Feb 11, 2013
For the third time in the past decade, jazz has caught the attention of Grammy voters in a most unusual way.
Recent wins by Herbie Hancock (Album of the Year for River - The Joni Letters; 2008) and Esperanza Spalding (pictured, Best New Artist, 2011) seem to have paved the way for voters to honor artists who defy a particular genre with their work. This year, that came in the category of Best R&B album, which was won by Black Radio, the latest release by pianist Robert Glasper and his backing group The Experiment. Whether this means that jazz as a parochial category is dying, or that today's artists are battering down walls and ceilings that unfairly categorize music remains to seen. But in either event, it's an exciting moment.
Kudos to other jazz-related winners, including:
Latin jazz album: "Ritmo!," The Clare Fisher Latin Jazz Big Band.
Jazz vocal album: "Radio Music Society," Esperanza Spalding.
Jazz instrumental album: "Unity Band," Pat Metheny Unity Band.
Large jazz ensemble album: "Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You)," Arturo Sandoval.
Pop instrumental album: "Impressions," Chris Botti.
Instrumental composition: "Mozart Goes Dancing," Chick Corea
Improvised Jazz Solo: "Hot House”, Chick Corea
Instrumental Arrangement – "Centennial — Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans,” Gil Evans; Ryan Truesdell, producer