Back From Vacation to Grammy Reality

Posted on May 9, 2011

I’m back everyone from my blog vacation. A lot has happened since we last checked in. Latin Jazz and 30 other categories have been dropped from the Grammys. A big blow to the Latin Jazz genre that ranges from established giants as 9 time Grammy Award winner Eddie Palmieri to young upstarts such as Alfredo Rodriguez who have been making important recordings that has contributed to a current world wide Latin Jazz renaissance. Palmieri and percussionist-educator Bobby Sanabria in New York and locally, John Santos are leading the fight to have the category restored. The category was established in 1996 when Palmieri was governor of the N.Y. chapter. N.A.R.A.S., the academy that oversees the Grammys claims that there weren’t enough music submissions from the categories to justify their existence. But the Academy’s motives are being questioned due to lack of notice and transparency in dropping the categories without first informing its members according to Santos. It’s suspicious that this major decision comes on the heels of the Best New Artist category being awarded to jazz wunderkind Esperanza Spalding instead of massive teen idol Justin Beiber. The Grammys were full of surprises this year much to the apparent chagrin of the pop music establishment. Beiber’s manager took out a full page ad in the N.Y. Times criticizing the Grammys stating that they were out of touch. The Academy then reacted weeks later with the announcement of the category changes. The Academy’s decision sets up a policy that supposably now only the best of the jazz genre (including Latin Jazz artists) will have the opportunity to win the “real” jazz category. However that argument doesn’t take into account that the streamlining of categories will make it harder for deserving artists to get the recognition and honor of a Grammy nomination for their work. Santos and members of the Bay Area’s Latin Jazz community vow to fight until the category is restored. For more information on this issue…go to