Hero Award recipient McCoy Tyner (2nd left) is congratulated by BMI's Charlie Feldman, Samantha Cox and J.W. Johnson
Presenters for the evening included BMI songwriter/artists Jaguar Wright and Kenny Gamble, Def Jam President Kevin Liles, Electric Factory Concerts President Larry Magid and Late Night With David Letterman's Paul Shaffer. Tiffany Bacon of Power 99 hosted the event that featured Doc Gibbs and the Emeril Live Band as well as the Philadelphia Grammy All-Star High School Band.
BMI's Brooke Primont and Charlie Feldman, Hero Award recipients Walter "Bunny" Sigler and Joe Nicolo, BMI's Samantha Cox, Hero Award recipient Larry Gold, and BMI's J.W. Johnson, Wardell Malloy and Erica Tompkins. photos: Recording Academy
Grammy-nominated arranger and cellist Larry Gold is also the owner of the highly successful recording facility The Studio. A student of the Curtis Institute of Music, Gold quickly went on to become the cellist for MFSB, the house band for the Sound of Philadelphia, with whom he recorded tracks for The O'Jays, Billy Paul, The Spinners, Teddy Pendergrass, The Tramps, Patti LaBelle and others. Later, Gold turned his talents to composing for animated films, and earned an Oscar nomination for the film short It's So Nice To Have A Wolf Around The House. In 1996, he created The Studio, a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Philadelphia, which became a home for recording artists including the Roots, Erykah Badu, Common, Jill Scott, Musiq and many others in the burgeoning soul and R&B scene.
Grammy-nominated producer, engineer, studio owner and record label executive Joe Nicolo has had a successful, long-running career in Philadelphia. He and twin brother Phil formed Studio 4 together and over the past 25 years, the studio has become a local mecca for artists including Boyz II Men and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (both recorded early albums at Studio 4), Aerosmith, Dishwalla, the Dead Milkmen, the Hooters, the Rolling Stones, Urban Dance Squad and many others. Nicolo has produced and engineered a wide range of acts from Cypress Hill, Billy Joel, Foreigner and Cyndi Lauper to Taj Mahal, Schooly D and Grover Washington Jr. In the early '80s, Nicolo formed Ruffhouse Records with partner Chris Schwartz. The label would become home to cutting-edge hip-hop and rap acts such as Cypress Hill, Kris Kross, Tim Dog and the Fugees (as well as solo projects from Fugees artists Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean). Earlier this year, Nicolo joined forces with RKO Pictures and started a new label, RKO/Judgement, whose focus is movie soundtracks and new recording artists.
Singer, songwriter, producer and instrumentalist Walter "Bunny" Sigler is a Philadelphia legend. His first album came out on Cameo Parkway, preceding Sigler's years with Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff as a songwriter and artist. He has written or co-written songs for Phil Hurtt, The O' Jays, Patti LaBelle, Jay-Z, the Dells and Mystique. His production credits include work with Curtis Mayfield, The O' Jays, Lou Rawls and Patti LaBelle. Recently, Sigler's work has been sampled in the Grammy-winning Nelly track "Dilemma" and his songwriting has appeared on R&B artist Jaguar Wright's recent debut album, Denials Delusions and Decisions.
Philadelphia native McCoy Tyner is often cited as the most influential jazz pianist of his time. Over the span of his 50-year career, Tyner has won two Grammy Awards for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance and has collaborated with many noted artists, including the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet, John Coltrane, Stephane Grappelli, Sonny Rollins, and Ike and Tina Turner. A powerful virtuoso, Tyner has stayed true to his own unique musical style from his early days and continues to evolve and redefine excellence. He was nominated at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Instrumental Album (Individual or Group) for his recent album McCoy Tyner Plays John Coltrane - Live at the Village Vanguard.
Established in 1957, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., also known as the Recording Academy, is dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural conditions for music and its makers. An organization of 18,000 musicians, producers, and other recording professionals, the Recording Academy is internationally known for the Grammy Awards and is responsible for numerous groundbreaking outreach, professional development, cultural enrichment, education and human services programs.