I have normally shied away from having any thoughts or comments on the Grammy’s here on the Jazz Loop, but for some reason this year I feel compelled to talk about the Grammy nominations that were announced on December 7th 12:55pm. First of all, I was surprised that this was announced so early in the day, but apparently this was not unusual. The only reason I knew exactly when the nominations were being announced was because I follow @TheGRAMMYs on twitter. When the nominations were released my social media platforms blew up. Especially my twitter which is dominated by people in the music industry, it seemed everyone had strong feelings on the nominations. Whether they were congratulating the musicians who received a nomination or disgruntled over a snub. I found myself, for the first time in years, intrigued and interested in the nominations and Grammy’s as a whole.
The Jazz genre contains 5 awards, Best Improvised solo, Best Jazz Vocal Album, Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Best Large Jazz Ensemble, and Best Latin Jazz Album. Overall not too many surprises the typical names can be found in all the categories. Christian McBride, John Scofield, Joshua Redman, Maria Schneider, Robert Glasper etc. I’m not necessarily disappointed with the nominations, but I feel like the jazz nominations always have the same 20 or so top names. Jazz is such a rich and dense genre and I feel like we have the most notorious jazz artists represented, but is this really the best jazz of 2015? I have my doubts.
Do The Grammy’s Matter?
I’ve flip flopped over this topic many times throughout the years. I’ve gone from thinking that winning a Grammy was a huge achievement, to the Grammy’s being irrelevant, to my current opinion, which is somewhere in the middle. Many people feel giving awards and trying to rate music in general is not a good idea. This is an art form and if you feel the music is good and it connects and resonates with you then that’s all that matters and trying to put one artist against another is not sensical. This is not a sporting event, it’s not competitive that way. Now while I tend to agree with this sentiment overall. I do like the idea of reflecting on the year, and applauding musicians for their artwork.
As a musician myself it would be a tremendous achievement just to be nominated. To know that critics are embracing what I create and that they feel I’m among the best at what I’m trying to do would be a tremendous honor. However, no artist should have the goal of winning a Grammy, or any award for that matter. The goal should be to experiment, push yourself, and to make a positive contribution to music. And hopefully by accomplishing this we get some recognition, a fan base, awards, etc. The Grammy’s and award shows like it, are bonuses, icing on the cake, but the art, the music, the people, have to come first.
Overall I’m more intrigued by the Grammy’s this year and I’m looking forward to seeing who wins in all the respective categories. Hopefully the Grammy’s also gets some live television coverage. Either way I plan on watching more than usual so be sure to check out The Jazz Loop in February for more Grammy Coverage.