Bay Area Musicians Decry Elimination Of Grammy Categories

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(AP)

OAKLAND (KCBS) – The Bay Area is home to some of the world’s best jazz musicians, not to mention scores of jazz fans. The local music scene has been buzzing as of late, but not necessarily because of the smooth sounds and rhythmic beats emanating from instruments and microphones.

Rather, plenty of folks are fuming over a recent decision by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, NARAS, to eliminate more than 30 music categories from consideration at the annual Grammy Awards.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

“We’re proud and honored to continue the Grammy legacy of recognizing excellence in recorded music,” emphasized NARAS president and CEO Neil Portnow, as he recently announced the total number of categories recognized at the next awards ceremony would be reduced from 109 to 78.

Latin jazz, contemporary jazz, zydeco, polka, traditional world music, traditional blues and several Mexican and gospel categories were dropped from consideration.

It’s the wrong decision, as far as Latin jazz composer and Bay Area Grammy nominee Wayne Wallace is concerned.

“When does a genre stop being a genre?” he asked. “I’m still pondering the logic in dropping the Best Latin Jazz Recording category, along with the other thirty categories from the Grammys.”

Wallace was among the NARAS voting members who took part in a news conference Monday at the legendary Oakland jazz club Yoshi’s, speaking out against Portnow’s plan.

Musicians vowed to go viral with a newly-formed group, Grammy Watch.

“And we’ll do everything in our power, including denouncements of this travesty at every presentation we make, at every class we teach, and at every interview we give,” promised five-time Grammy nominee, percussionist John Santos. “We’ll call for an international boycott of the Grammy telecast and of all its advertisers.”

The Grammy Watch musicians emphasized they simply want NARAS to reverse course and restore all of the categories to the annual awards show.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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