Grammys 2015: Bold tributes among jazz nominees

Pianist Jason Moran earned a Grammy nomination for his tribute to Fats Waller, "All Rise."
Pianist Jason Moran earned a Grammy nomination for his tribute to Fats Waller, “All Rise.”
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Grammy voters have long shown a soft spot for tribute albums, and this year the jazz category features some inspired twists on the form.

Honoring an acclaimed folk-pop singer-songwriter, pianist Billy Childs’ lovingly drawn “Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro” was nominated in the jazz vocal album category. Full of lush arrangements and an eclectic roster of guests that includes previous Grammy winners Alison Krauss, Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding, the album leads a field that also includes René Marie’s tribute to Eartha Kitt “I Wanna Be Evil,” a live album from rising star Gretchen Parlato and recordings by Dianne Reeves and Tierney Sutton.

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In the jazz instrumental album category, Jason Moran’s equally boundary-pushing “All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller” was nominated for its modern yet reverent recast of music by the stride piano innovator. The field also includes the imaginative “Landmarks” by the Brian Blade Fellowship, “Floating” by the Fred Hersch Trio, “Enjoy the View” by veteran vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson and “Trilogy,” a sprawling three-disc live set from a trio led by longtime Grammy favorite Chick Corea.

Corea is also eligible for honors in the improvised solo category, along with Hersch, pianist Kenny Barron, saxophonist Joe Lovano and Brad Mehldau, who was nominated for a turn on his electronics-infused duet album with drummer Mark Guiliana, “Mehliana: Taming the Dragon.”

Lovano also appeared on a tribute recording by Conrad Herwig nominated in the Latin jazz category, “The Latin Side of Joe Henderson.” The category features albums by Arturo O’Farrill, Yosvany Terry, Pedrito Martinez and Emilio Solla.

The large ensemble category features locals such as the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with “The L.A. Treasures Project,” which will go against recordings by Rufus Reid, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra’s tribute to Bob Brookmeyer and saxophonist Archie Shepp with a live album featuring his Attica Blues Orchestra.

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