[Dixielandjazz] Grammy Awards and OKOM

Dan Augustine ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu
Tue Feb 25 08:34:06 PST 2003

Jazz fans--
     The apoplectic paroxysm of shrill self-congratulatory onanism 
called the Grammy Awards was rather irritating to me (i think the 
best word is 'pissed', which however has different connotations to 
our cousins across the pond).  I didn't watch the TV show, of course, 
but news of it was hard to avoid.
     Perhaps the most annoying aspect about the awards is the lack of 
any category for 'Traditional Jazz' (or whatever inaccurate neologism 
the organization's or network's flacks could decide on).  Notice that 
there were categories for and awards given in such massively and 
historically popular musics as "Hard Rock", "Rap" (words fail me, but 
unfortunately, not them), "Traditional Folk", "Contemporary Folk", 
"Native American Music", "Reggae", "Historical Album", 
"Pop-Contemporary Gospel", "Traditional Soul Gospel", "Traditional 
Blues", "Contemporary Blues", "Latin Pop", "Merengue", "Polka", 
"Contemporary Jazz", "Large Jazz Ensemble", "Latin Jazz", and so ad 
nauseum forth.  Where the hell is 'Dixieland' or 'Traditional Jazz'?
     Who decides what categories exist?  And what gives them the right 
to do so?  How do new categories get created?  What a laugh.  The 
most traditional kind of jazz--one with millions (yeah, millions) of 
fans, thousands of recordings each year, thousands of stores and 
websites and festivals and publications--has no category.  Surely our 
music has enough influential people to put pressure on the Grammys to 
create our own category.
     Example: a couple of weeks ago i received a CD released in the 
year 2000 that should have at least been nominated for the best 
Traditional Jazz recording of 2000: "A Song for George Lewis" by Dr. 
Michael White (Basin Street Records BSR0501-2).  I think it's great. 
It's brilliantly played by Dr. White (a professor of Spanish and 
Afro-American music at Xavier University; see 
http://www.jazzradio.org/michael.htm) and seven other 
African-Americans in New Orleans, but it and many other recordings 
never got nominated for a Grammy, because there's no category for the 
music.  I'm sure all of you can think of some recordings from 2000 
(and other years) that should have been nominated.
     What a travesty.  As a character in the Pogo comic-strip said, 
i'd write a nasty letter to the mayor if only i could write if only 
he could read.  Anyway, at least i've told y'all about this 
recording, and i can go back to contemplating the varieties of black 
ice on central Texas roadways happily preventing me from driving to 

**  Dan Augustine     Austin, Texas     ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu  **
**    "I am sitting in the smallest room in the house.  I have your   **
**     review in front of me.  Soon it will be behind me."            **
**       -- Max Reger (1873-1916) to a music critic                   **

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