Local drummer George "Spanky" McCurdy will back Lady Gaga when she performs Sunday night at the Grammy Awards. McCurdy is Gaga's touring drummer, but he's not the only local connection to the Grammys.
Soulful songbird Jill Scott's "Love," with Chuck Brown and Marcus Miller, is up for best R&B group performance. Philly hip-hop heroes The Roots are up for several awards: best rap album for their "How I Got Over," and best R&B album, best rap/sung collaboration and best traditional R&B vocal performance for their collaboration with Penn grad John Legend in "Wake Up! Everybody."
Philly's Jazmine Sullivan is up for best-female R&B performance for "Holding You Down (Going in Circles)," and Musiq Soulchild and Kirk Whalum are up for "We're Still Friends," best-male R&B performance. Organist Joey DeFrancesco's "Never Can Say Goodbye" is up for best contemporary-jazz album, and producers Carvin Haggins and Ivan Barias, who work as Carvin & Ivan, produced songs by Faith Evans, Jaheim, and Raheem DeVaughn, who are up for various Grammy awards in the R&B category.
Carvin & Ivan and Spanky were both recently named 2011 Creative Ambassadors to Philadelphia by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp.'s Philly 360 program targeting African-American tourism.