Latin jazz musicians to protest outside of the Grammy Awards

When the Grammy Awards revealed last year that they were reducing the number of award categories from 109 down to 78, it didn’t take much time for those affected to show their displeasure.

While in some cases the cuts were made to eliminate gender-based awards in the “major” categories such as rock, country and R&B, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences also eliminated certain genres all together, such as zydeco, traditional blues and Latin jazz.

While the response from the affected musicians following the announcement last April was immediate and angry, the powers that be seemed to be set in their ways, and as the Grammy Awards approach this weekend, there were no signs of the NARAS changing their mind.

National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Logo

Recently, a spokesman for the recording artists who filed a lawsuit against the NARAS said that there would be a protest and concert the same night as the Grammy Awards, February 12th. The protest will take place outside of the Staples Center where the Awards are being held in order to better help make their side of the situation known. Additionally, a concert will take place called “Not Those Awards All-Star Latin Jazz Jam,” featuring a variety of previous nominees or award winners from eliminated categories.

Rev. Jesse Jackson has also recently spoke out against the removal of the categories, writing a letter the the NARAS president asking him for a meeting to discuss the reinstatement of these categories.

Chucho Valdes & The Afro-Cuban Messengers were the last winners in the Best Latin Jazz Album category for the album Chucho’s Steps.

According to, The four Latin jazz musicians, who filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court in New York on Aug. 2, are Ben Lapidus, Mark Levine, Eugene Marlow and Bobby Sanabria. They are not seeking compensation, but they believe their careers are being severely harmed by the elimination of their category in a breach by NARAS’ “contractual obligations” and that the elimination of Latin jazz causes “irreparable injury to the members of the Recording Academy.”

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences did not consult its rank and file members before making the cuts in the awards.

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2011 jazz Grammy Nominations are in

Grammy Nominations Announced

Last night the nominations we announced for the Grammy Awards. Here are the nominations in jazz categories, as well as some other categories which included jazz artists. The Grammy Awards show will take place February 13th, 2011 at 8 PM.

44. Best Contemporary Jazz Album
For albums containing 51% or more playing time of INSTRUMENTAL tracks.

The Stanley Clarke Band
The Stanley Clarke Band
[Heads Up International]

Never Can Say Goodbye
Joey DeFrancesco
[HighNote Records]

Now Is The Time
Jeff Lorber Fusion
[Heads Up International]

To The One
John McLaughlin
[Abstract Logix]

Trombone Shorty
[Verve Forecast]

45. Best Jazz Vocal Album
For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.

Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee
Dee Dee Bridgewater

Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B
Freddy Cole
[HighNote Records]

When Lights Are Low
Denise Donatelli
[Savant Records]

Lorraine Feather
[Jazzed Media]

Gregory Porter
[Motéma Music]

46. Best Improvised Jazz Solo
For an instrumental jazz solo performance. Two equal performers on one recording may be eligible as one entry. If the soloist listed appears on a recording billed to another artist, the latter’s name is in parenthesis for identification. Singles or Tracks only.

Alan Broadbent, soloist
Track from: Live At Giannelli Square: Volume 1
[Chilly Bin Records]

A Change Is Gonna Come
Herbie Hancock, soloist
Track from: The Imagine Project
[Hancock Records]

Body And Soul
Keith Jarrett, soloist
Track from: Jasmine

Lonely Woman
Hank Jones, soloist
Track from: Pleased To Meet You
[Justin Time Records]

Van Gogh
Wynton Marsalis, soloist
Track from: Portrait In Seven Shades (Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra)
[Jazz At Lincoln Center]

47. Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group
For albums containing 51% or more playing time of INSTRUMENTAL tracks.

John Beasley
[Resonance Records]

The New Song And Dance
Clayton Brothers

Vijay Iyer Trio
[ACT Music + Vision]

Moody 4B
James Moody
[IPO Recordings]

Danilo Perez
[Mack Avenue Records]

48. Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
For large jazz ensembles, including big band sounds. Albums must contain 51% or more INSTRUMENTAL tracks.

Infernal Machines
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
[New Amsterdam Records]

Autumn: In Moving Pictures Jazz – Chamber Music Vol. 2
Billy Childs Ensemble Featuring The Ying String Quartet

Dave Holland Octet
[Dare2 Records]

Metropole Orkest, John Scofield & Vince Mendoza

Mingus Big Band Live At Jazz Standard
Mingus Big Band
[Jazz Workshop, Inc./Jazz Standard]

49. Best Latin Jazz Album
Vocal or Instrumental.

Tango Grill
Pablo Aslan

Second Chance
Hector Martignon

Psychedelic Blues
Poncho Sanchez
[Concord Picante]

Chucho’s Steps
Chucho Valdés And The Afro-Cuban Messengers
[Four Quarters Entertainment]

¡Bien Bien!
Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet
[Patois Records]

75. Best Contemporary World Music Album
Vocal or Instrumental.

Throw Down Your Heart , Africa Sessions Part 2: Unreleased Tracks
Béla Fleck
[Acoustic Planet Records]

All In One
Bebel Gilberto

Angelique Kidjo
[Razor & Tie Entertainment]

Bom Tempo
Sergio Mendes
[Concord Records]

Om Namo Narayanaya: Soul Call
Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon
[Soul Chants Music]

84. Best Instrumental Composition
A Composer’s Award for an original composition (not an adaptation) first released during the Eligibility Year. Singles or Tracks only.

Patrick Williams, composer (Patrick Williams The Big Band)
Track from: Aurora

Battle Circle
Gerald Clayton, composer (Clayton Brothers)

Box Of Cannoli
Tim Hagans, composer (The Norrbotten Big Band)
Track from: The Avatar Sessions
[Fuzzy Music]

Fourth Stream…La Banda
Bill Cunliffe, composer (Temple University Symphony Orchestra)
[Boyer College Of Music And Dance]

The Path Among The Trees
Billy Childs, composer (Billy Childs Ensemble)
Track from: Autumn: In Moving Pictures Jazz – Chamber Music Vol. 2

85. Best Instrumental Arrangement
An Arranger’s Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

Vince Mendoza, arranger (John Scofield, Vince Mendoza & Metropole Orkest)
Track from: 54

Fanfare For A New Day
Patrick Williams, arranger (Patrick Williams The Big Band)
Track from: Aurora

Itsbynne Reel
Gil Goldstein, arranger (Dave Eggar)
Track from: Kingston Morning
[Domo Records]

Ted Nash, arranger (Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra)
Track from: Portrait In Seven Shades
[Jazz At Lincoln Center]

Skip To My Lou
Frank Macchia, arranger (Frank Macchia)
Track from: Folk Songs For Jazzers

86. Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
An Arranger’s Award. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

Baba Yetu
Christopher Tin, arranger (Christopher Tin, Soweto Gospel Choir & Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra)
Track from: Calling All Dawns
[Tin Works Publishing]

Roger Treece, arranger (Bobby McFerrin)
Track from: Vocabularies

Based On A Thousand True Stories
Vince Mendoza, arranger (Silje Nergaard & Metropole Orchestra Strings)
Track from: A Thousand True Stories

Don’t Explain
Geoffrey Keezer, arranger (Denise Donatelli)
Track from: When Lights Are Low
[Savant Records]

Herbie Hancock & Larry Klein, arrangers (Herbie Hancock, Pink, Seal, Jeff Beck,
India.Arie, Konono No 1 & Oumou Sangare)
Track from: The Imagine Project
[Hancock Records]

89. Best Album Notes

Alan Lomax In Haiti: Recordings For The Library Of Congress, 1936-1937
Gage Averill, album notes writer (Various Artists)
[Harte Recordings]

Keep An Eye On The Sky
Robert Gordon, album notes writer (Big Star)

Side Steps
Ashley Kahn, album notes writer (John Coltrane)
[Prestige Records]

There Breathes A Hope: The Legacy Of John Work II And His Fisk Jubilee Quartet, 1909-1916
Doug Seroff, album notes writer (Fisk University Jubilee Quartet)
[Archeophone Records]

True Love Cast Out All Evil
Will Sheff, album notes writer (Roky Erickson With Okkervil River)

107. Best Classical Crossover Album
Award to the Artist(s) and/or to the Conductor.

Meeting Of The Spirits
Matt Haimovitz (Amaryllis Jarczyk, Jan Jarczyk, John McLaughlin, Dominic
Painchaud, Leanna Rutt & Matt Wilson)
[Oxingale Records]

Off The Map
The Silk Road Ensemble
[World Village]

Roots – My Life, My Song
Jessye Norman (Ira Coleman, Steve Johns, Mike Lovatt, Mark Markham & Martin
[Sony Classical]

Tin, Christopher: Calling All Dawns
Lucas Richman, conductor (Sussan Deyhim, Lia, Kaori Omura, Dulce Pontes, Jia
Ruhan, Aoi Tada & Frederica von Stade; Anonymous 4 & Soweto Gospel Choir; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)
[Tin Works Publishing]

Bobby McFerrin

Jazz Grammy Winners Are In!!!

The Grammy award winners were announced today during the 51st annual Grammy Awards. Below is a list of who won which jazz Grammy awards.

We conducted a poll in a blog a while back asking you who you thought would win these awards. Below each winner is the percentage of Groove Notes readers who voted in favor of that particular winner in our poll. Congratulations to all of the winners!!!

Best Instrumental Jazz Album Winner:

The New Crystal Silence
Chick Corea & Gary Burton

Percentage of readers picking this winner: 8%

Best Jazz Vocal Album Winner:

Cassandra Wilson

Percentage of readers picking this winner: 53%

Best Contemporary Jazz Album Winner:

Randy In Brasil
Randy Brecker

Percentage of readers picking this winner: 33%

Best Jazz Instrumental Solo Winner:

Terence Blanchard, soloist
Track from: Live At The 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars)

Percentage of readers picking this winner: 33%

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album Winner:

Monday Night Live At The Village Vanguard
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

Percentage of readers picking this winner: 56%

Best Latin Jazz Album Winner:

Song For Chico
Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra

Percentage of readers picking this winner: 45%

Best Instrumental Composition Winner*:

The Adventures Of Mutt (From Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull)
John Williams, composer (John Williams)
Track from: Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull — Soundtrack

Percentage of readers picking this winner: 0%

Best Instrumental Arrangement Winner*:

Define Dancing (From Wall-E)
Peter Gabriel & Thomas Newman, arrangers (Thomas Newman)
Track from: Wall-E — Soundtrack

Percentage of readers picking this winner: 13%

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) Winner*:

Here’s That Rainy Day
Nan Schwartz, arranger (Natalie Cole)
Track from: Still Unforgettable

Percentage of readers picking this winner: 14%

* = Not a jazz category, but contained jazz artists/songs/albums within its list of nominees.

And the results of the Groove Notes poll for ” Which artist deserved a nomination but didn’t receive it this year?”:

Roy Hargrove: 64%

Eva Cassidy: 18%

Melody Gardot: 9%

Nicholas Payton: 9%

Other: 0%

Once again, congratulations to all of the winners!!!

Groove Notes Poll: Who will win the jazz Grammy Awards this year?

The nominations are out for the 2008 Grammy awards. And whether you agree with them or not (i.e. Roy Hargrove’s Earfood album getting snubbed), we’d like to know who you think will win. Below are all of the categories involving jazz artists, even if just in a small way. Let your vote be heard!

And, as always, you’re comments are encouraged!!!

And the Grammy goes to…Disappointment

Does anyone remember how fulfilling the Grammy Awards were last year for jazz fans? Of course we never get to see the jazz awards given away on television, but the recordings and artists who won the awards last year was certainly something to get excited about. The late great tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker takes home two Grammy awards posthumously, one for an album that could be the best jazz release of the last 25 years. Herbie Hancock takes home an award in the “Contemporary Jazz Album” category, legitimizing the category and keeping the trophy out of the hands of smooth jazz artists. Trumpeter Terrance Blanchard took home an award in the big band category for his emotional Requiem for Katrina release, and Patti Austin and Paquito D’ Rivera each receive Grammys for excellent work in the vocal and Latin jazz fields.

And then when the televised portion of the program arrived, a time dedicated almost solely to rappers, rock stars, and country singers, two fantastic things happened. Pianist Eldar took the stage and wowed the audience. And as the ceremonies came to a close, Herbie Hancock stunned the music world by taking top Grammy honors, while artists like Kanye West had to keep their respective seats.

Following the Grammy Awards, the sales of Herbie’s album shot up over 800 percent. Jazz, to at least some degree, had been put back on the mainstream map.

Then last night, the nominations for the awards given for work over the last year were released. While no one might expect a year for jazz like 2007 again for a long time, the nominations this time around, with a few exceptions, left a lot to be desired.

The Yellowjackets (a band who has tried to label themselves as everything but a smooth jazz band, even with the likes of Robben Ford and Bob Mintzer passing through, are simply that, a smooth jazz band), arrive back on the nomination board for the Contemporary Album award. In the vocal category, Karrin Allyson, Stacey Kent and Cassandra Wilson all get nods, but for albums that all might sound a little too similar to recordings they have released in previous years.

Some very respectable nominations go to Terrance Blanchard in the Instrumental Solo division, a nomination each to Brad Mehldau and Pat Metheny in the Instrumental Album category, and Joe Lovano for his recording with the WDR Big Band and Rudfunk Orchestra in the Big Band division. These are all deserving recordings that should take home awards, with a coin toss deciding the winner between Metheny and Mehldau.

The best album of the year happens to be missing from the list, that being Roy Hargrove’s live release Earfood. Hargrove is a musician who seems to keep getting better and better when it seems not possible, and with respect for the other nominees, Earfood dwarfs any jazz album released in the last 12 months.

I certainly don’t mean to suggest that any of the nominated recordings aren’t good, because they most certainly are. I suppose I feel that maybe its similar to receiving a brand new car for Christmas in 2007, and then in 2008 receiving a gift of a nice pair of pants. While not a bad gift at all, it just doesn’t compare to how spoiled we were last year.

This poses the question: Will we ever be as spoiled as we were last year? Will the public ever have the same buzz about jazz as they did after watching the Grammy Awards last year? I suppose that is up to the musicians and the nominating committee, so we shall see.

On an interesting note, Miles Davis was nominated for a Grammy this year…sort of…for Best Album Notes. Francis Davis, the writer of the liner notes for the 50th Anniversary release of Kind of Blue appears to be the likely candidate in the Album Notes category.