Herbie Wins Highest Grammy Honor
February 11, 2008. Posted by Angelika Beener.
Like many of you, I was home last night watching the Grammys. I started not to watch it, because often times it's long, tedious, and not very interesting. At least for someone like me who doesn't listen to a whole lot of mainstream music. But it was a Sunday night, and I was routing for a few albums, and so I thought...why not? I ordered up my dinner and plopped in front of the screen.
As I was watching the red carpet special, the E! host caught up with Herbie Hancock. Herbie mentioned to the host that it had been 43 years since a Jazz album won the overall Best Album category. Well, the Grammys have only been around for 50! That really blew my mind. I then began to really think about that and frankly, it truly bothered me. I knew that the lack of well-rounded programming on the Grammys was always frustrating to me and many others, but Herbie's comment really put it into perspective for me. I mean, think about it...I don't think I've ever just seen a quartet or a quintet just burn out on a Grammy stage. Jazz is always packaged in some cheesy, or watered-down package on mainstream award shows. Bad enough that the Jazz categories don't get televised! Then when they DO show jazz-type performances, they are so "Vaudevilled" out, that it's no wonder that the masses (especially a lot of young folks) don't become necessarily interested in Jazz...the representations are all wrong!
OK, now that I'm done venting, let's talk about some of the highlights for me, and the things I'm very proud of about this year's Grammys.
HERBIE HANCOCK WON THE GRAMMY FOR ALBUM OF THE YEAR!
YES!!!! And well deserved. It was not "stolen" as I've read a couple places in the press this morning. I thought it was so commendable on the behalf of the academy to recognize Herbie in this way. I think the young artists - Winehouse, Kanye and the like, needed that. The music industry at large needed that. They needed to see where so much of their inspiration comes from. And that at 67, Herbie is still a giant among giants. You don't have to check out Maiden Voyage or Empyrean Isles to know just how bad this cat is (though I strongly suggest everyone does). He is always one to be contended with because he remains ahead of his time. And River: The Joni Letters, is just a beautiful album.
Another special highlight for me was Terence Blanchard getting the Grammy for Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album for his
A Tale of God's Will: A Requiem for Katrina. This album is truly special, and I'm so glad it was acknowledged in this way. I was also happy for the late Michael Brecker to be honored.
I hope that Herbie's high-profile victory will open up the discussion about the importance of Jazz, and spark the programming folks at the Grammy's to consider including more Jazz performances, and exposing the thriving genre to a lot of folks that need to be hipped...and would greatly enjoy appreciate the music.
Congratulations to everyone!
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