NARAS Cuts Grammy Award Categories

Two jazz categories among the 31 eliminated by consolidation

The Recording Academy, presenters of the Grammy Awards, has announced that it has consolidated its awards categories, going from 109 in 2010 to 78 in 2011. Two jazz categories were eliminated: Best Latin Jazz Album and Best Contemporary Jazz Album. Winners in those categories most recently in February were Chucho Valdes and Stanley Clarke, respectively.

Neil Portnow, the president/CEO of the Recording Academy, told Billboard: “Every year there are changes but we’ve never stopped and stepped back to look at the whole thing. [We asked], is there an underlying infrastructure and rationale across all the awards as to how we’re doing this? And what we found is, there wasn’t. So we said, ‘All right, let’s deal with the holy grail here. Let’s sit down and talk about what might be a vision or an overview structure of this that gives us some consistency.'”

Among the other categories that were eliminated were Best Cajun & Zydeco Album, Best Hawaiian Music Album and Best Native American Music Album. Although many of the categories that were eliminated were due to merging of gender specific pop categories, the non-pop genres sustained lost many categories.

In addition, the Recording Academy made some changes with its voting procedures. In the past, voters could choose nine genre fields to cast their votes, but now can vote in as many as 20 categories, plus the four general categories. Each award category must have at least 40 artist entries to move forward. If a category receives between 25 and 39, only three recordings will receive nominations. If there are fewer than 25 submissions, the category will not be presented. The category will be discontinued if there are fewer than 25 entries for three consecutive years.

You can read the announcement regarding the awards reorganization on the Recording Academy’s website.