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THE GRAMMY NOMINATIONS | Jazz

Quality Entries and a Glaring Omission

January 05, 2002|Don Heckman

The most startling aspect of this year's jazz Grammy nominations is not who is included but who is not. Amazingly, Diana Krall's "The Look of Love" is nowhere to be found in the best jazz vocal album category. This, despite its enormous popularity and breakout sales--usually two of the most basic gauges for nomination. Nor was Jane Monheit, one of the most visible up-and-coming jazz vocalists, included. Are we experiencing some sort of backlash here?

What has been listed in the field is fairly predictable: Karrin Allyson, whose "Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane" may be the most imaginative of the lot, as well as albums from Shirley Horn, Dianne Reeves, Kurt Elling and, somewhat unexpectedly, Mose Allison.

Elsewhere, there are few surprises but some fairly high-quality entries. The best instrumental jazz album, for example, is filled with first-rate CDs, especially the "Kindred" encounter between Stefon Harris and Jacky Terrasson. Dave Holland's "Not for Nothin'," Roy Haynes' Charlie Parker tribute "Birds of a Feather," Sonny Rollins' "This Is What I Do" and Pat Martino's "Live at Yoshi's" make up the balance of an extremely competitive grouping.

The best Latin jazz album category is also attractive. Charlie Haden has a prime entry with "Nocturne," in part because of the presence of David Sanchez and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who also have their own albums ("Travesia" and "Supernova," respectively) in the lineup. But there will be potent rivalry from Los Hombres Calientes ("Vol. 3: New Congo Square") and the superb collection "Calle 54."

There are lots of styles and some real creative energy in the best contemporary jazz album selections. There may be more pure jazz diversity here--with albums from Russell Gunn, Marcus Miller, Mike Stern, Bill Evans (the saxophonist) and the ensemble of Dennis Chambers, Tony MacAlpine, Brian Auger and Bunny Brunel--than in any other listing.

Finally, the always enigmatic grouping, best jazz instrumental solo, includes some appealing if not especially momentous playing from Terence Blanchard, Michael Brecker, Gary Burton, Pat Martino and the duo of Kenny Barron & Regina Carter.

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Don Heckman

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