Looking over the 49th Annual Grammy Award Nominations, you’ll see a ton of Justin Timberlake, a bevy of James Blunt, a multitude of John Mayer, and simply too much of the Black Eyed Peas. Take a closer look, however, and music with a tad more substance isn’t too hard to find.
George Benson and Al Jarreau’s 2006 collaboration, Givin’ It Up, earned three nominations: “Mornin'” was nominated for Best Pop Instrumental, “Breezin'” for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, and “God Bless the Child” (feat. Jill Scott) for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. Up against Benson and Jarreau for Best Pop Instrumental Performance are Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, who were nominated for “Subterfuge” off of their record The Hidden Land.
In the Best Pop Instrumental Category, Bob James, Larry Carlton and company were nominated for Fourplay’s 2006 release, X. They face stiff competition, however, in the form of Larry Carlton’s solo endeavor Fire Wire, Gerald Albright’s New Beginnings and Wrapped Up in a Dream from Spyro Gyra. The only non-jazz nominee making it into the category is Peter Frampton with his 2006 release Fingerprints. Talk Box be damned!
Tony Bennett’s Duets: An American Classic is nominated for the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, and for information on how the record came to be, check out Bill Charlap’s interview with Tony Bennett in the December issue of JazzTimes.
In the portion of the program dedicated to jazz, nominees for Best Contemporary Jazz Album include Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, Groove Collective, Christian Scott, Sex Mob and Mike Stern. Nominees for Best Jazz Vocal Album are Karrin Allyson, Roberta Gambarini, Nancy King, Diana Krall and Nancy Wilson.
Aimed at rewarding the best chops in the land, the Best Jazz Instrumental Solo category features Michael Brecker, Paquito D’Rivera, Taylor Eigsti, Roy Haynes and Branford Marsalis. As for the Best Jazz Instrumental Album, the nominees are Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett, Sonny Rollins, and Jack DeJohnette, Larry Goldings and John Scofield for their collaboration as Trio Beyond.
Recordings released between October 1, 2005 and September 30, 2006 were eligible for nomination, and the statues will be given out on February 11, 2007. For a complete list of nominees, check out www.grammy.com.