[JPL] NARAS Slashes Grammy Categories From 109 to 78 / Jazz Loses 2 Awards - Best Latin & Best Contemporary Jazz Albums

onthebeach at aol.com onthebeach at aol.com
Thu Apr 7 01:51:49 EDT 2011

This is a serious blow to jazz, a loss of 33% of its Grammy Awards in one fell swoop.  It has been some years since "smooth jazz" exerted any dominance on the Contemporary Jazz Field.
Bad news in deed.  How does Mike Stern compete with James Moody or vice versa?  Keep in mind the Male & Female Vocal categories were previously combined (and its been hell on Male Jazz vocalists who have been noticeably underserved in nominations and wins).  How do Latin Jazz artists compete with everyone else?  This sucks, people.

How could this happen? Jazz remains without a serious national organization. In other words, there is a real lack of presence within the industry overall.  There is no force consistently lobbying for jazz
and it shows.  Jazz got lucky this year.  Somehow Esperanza Spaulding slipped in to the "Best New Artist" category, an unjust, in correct entry, that is not without precedent.  The Recording Academy has prostituted the Best New Artist for some years now.  A few years back country singer Shelby Lynne won with her fourth or fifth album release!  What is new about that?  What is "new"  about Esperanza?  While I salute her artistry, she does NOT fit the guidelines of having her first commercial CD released during the previous eligibility period (essentially september to september of the previous year).

Numerous people wonder how this can happen , and how it can continue to happen?  Jazz got lucky--somehow she snuck in there and the "stars" lined up: Grammy voting process translation:
four other youth oriented POP/RnB artists split the vote sufficiently for a little known dark horse to steal the award.  No pun intended.  Again, I think she is a terrific artist, she's just not a "new" one.
What does this mean for next year? Just ONE artist or (not large) band will win a jazz Grammy; just ONE vocalist (or vocal group) will win a Jazz Grammy, ONE soloist will win an award and so will ONE large ensemble.  There is no guarantee ANY Latin artist will win anything.  We may see more genre bending artists record CDs with "split personalities".   No longer guided by having to have a majority of tracks be contemporary or mainstream to fit into that category, astute artists and producers may seek to split the difference and in doing so, give themselves a chance top appeal to jazz voters on both sides of the divide.

Overall, its just bad news for jazz which now has fewer awards than Classical or Gospel. Not a rousing endorsement in the land of it birth.  Think about it....

ricky schultz
"What can we do for YOU?"

-----Original Message-----
From: mfa - jazz radio promotion,publicity & consulting <MitchellFeldmanAssociates at Comcast.net>
To: Jazzweek <jazzproglist at jazzweek.com>
Sent: Wed, Apr 6, 2011 12:46 pm
Subject: [JPL] NARAS Slashes Grammy Categories From 109 to 78 / Jazz Loses 2 Awards - Best Latin & Best Contemporary Jazz Albums

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Greetings Group...

NARAS has just announced they have slashed the number of categories getting 
awards next year from 109 to 78 and Jazz lost 2 categories = "Best Contemporary 
Jazz Album" and "Best Latin Jazz Album."

Below is a comparison of the Old versus the New I found at the NARAS website.

JAZZ FIELD - OLD            
Best Contemporary Jazz Album    
Best Jazz Vocal Album           
Best Improvised Jazz Solo       
Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual Or Group   
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album   
Best Latin Jazz Album    

Best Improvised Jazz Solo
Best Jazz Vocal Album
Best Jazz Instrumental Album
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

Here's a link to the page comparing the entire field for the 53rd versus the 
54th annual awards.


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