[JPL] Hancock win latest in right artist, wrong year category

philipbooth at tampabay.rr.com philipbooth at tampabay.rr.com
Wed Feb 20 13:49:15 EST 2008


This has probably been mentioned, but ... 
The irony of all this is that so many rock crits and industry observers are whining that Herbie's win somehow means that the Grammys are out of touch and irrelevant (like they haven't been for years, particularly in the biggest categories), while the reality is that his win actually adds a little bit of credibility and legitimacy to the whole shebang. 

No, I don't think the album was one of the year's best jazz discs, or that it's one of Herbie's best recordings. But in terms of the performances, arrangements and overall musicality and musical sophistication, it far outranks the releases by Amy Winehead (er, Winehouse), Kanye West, Foo Fighters and Vince Gill. 

And this sentiment comes from someone who actually does admire the work of several of those artists. 

BTW, since Kot mentioned Mavis Staples - Her album, indeed is top-notch. Another good CD in the retro-soul/R&B vein last year was Sharon Jones' 100 Days, 100 Nights; Winehouse borrowed Jones' excellent band, the Dap-Kings, for her CD and tour, and word is that the Dap-Kings are working on Al Green's next CD. Just saw Jones in Tampa - her performance was fierce, and band really grooved.


---- Jae Sinnett <jaejazz at yahoo.com> wrote: 
> This week's sponsor: Pacific Coast Jazz
> 
> Two new Pacific Coast Jazz albums are in stores now and on radio: 
> 
> Roberta Donnay's ''What's Your Story'' - ''...a major new find... highly recommended'' with 5 albums behind her and Orrin Keepnews by her side, this album is destined for a Grammy.  She performs across the nation and in Europe.  www.robertadonnay.com
> 
> The Bruce Eskovitz Jazz Orchestra's ''Invitation'' to you is to listen and capture this ''...hard swinging, straight-ahead, good-time modern jazz.''  This CD release party is at The Jazz Bakery in LA on February 17.  www.bruceeskovitz.com
> 
> Radio promo by New World 'N' Jazz, Neal Sapper, 415-453-1558 &amp; Matt Hughes, 732-835-5050.  Label: Pacific Coast Jazz, 858-484-8609 Email donna at pacificcoastjazz.com   check out all of our artists at www.pacificcoastjazz.com
> 
> Pacific Coast Jazz wishes all of our friends a great 2008.
> 
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> 
> I've read countless articles about Herbie's win and to me it seems like most are trying to find a way to justify why he shouldn't have won. I enjoyed this article until...
>    
>   "But is it really the album by which we will remember the year in music? Was it truly the
> embodiment of "artistic excellence" in 2007? That's not even remotely true. If the Grammys were looking for a revered artist to honor for a late-career triumph, they would've been better off choosing Mavis Staples' "We'll Never Turn Back." Unfortunately, Staples' album wasn't even nominated - a huge oversight. It isn't the first time the Grammys got it wrong."
>    
>   Firstly, I'm wondering what album he thought was "artistically" superior? Winehouse? West? Marvis? Nah. Not even close...IF you're listening from a completely objective artistic perspective. I would love to know what he thought was artistically better and why from a musical perspective. Just about every reason I've heard as to why people thought he shouldn't have won....55.000. That of course was the number sold before the Grammy presentation. It can't be that great if it sold that pitiful five digit figure. "Disco Duck" sold a few million didn't it? Strength in numbers...right. It's a delicate line the writer and programmer for that matter... have to walk...without it becoming purely all about them.  
>    
>   From a musician's perspective...the ballad...is the most mis-understood point of musical reference in the jazz repertoire. Dexter Gordon once said that if you can play a ballad, you can play anything. That's what "River" is conceptually all about. It's "sleepish" nature is deceptive. Yet in that sleepish display is the most difficult methodology of instrumental performance the jazz musician will be confronted with. It's the ultimate test of the musicians time and forward vision. You want to play faster but you can't. It forces your body to stay in that zone....like bending over to pick something up...having it be either to low or not high enough. You know...which is it? That awkward spot. Now when the untrained ear hears ballads it's musical intentions don't reach out and touch you right away because of the pacing. That missing repetitive 9th grade example of rhythm so common in today's award ceremony atmosphere. Then the harmony...oh the harmony. That's the deepest thing
>  about "River" but who talks harmony but musicians? So it's obvious to me...on a major scale... the point of "River" is missed.
>    
>    
>   Jae Sinnett    
>    
>   
> 
> 
> Jazz Promo Services <jazzpromo at earthlink.net> wrote:
>   This week's sponsor: Pacific Coast Jazz
> 
> Two new Pacific Coast Jazz albums are in stores now and on radio: 
> 
> Roberta Donnay's ''What's Your Story'' - ''...a major new find... highly recommended'' with 5 albums behind her and Orrin Keepnews by her side, this album is destined for a Grammy. She performs across the nation and in Europe. www.robertadonnay.com
> 
> The Bruce Eskovitz Jazz Orchestra's ''Invitation'' to you is to listen and capture this ''...hard swinging, straight-ahead, good-time modern jazz.'' This CD release party is at The Jazz Bakery in LA on February 17. www.bruceeskovitz.com
> 
> Radio promo by New World 'N' Jazz, Neal Sapper, 415-453-1558 & Matt Hughes, 732-835-5050. Label: Pacific Coast Jazz, 858-484-8609 Email donna at pacificcoastjazz.com check out all of our artists at www.pacificcoastjazz.com
> 
> Pacific Coast Jazz wishes all of our friends a great 2008.
> 
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> 
> http://www.kansascity.com/414/story/496779.html
> 
> Wednesday, Feb 20, 2008
> Posted on Tue, Feb. 19, 2008
> Hancock win latest in right artist, wrong year category
> By GREG KOT
> Chicago Tribune
> With his Grammy Award for album of the year Sunday, Herbie Hancock joins a
> long list of venerated musicians who have won music's biggest prize decades
> after releasing their best work.
> 
> Hancock's "River: The Joni Letters" joins Ray Charles' "Genius Loves
> Company" (which won in 2005), Steely Dan's "Two Against Nature" (2001) and
> Tony Bennett's "MTV Unplugged" (1995) in a dubious category: Right Artist,
> Wrong Year.
> 
> These awards honored career achievement more than they did artistic
> excellence or impact on the year in music. "River" is certainly a competent
> piece of work, but it's far from Hancock's best. There were at least a dozen
> hard-core jazz albums released last year that received far greater accolades
> from music buffs. From his classic solo album "Maiden Voyage" (1965) to his
> innovative meld of jazz, electro-funk and hip-hop on "Rockit" (1983),
> Hancock has done better work in the past. He's won Grammys for some of his
> achievements, but never for album of the year; indeed, "River" was the first
> album by a jazz artist to win the top honor in five decades.
> 
> But "River" had several things in its favor. It was just enough (but not too
> much) jazz, so it shaded its pop overtures in a veneer of sophistication and
> class (the same reason that people like Sting and Norah Jones keep winning
> Grammys). It paired two artistic heavyweights in Hancock and Joni Mitchell,
> whose songs provided a template for the pianist's arrangements. And it was
> up against a couple of favorites who really didn't do much to ingratiate
> themselves to the staid National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the
> 18,000-member organization that annually votes on the Grammys.
> 
> The academy hates controversies, except when they can bring higher ratings
> to its nationally televised awards ceremony. And album-of-the-year
> front-runners Amy Winehouse and Kanye West did their part with dramatic
> performances on the telecast and juicy, tabloid-baiting back stories in the
> months leading up to it. There was Winehouse, the outlaw soul singer with a
> drug problem and an attitude. She got sprung from rehab just in time to
> perform on the Grammys, though she had to do it via satellite in London
> because of visa problems (imagine that). And then there was West, who has
> blasted the Grammys in past years for denying him album of the year, only to
> turn into a relatively sympathetic figure in recent months because of the
> tragic death of his mother and closest adviser, Donda West.
> 
> Love them or hate them, West and Winehouse brought a lot of sizzle to a show
> that normally drags, with academy big shots giving speeches and hopelessly
> mismatched performers gamely performing duets (Kid Rock and Keely Smith,
> anyone?). Winehouse was much improved over the fidgety, out-of-it performer
> who toured America last year before her health bottomed out. West dazzled
> with an over-the-top robot-rap set complemented by the helmeted French duo
> Daft Punk, then a stirring tribute to his mother.
> 
> But West's reputation as a petulant egotist - deserved or not - hasn't made
> him any friends at the academy and turned off many potential fans to the
> accomplishment of his music. Winehouse, too, has been elevated to celebrity
> status not by her music but by her wayward behavior off the stage and
> outside the recording studio.
> 
> So in giving its top honor to Hancock, the academy once again made the safe
> choice. It gave it to the nice guy steeped in respectable music, as a
> victory lap for a career well done. Award presenter Quincy Jones was
> stunned. Hancock's jaw dropped. Nobody, least of all the winner, saw this
> one coming.
> 
> The award had immediate impact. "River" shot to No. 2 on the amazon.com
> popularity list the next morning (behind Winehouse). But is it really the
> album by which we will remember the year in music? Was it truly the
> embodiment of "artistic excellence" in 2007? That's not even remotely true.
> 
> If the Grammys were looking for a revered artist to honor for a late-career
> triumph, they would've been better off choosing Mavis Staples' "We'll Never
> Turn Back." Unfortunately, Staples' album wasn't even nominated - a huge
> oversight. It isn't the first time the Grammys got it wrong.
> 
> Greg Kot: greg at gregkot.com
> --
> 
> Jazz Programmers' Mailing List: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
> List information: http://lists.jazzweek.com/mailman/listinfo/jazzproglist
> List archive: http://lists.jazzweek.com/pipermail/jazzproglist/
> Sponsorship information: jplsponsor at jazzweek.com
> 
> 
>        
> ---------------------------------
> Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile.  Try it now.
> --
> 
> Jazz Programmers' Mailing List: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
> List information: http://lists.jazzweek.com/mailman/listinfo/jazzproglist
> List archive: http://lists.jazzweek.com/pipermail/jazzproglist/
> Sponsorship information: jplsponsor at jazzweek.com



More information about the jazzproglist mailing list