Corea, Souza and Spalding Among Grammy Nominees
Posted 12/6/2012

Pianist Chick Corea, bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding, vocalist Luciana Souza and saxophonist Kenny Garrett are among the artists nominated for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. The nominations were announced on Dec. 5.

Corea, a prolific pianist/keyboardist who works in a variety of settings, will compete against himself in a couple of categories. The five discs nominated in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album category are Further Explorations (Concord), a trio project that Corea recorded with bassist Eddie Gomez and the late drummer Paul Motian; Hot House (Concord), a collaboration between Corea and vibraphonist Gary Burton; Garrett’s Seeds From The Underground (Mack Avenue); pianist Ahmad Jamal’s Blue Moon (Jazz Village); and Unity Band (Nonesuch), a project that guitarist Pat Metheny recorded with saxophonist Chris Potter, drummer Antonio Sanchez and bassist Ben Williams.

Familiar names also populate the list of nominations for Best Improvised Jazz Solo. The nominees are Corea and Burton, for the title track to Hot House; Corea, for “Alice In Wonderland” from Further Explorations; Garrett, for “J. Mac” from Seeds From The Underground; pianist Brad Mehldau, for the title track to his trio project Ode (Nonesuch); and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, for “Cross Roads” from Spirit Fiction (Blue Note).

Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza simultaneously released two outstanding albums on the Sunnyside label on Aug. 28, and each project has received a Grammy nomination. The Book Of Chet, a tribute to the music of Chet Baker, received a nod in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category.

Souza’s Duos III is nominated in the Best Latin Jazz Album category, where she’ll be competing against Chano Domínguez’s Flamenco Sketches (Blue Note); the Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band’s Ritmo! (Clare Fischer Productions/Clavo Records); the Bobby Sanabria Big Band’s Multiverse (Jazzheads); and New Cuban Express (Mavo Records) by Manuel Valera New Cuban Express.

Spalding received nominations in three categories: Best Jazz Vocal Album, for Radio Music Society (Heads Up); Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for “City Of Roses,” a track from Radio Music Society; and Best Long Form Music Video, for the film directed by Pilar Sanz that accompanied the album.

Composer/producer/conductor Ryan Truesdell’s project Centennial: Newly Discovered Works Of Gil Evans (ArtistShare) received nominations in three categories: Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album; Best Instrumental Arrangement, for “How About You”; and Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), for “Look To The Rainbow,” featuring Souza’s vocals.

Pianist Dave Brubeck, who died on Dec. 5 at the age of 91, received a nomination in the Best Instrumental Composition category for Music of Ansel Adams: America (BCM&D), which he wrote with his son Chris Brubeck.

The nominees for Best Blues Album are 33 1/3 (Telarc) by Shemekia Copeland; Locked Down (Nonesuch) by Dr. John; Let It Burn (Blue Corn Music) by Ruthie Foster; And I Still Rise (Raisin’ Music) by Heritage Blues Orchestra; and Bring It On Home (Saguaro Road) by Joan Osborne.

The presence of the Best Latin Jazz Album category this year is sure to bring a smile to fans of jazz. In April 2011, the Board of Trustees for The Recording Academy enacted a sweeping change by slimming the number of Grammy Award categories from 109 to 78, partially by eliminating the gender distinction in some categories. Also, several genres of music, such as Latin Jazz, were folded into broader categories, which sparked controversy. In June, however, the Academy announced that Best Latin Jazz Album would once again be a Grammy category. Also included this year are the categories Classical Compendium and Urban Contemporary Album.

The Grammy Awards will be presented on Feb. 10 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

For a complete list of the nominees, visit the Grammy website.

—Bobby Reed


Luciana Souza (Photo: Gabriel Rinaldi)

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