Grammys 2016: As the jazz nominations show, buzz helps
Kendrick Lamar may have been a popular choice as one of this year’s Grammy contenders, but his rising tide wasn’t enough to lift L.A.’s Kamasi Washington, who lent his saxophone and string arrangements to parts of Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly.” Despite being one of the most talked-about jazz releases of the year, Washington’s three-disc debut, “The Epic,” went missing among this crop of nominations.
Second-guessing the Grammy voters’ choices is something of an annual tradition, and the rest of the year’s nominations offered the usual mix of welcome and head-scratching selections. For instance, 12-year-old piano prodigy Joey Alexander was a morning-show favorite for the promise shown on his album “My Favorite Things.” While it showed an ear for interpretation beyond his years, his position as one of the contenders in the jazz instrumental album and improvised jazz solo categories points to the importance of buzz once it comes time for Grammy nominations.
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Click through the gallery to see some of the top Grammys 2016 winners and nominees including Taylor Swift, the Weeknd and Ed Sheeran. Make sure to check out The Times’ complete Grammys coverage.(From left: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times; Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times; Matt Sayles / Invision / AP)
WINNER: Album of the year, pop vocal album and music video; NOMINATED: Record of the year, song of the year, pop solo performance, pop duo/group performance.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
WINNER: Record of the year and Pop duo/group performance; NOMINATIONS: Pop vocal album(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
WINNER: Best New Artist(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
WINNER: Rock song, rock performance and alternative music album; NOMINATIONS: Album of the year.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
WINNER: Song of the year and pop solo performance. NOMINATIONS: Record of the year, album of the year.(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
WINNER: rap album, rap performance, rap song, rap/sung collaboration, and music video; NOMINATED: album of the year, song of the year.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
WINNER: R&B performance, urban contemporary album; NOMINATIONS: Record of the year, album of the year, pop solo performance, R&B song, and song written for visual media.(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
WINNER: R&B song and R&B album; NOMINATIONS: Record of the year.(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
WINNER: Country solo performance, country album; NOMINATIONS: Album of the year, country song.(Jenna Schoenefeld / For The Times)
NOMINATIONS: Rap performance, rap/sung collaboration, rap song and rap album(Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times)
NOMINATIONS: Pop duo/group performance, pop vocal album, rock performance and rock song(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Nominations: Rap performance, rap/sung collaboration and rap album(Christopher Polk / Getty Images for A+E Networks)
WINNER: Country duo/group performance; NOMINATIONS: Country album.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
NOMINATIONS: New artist and country album(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
NOMINATIONS: R&B performance and R&B album(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Among the artists competing with Alexander in the album category are Terence Blanchard, with the socially conscious jazz-funk album “Breathless”; John Scofield, with “Past Present”; former Grammy winner in the R&B field Robert Glasper, for his piano trio album “Covered”; and saxophonist Jimmy Greene,’ with the stirring “Beautiful Life,” inspired by the death of his 6-year-old daughter in the 2012 shootings at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. Also nominated in the improvised solo category were Scofield, Joshua Redman in his collaboration with the Bad Plus, Christian McBride and saxophonist Donny McCaslin, who appeared on the Maria Schneider Orchestra’s “The Thompson Fields.” Schneider was also honored in the large ensemble category, along with Arturo O’Farrill, Patrick Williams, Marshall Gilkes & WDR Big Band and the Gil Evans Project’s “Lines of Color.”
FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards | Complete list of nominees
Also nominated for the 2014 Grammy Awards, Cécile McLorin Salvant returned to the jazz vocal album category with “For One to Love.” Also in the running are drummer-vocalist Jamison Ross, Karrin Allyson, Lorraine Feather and Denise Donatelli. Genre-skipping Brooklyn group Snarky Puppy was nominated in the contemporary instrumental category along with Bill Frisell, Marcus Miller, Wouter Kellerman and Kirk Whalum. Miguel Zenón’s “Identities Are Changeable” leads the Latin jazz album nominees, which also includes Eliane Elias, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Wayne Wallace and the Rodriguez Brothers.
Elsewhere, drummer Antonio Sanchez, whose manic pulse for “Birdman” was passed over by the Oscars, was nominated in the score soundtrack category.
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