Friday, December 5, 2008

2009 Jazz Grammy Noms are In

I might as well make a blog post about the recently announced jazz Grammy nominations... everyone else is doing it. A few comments from me, a not at all recognized authority on these types of things, but someone who has listened to a lot of jazz in the last year due to his job as an internet radio programming director:

A couple of noms that make me particularly happy (I like some others, too, but I don't have all day here):

Carla Bley - Appearing Nightly (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album)

I was so happy when I heard about this release and got the high quality full-album download from the radio people at ECM. Carla Bley (pictured) is one of the great jazz composer-arrangers working today, and has one of the most distinctive points of view of any big-band composer in jazz history. This CD is full of her signature quirky arrangements and great performances by the members of her band. (I'm a particular fan of Billy Drummond's drumming behind Bley in the past few years).

Kate McGarry - If Less Is More... Nothing is Everything (Best Jazz Vocal Album)

McGarry's voice may take a little getting used to for folks who've only ever listened to Ella, Sarah, and Billie, but contains rich beauty for those willing to listen. Her nominated disc features a top-shelf backing band, with Gary Versace on organ and accordion, Clarence Penn on drums, Keith Ganz on guitar, Reuben Rogers on bass, and a special guest spot by tenor giant Donny McCaslin. What I really dig about this CD, and why I played it heavily on the main AccuJazz channel even when it wasn't making the best showing in the JazzWeek or CMJ jazz charts, was the inventive arrangements of contemporary songs. Her takes on Bob Dylan, The Cars and Crosby Stills and Nash are surprisingly tasteful and un-gimmicky. The playing by Versace and Penn is particularly sympathetic.

Nom that deserves a laugh:

Nominating two solos from the same live track? Terence Blanchard and James Moody are both nominated for their solos on the tune "BeBop" from the album Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival by the Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars. I haven't heard the recording in question, but it just makes the voting members of the academy look lazy. I mean, really? Two out of the five BEST solos in all of 2008 are on the SAME SONG, from the SAME CONCERT?

Here they all are, copied and pasted in all their glory:

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

  • Randy In Brasil
    Randy Brecker
    [MAMA Records]

  • Floating Point
    John McLaughlin
    [Abstract Logix]

  • Cannon Re-Loaded: All-Star Celebration Of Cannonball Adderley
    (Various Artists)
    Gregg Field & Tom Scott, producers
    [Concord Jazz]

  • Miles From India
    (Various Artists)
    Bob Belden, producer
    [4Q/Times Square Records]

  • Lifecycle
    Yellowjackets Featuring Mike Stern
    [Heads Up International]

Category 46

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

  • Imagina: Songs Of Brasil
    Karrin Allyson
    [Concord Jazz]

  • Breakfast On The Morning Tram
    Stacey Kent
    [Blue Note]

  • If Less Is More...Nothing Is Everything
    Kate McGarry
    [Palmetto Records]

  • Loverly
    Cassandra Wilson
    [Blue Note]

  • Distances
    Norma Winstone

Category 47

Best Jazz Instrumental 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.)

  • Be-Bop
    Terence Blanchard, soloist
    Track from:
    Live At The 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars)
    [Monterey Jazz Festival Records]

  • Seven Steps To Heaven
    Till Brönner, soloist
    Track from:
    The Standard (Take 6)
    [Heads Up International]

  • Waltz for Debby
    Gary Burton & Chick Corea, soloists
    Track from:
    The New Crystal Silence
    [Concord Records]

  • Son Of Thirteen
    Pat Metheny, soloist
    Track from:
    Day Trip
    [Nonesuch Records]

  • Be-Bop
    James Moody, soloist
    Track from:
    Live At The 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars)
    [Monterey Jazz Festival Records]

Category 48

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

  • The New Crystal Silence
    Chick Corea & Gary Burton
    [Concord Records]

  • History, Mystery
    Bill Frisell
    [Nonesuch Records]

  • Brad Mehldau Trio: Live
    Brad Mehldau Trio
    [Nonesuch Records]

  • Day Trip
    Pat Metheny With Christian McBride & Antonio Sanchez
    [Nonesuch Records]

  • Standards
    Alan Pasqua, Dave Carpenter & Peter Erskine Trio
    [Fuzzy Music]

Category 49

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

  • Appearing Nightly
    Carla Bley And Her Remarkable Big Band

  • Act Your Age
    Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band

  • Symphonica
    Joe Lovano With WDR Big Band & Rundfunk Orchestra
    [Blue Note]

  • Blauklang
    Vince Mendoza
    [Act Music and Vision (AMV)]

  • Monday Night Live At The Village Vanguard
    The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
    [Planet Arts Recordings]

Category 50

Best Latin Jazz Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Afro Bop Alliance
    Caribbean Jazz Project
    [Heads Up International]

  • The Latin Side Of Wayne Shorter
    Conrad Herwig & The Latin Side Band
    [Half Note Records]

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

  • Nouveau Latino
    Nestor Torres
    [Diamond Light Records]

  • Marooned/Aislado
    Papo Vázquez The Mighty Pirates
    [Picaro Records]

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