Viewers may have noticed some local representation among the winners at this month's Grammy Awards. Composer and pianist Steven Feifke took home his first Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for his record "Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra." The 31 year old Feifke, a Lexington native and Berklee professor, is the youngest person to ever win the category. His album brings together numerous well-known jazz legends with decades of experience. Arun Rath spoke with Feifke on GBH's All Things Considered. This transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Arun Rath: I should tell you, I'm actually sitting in Lexington right now. I'm in the home studio this week because I'm getting over COVID. Were you expecting to win the Grammy? I mean, this is huge.

Steven Feifke: Oh, well, first of all, I hope you feel better.

Rath: Thank you

Feifke: It really is huge. No, we weren't expecting to win. We were completely shocked when we did. We were also very surprised - pleasantly, of course - when we were nominated. And for me, as the youngest person to ever win the award in this category and to be now on that list with people who I really greatly respect as a musician like Duke Ellington, like Miles Davis in the jazz realm, and then also including people like Quincy Jones and Henry Mancini, the award for this category really does branch far out from just the jazz genre. To be mentioned in that list at all, not to mention be the youngest awardee in that category, it's a huge honor.

Rath: Let's talk about the Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra, because you're working with living legends. You founded this with Bijon Watson, amazing trumpet player. Tell us how it came together.

Feifke: Well, first, let me just sing Bijon's praises for a second, because Bijon is probably one of the greatest lead trumpet players of all time. Bijon and I met backstage at a gig one night and we just hit it off. We formed a pretty strong friendship right off the bat, and he sort of turned into a little bit of my mentor over the years. We would have a couple of phone calls here and there. He's also from Boston, from Sharon, Massachusetts. So we had the Massachusetts connection going on and we started talking and he said, "You know Steve, why don't I commission you to write some big band arrangements for me?" And I said, "Well, Brian, why don't we start a big band together?" And so that's how the idea was formed. And so Bijon and I have two decades between us, more or less. And so that's really the conception of the Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra right there - to reinvigorate this spirit of mentorship that the jazz idiom itself is so founded on. And so Bijon and I are true collaborators on this project, and we just called the individuals in the ensemble from our two generational perspectives. And it's pretty cool in that respect.

Rath: The music sort of reflects all of that, right? I'm thinking of of a tune like "Sassy" that's on there that feels bebop, but also very contemporary and funky and all over the place at the same time.

Feifke: Kurt Elling is the composer of that song and he's also the guest artist on that song. Elling is one of the world's preeminent jazz vocalists, or even just plain old vocalists. He's an incredible artist, somebody who I've listened to since I was probably in my days at New England Conservatory Preparatory School, getting into this music for the first time. And so the opportunity to feature him on the record is very special. And that composition that you mentioned, "Sassy," the lyrics reference Sarah Vaughan. "Sassy" was Sarah Vaughan's nickname. And so it does bridge so many different gaps. I would even go so far as to say generation gaps.

Rath: And I can tell by the way he's singing, he likes this take on it.

Feifke: Oh man. I feel most complimented when an artist feels comfortable to bring every single aspect of their own artistry and craft to the arrangements and orchestration that I've created for them. All I want to do is to enable somebody else to be the best possible version of themself that they can. So when Kurt has a performance like that on "Sassy" or "Until," which is a beautiful composition by Sting from the movie Kate and Leopold, there's a section at the end where I just left a lot of open space intentionally with the hopes that Kurt would fill it up. And what he ended up doing with that take was so far and beyond what I imagined when I first wrote the arrangement. When we were in the studio mixing the record, we hadn't heard the full realization of what Kurt brought to that track until we started hearing all of the layered vocals on top of one another. Bijon and I just looked at each other and just started crying. It was such a deep moment, because we really were able to experience the arrangement anew right alongside Kurt's performance.

Rath: That is awesome. One track that pretty much had me in tears - the song kills me in the way you and Bijon handled it - is "Remember Me."

Feifke: "Remember Me" is a beautiful song from the movie Coco. Yeah, the American songbook in general, from the Tin Tin Pan Alley Days, is really a collection of songs that started off as Broadway standards. I'm always on the lookout for a new repertoire that embodies that, that is music that makes you feel something. In terms of "Remember Me," the way that we did it here is totally different from any way that they did it in any movie. And I was able to sing through it, through Bijon, on the song. And I said, "Well, man, like, why don't we show off the more sensitive side of John Watson, of Mr. Watson?" And he treats that melody so beautifully.

Rath: Steven, it's been such a pleasure talking with you about your music, which is wonderful. Congratulations. I'm really looking forward to hearing this next chapter. Thank you.

Feifke: Oh, it's my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me, Arun. And on that note, actually, my next album is coming out in June of this year. It's my own big band, The Steven Feifke Big Band, and the album is called Catalyst.