The following was published in today’s The New York Times…
By JAMES C. MCKINLEY JR.
A year after the trustees who oversee the Grammy Awards cut 31 categories and drew fierce protests from Latin jazz musicians and others, they have voted to reinstate the award for best Latin jazz album.
The Recording Academy said that its board had made several changes to the categories during its annual meeting in late May, adding three awards.
Not only will Latin jazz be recognized with a separate category, but a new award for best urban contemporary album has been created to honor less-traditional R&B that includes elements of urban, rock and pop music, like the music being made by artists like Chris Brown or Ne-Yo. A new award for the best compendium of classical music was also added. All told, there will be 81 categories at the awards ceremony on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles, up from 78 this year.
The reinstatement of the Latin jazz category represents a retrenchment for the academy. Last year, the trustees rattled the music industry when they reduced the categories to 78, from 109. By a narrow vote, they decided to get rid of separate awards for men and women in many fields, consolidate many categories and eliminate individual awards for several regional or ethnic genres, among them zydeco, Hawaiian music, American Indian music and Latin jazz.
The changes drew fire from several quarters, with some musicians contending that the cuts appeared to discriminate against ethnic minorities. A few big-name artists, including Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santana, joined a petition drive to reverse the decisions. Latin jazz musicians in New York, led by the drummer Bobby Sanabria (pictured), filed a lawsuit alleging that the board, by acting largely in secret, had not followed its own procedures. That suit was thrown out by a judge in April.
“Now I can concentrate on music,” Mr. Sanabria said. “This is a great day.”
Read the entire article on The New York Times website.