Alex Webb comments on the restructuring/downsizing in the number of Grammy Award Categories from next year:
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has just announced a restructuring of the event’s awards categories, bringing them down from 109 to a mere 78. If you’ve ever tried to make sense of the Grammy Awards, this news may come as a relief.
The jazz enthusiast’s first reaction may, understandably, be alarm at what this might mean for minority categories, but, in fact, rock and pop that have been most affected. Taking Pop, Rock, R&B and Rap together, their categories tumble from 28 to 14. Jazz has been trimmed too, and next year will have just four categories, down from six:
Best Improvised Jazz Solo
Best Jazz Vocal Album
Best Jazz Instrumental Album
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
‘Best Latin Jazz Album’ and ‘Best Contemporary Jazz Album’ have been lost.
Whether these changes are a response to reactions to some of the surprise winners in this year’s (53rd) Grammy Awards is hard to say. In February music executive Steve Stoute, best-known for managing hip-hop artist Nas, took out a full page ad in the New York Times claiming the awards had “lost touch with contemporary popular culture”. He seemed particularly annoyed at the success of jazz bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding: “How is it that Justin Bieber, an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist, did not win best new artist?” Stoute said.
Esperanza Spalding (above) won Best New Artist earlier this year. Her concert tomorrow at the Barbican Centre is sold-out; she returns on 11 July.