To less hoopla than I'm used to, the Grammy nominations were announced last week. For those who care, the jazz nominations can be found here. It's hard not to imagine Herbie and Terrence Blanchard winning their categories- Herbie because he won't win the big album of the year, Terrence for sentimental reasons. (Though what I've heard of his "Levees" album is good. The playing is really solid, and the writing is good if a little drippy) I have to think that Brecker will win the instrumental album for "Pilgrimage", again for sentimental reasons. Though it may well be the best album nominated; after several listens I like it more; possibly Brecker's best solo date. Meldhau plays his ass off and then some.
Other Grammy notes
I know how the final voting goes, but can anyone tell me how the nominating process works? Many years I look at the finalists and just say "huh?" And I know with the album of the year this year including Amy Weinhouse, Herbie Hancock and the Foo Fighters, I'm not alone here.
It's interesting, and I suppose reassuring to purists, to note most "smooth jazz" now shows up in the "Instrumental Pop" category- Chris Botti, Spyro Gyra and Kurt Whalum are all there, with Herbie and a creature called Eldar, who collaborated with Ropeadope regular DJ Logic, in the "contemporary jazz" nomenclature. Biggest omission in the jazz category: Prog by TBP.
I'm rooting for Maria Schneider to win the big band category for "Sky Blue", but with Blanchard in there with her, and since they didn't give it to her for "Concert in the Garden", a superior record IMHO, how will she get it here? (NOTE: I was wrong here, as Darcy notes below. I was under the mistaken impression that the album won an award for Donnie McCaslin's solo, but not the larger category. Oops)
I'll give "River" another go- my first impressions have been lukewarm, but am I the only one that thinks Herbie hasn't made a great record in more than 20 years? They're never bad- he's too good a musician- but they're never at the level he's capable of producing, especially if you catch him on a good night live. Yet no one calls him on it, he keeps getting award nominations and lots of pub... can someone call a spade a spade? (I'll come back to this some other time, he's not alone...)
If Amy Weinhouse wins any of the awards she's up for, she should fall down at the feet of The Dap Kings, her backup band on the album and a solid outfit in their own right. I like her fine, but they make her sound.
And, no, I won't be live-blogging the Grammys this year. Once such punishment enough...