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Jazz music at the Grammys

The biggest and the brightest in the music industry will be celebrated Sunday, January 31, 2010 8PM-11:30PM/EST as Grammy® (now age 52) broadcasts live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on CBS (and online here).  There are those who may tune in out of habit or guilty pleasure to see who is performing what, or wearing what, however the Grammys® remain the pinnacle award for the musical recording artist. 

In most of its categories outside of the mainstream popular realm, it educates us to the quality of music that’s available based on those who submit their work and who are then chosen by the academy to be the best for the preceding year.  The National Academy of Arts and Sciences puts its best foot forward to create a broad representation of relevant music and audio that both helps to define quality performances and present a springboard for the future in musical arts and education.

Fortunately for the Jazz category it’s not a popularity contest and there's probably not even a chance of the viewer to get a glimpse of those awarded in the jazz area. The jazz nominees aren’t big sellers, some aren’t even on the Billboard Charts (…or any charts for that matter), and there are very few familiar names; Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove Randy Crawford and Joe Sample to name a few.  In all fairness, jazz is utilized throughout the entire festivities as an elegant backdrop to music industry parties and gatherings, and usually gets a spot on the show airing, but don't blink!

In any event, those who listen to radio are weary of music in rotation and need an outlet for something new and it’s always refreshing to discover new artists and sounds.

Below are a few of the nominees for enthusiasts, as well as novices that might find worth in listening.

The entire list of nominees can be found here:

Best Contemporary Jazz Album
Stephon Harris & Blackout
(Concord Jazz)

**At World’s Edge
Philippe Saisse
(E1 Music)

Best Jazz Vocal Album
No Regrets
Randy Crawford (&Joe Sample)
(PRA Records)

Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane And Hartman
*Kurt Elling
(Concord Jazz)

So In Love
Roberta Gambarini
(Groovin’ High/Emarcy)

**Tierney Sutton (Band)
(Telarc Jazz)

Best Improvised Jazz Solo
**Martial Solal, soloist
Track from: Live at the Village Vanguard

Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group
**Five Peace Band – Live
Chick Corea & John McLaughlin Five Peace Band
(Concord Records)

**The Bright Mississippi
Allen Toussaint

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
*Sammy Nestico and the SWR Big Band
(Hänssler Classic)

**University Of North Texas One O’clock Lab Band
(North Texas Jazz) - Video below.

Best Latin Jazz Album
**Geoffrey Keezer
(Artist Share)

Brazilliance X 4
*Claudio Roditi
(Resonance Records)

* Recommended listening
**Highly recommended


**Best Long Form Music Video
Anita O’Day – The Life of a Jazz Singer.

Robbie Cavolina & Ian McCrudden, Video directors; Robbie Cavolina, Melissa Davis & Ian McCrudden, video producers.
(AOD Productions)



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