Okay Jazz Peeps, the Grammys do feel a bit empty this year, after the purge of many categories, including jazz.
However, there are still some fine artists, who did great work over the past year, and whose work has been nominated. These people had nothing to do with the shortsighted decision-making of the NARAS, so I want to take a few posts to recognize them, with a track from their nominated work. I’ll also include a few brief thoughts about each work.
We’ll start with Best Jazz Vocal Album
The nominees are:
Karrin Allyson – ‘Round Midnight (Concord Records): Track “Goodbye”
IMO this is not Ms. Allyson’s best work, but she is still one of the best around today. It’s well sung, as always but the Only The Lonely vibe wore thin after a while.
Terri Lyne Carrington – The Mosaic Project (Concord Records): Track “Transformation” [Vocal by Nona Hendryx]
My hands down favorite among the nominated albums, it’s a mostly vocal effort by Ms. Carrington and a number of other ladies. One of our picks for Best Jazz Albums of 2011.
Kurt Elling – The Gate (Concord Records): Track “Golden Lady”
Mr. Elling is a perennial nominee in this category, who finally won on his prior nomination for his strong Coltrane/Hartman tribute Dedicated To You. Though The Gate had some fine moments, I found it overall, to be just “okay”.
Tierney Sutton – American Road (BFM Jazz): Track “Wayfaring Stranger”
This album was a big favorite among the critics and it just may take home the prize on Sunday. Excellent musicianship; I just wished that it swung a little harder.
Roseanna Vitro – The Music of Randy Newman (Motéma): Track “Mama Told Me Not To Come
This is another personal favorite in this category. I’ve long been a fan of Randy Newman’s sardonic wit and wondered when a jazz vocalist would mine the Newman songbook to great extent. Ms. Vitro seemed at first like an unlikely choice, but she sings the songs as if they were written for her and the arrangements are first-rate. She is a longshot in this category but it would not be at all disappointing to see her win.