2013 Jazz Grammy® Preview #7 – Best Instrumental Composition

And it all comes down to this…

Our final look at the jazz artists nominated for 2013 Grammy Awards are in a category that I’m almost embarrassed to say that I initially overlooked.  It would make sense that the nominees in this category would be mostly jazz musicians, since you don’t hear a great deal of pop instrumentals these days. Though there are a few names that you don’t hear often these days, this category like the others is full of the familiar.

The nominees are:

Chuck Loeb for “December Dream”, from Fourplay’s Esprit De Four (Heads Up International)

Guitarist Chuck Loeb is the newest member of this contemporary jazz supergroup and from the sounds of this tune, he fits in just fine with the other three cats. It’s a very pleasant melody and a nice performance as well.

Chick Corea for “Mozart Goes Dancing”, from Chick Corea and Gary Burton’s Hot House (Concord)

He’s baaaaack! Chick Corea, who threatens to have a Christopher Cross type evening (look him up youngsters) as far as Jazz Grammy’s go, has been again nominated in this category for the only new composition on Hot House. Actually, I have to admit that I wouldn’t mind if he was the winner here. Mozart Goes Dancing is very ingratiating and the performance favorably reminds me of some of the Third Stream pieces that John Lewis wrote for the Modern Jazz Quartet in the sixties. So yeah, I’m pulling for Chick this time.

Chris Brubeck and Dave Brubeck for “Music of Ansel Adams: America” performed by the Temple University Symphony Orchestra (BCM&D)

The late great Dave Brubeck and his son, Chris composed this work in tribute to the legendary photographer Ansel Adams. This symphonic work is rendered even more impressive when seen in its original setting, accompanied by the stunning black and white photography of Mr. Adams.

Bill Cunliffe for “Overture Waltz and Rondo”, performed by the Temple University Symphony Orchestra (BCM&D)

Mr. Cunliffe, the noted jazz pianist, arranger and producer wrote this Third Stream style work. While it’s very nice I didn’t find it to be that memorable overall. Nice trumpet work by Terell Stafford on the recording.

Bill Holman for “Without a Paddle”, from The Pete Christlieb & Linda Small 11 Piece Band’s High on U (Bosco)

Bill Holman has been on the scene for over 60 years, first gaining notice with Stan Kenton, I’ve been a fan of tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb since first hearing his solo on Steely Dan’s “Deacon Blues” when I was in high school. Christlieb has been a longtime admirer of Mr. Holman, so it’s nice to see them come together on this album, which consists of all Holman compositions and arrangements.

This wraps up our Grammy previews, thanks for reading them. Now let’s sit back and see who takes home the awards!

Until then, the jazz continues…

One Response to “2013 Jazz Grammy® Preview #7 – Best Instrumental Composition”

  1. How can I get in touch with Curt?

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