-to-be titled Latin Jazz album.

To learn more about Finbury's music visit his website,

The album “Sorte!” can be heard on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Youtube and other music platforms.



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