Tis the season: The Grammys, the start of holiday music, and more

It’s Grammy Awards time, and the holiday season is upon us, so there are plenty of potential gift-giving ideas here, not to mention “Best Albums of 2022” lists and some other jazz-related happenings to be aware of. Let’s jump right in. 

The 2023 Grammy Awards nominations were announced on Nov. 15 and include 26 nominations of artists and/or recordings across five jazz categories. 

Pianist John Beasley picked up the most nominations this year with a total of three: Best Improvised Jazz Solo, Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, and Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella, which are all related to his album “Bird Lives,” a Charlie Parker tribute. 

Besides Beasley, other jazz musicians nominated for the 2023 Grammy Awards include Terri Lyne Carrington, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Samara Joy, Wayne Shorter, Leo Genovese, Melissa Aldana, Ron Carter, Ambrose Akinmusire and Arturo O’Farrill, 

Jazz artists are also represented in a wide spectrum of Grammy categories as well. Robert Glasper is nominated for best R&B album and best-engineered album (non-classical); the late Dr. John is posthumously nominated for best Americana album.

I hope Terri Lyne Carrington, Kris Davis, Linda May Han Oh, Nicholas Payton and Matthew Stevens win for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for “New Standards, Vol 1.” 

Courtesy of Wikipedia John Beasley

The 65th annual Grammy Awards takes place on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. To see a full list of this year’s Grammy nominees, visit grammy.com. 

Jazz artists Charles Lloyd, Immanuel Wilkins, and Julian Lage are all on Jazzwise magazine’s best jazz albums of 2022. To hear them all, go to the “Jazz Now” playlist: bluenote.Ink.to/JazzNow

Wilkins’s album “The 7th Hand” was also named one of the “Best Jazz Albums of 2022” by the New York Times. 

Saxophonist, composer, and educator Bobby Watson has a new album out entitled “Bobby Watson: Back Home in Kansas City” (Smoke Sessions). 

Speaking of Smoke Sessions Records, the most-added album on the JazzWeek jazz radio chart for the week of Nov. 28 was Nicholas Payton’s latest from Smoke Sessions, “Couch Sessions,” with bassist Buster Williams and drummer Lenny White. Check out jazzweek.com. 

I’m excited about the new Ahmad Jamal music—the two-volume “Emerald City Nights: Live at the Penthouse 1963-1964” (Jazz Detective). Plus there’s also reason to be excited about new music from the late great drummer Elvin Jones. Just out is a previously unreleased set of July 1967 quartet recordings made by Jones at the NYC venue Pookie’s Pub. The album is entitled, “Elvin Jones: Revival: Live at Pookie’s Pub” (Blue Note). 

The holidays are also a good time to check out the new documentary “Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues” (Apple TV+) directed by Sacha Jenkins. It honors Armstrong’s legacy and highlights his life surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and how he fared during that turbulent era. The film also offers archival footage, personal and never-before-heard personal conversation, and home recordings. 

Happy birthday to pianist and composer Billy Strayhorn, who was born on November 29, 1915, in Dayton, Ohio. He collaborated with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington for nearly three decades. Among his most iconic compositions are “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Lush Life.” 

Also celebrating a birthday this November is trumpeter Nat Adderley, born on November 25, 1931, in Tampa, Florida. He is the brother of saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley and well-known for his song “Work Song,” which has become a beloved jazz standard. 

Congrats to pianist and composer Jon Batiste, who headlined President Joe Biden’s first State Dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, Dec. 1. “An artist who transcends generations, Jon Batiste’s music inspires and brings people together,” said Vanessa Valdivia, a spokesperson for first lady Jill Biden to the Associated Press. 

Happy holidays and happy album shopping to everyone! 

Have an opinion? Share it below.