In addition to making them sit through Celine Dion slaughtering Janis Ian's "At Seventeen," the biggest disservice that Grammys sponsors the Recording Academy did to local musicians Tuesday night was to deny many of them the thrill of reading about this honor in the morning's papers and blogs.
For the first time in 51 years, the Academy announced a small fraction of the nominations during a live TV special absurdly named "The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! -- Countdown to Music's Biggest Night." Organizers did not make the full list of nominees--at 110 categories with an average of five nominees each, that's around 500 names (allowing for repeats)--available to the media until midway through the broadcast, which aired from 8 to 9 p.m. in Chicago.
Since newspapers' deadlines followed shortly after the show ended, that meant reporters barely had time to finish their stories based on the big winners and most obvious local nominees, and the Chicago chapter office of the Academy, like other offices across the U.S., did not have time to single out the local honorees in time to trumpet this news in a timely fashion.
Memo to Grammy honcho Neal Portnow and other Academy big wigs: You spend 364 days a year emphasizing that the organization is a vital and important part of all of America's local music scenes. Indeed, the Chicago chapter has played an active role in music education, raising money for musical causes and fighting troublesome attacks on the community of musicians such as the proposed Promoter's Ordinance.
One day a year, the Academy has a big TV show. Now, it's two days a year. Don't forget what the organization's mission really is as you're chasing big ratings and enjoying the opportunity to get your mug on TV next to Taylor Swift. The Academy is supposed to be about the musicians, and the most important thing on its mind when the nominations are announced should be spreading that word in the most efficient, timely and thorough manner possible.
In any event, the Chicago chapter has just released its list of local honorees. "The Midwest has produced some of America's top musical talent over the past years," said Tera Healy, the executive director in Chicago. "We're excited and thrilled that such a diverse number of wonderful musicians and talent from this region are being recognized this year by The Academy and its members."
The full list of Chicago contenders follows the jump.
Topping the 2008 Grammy nominations in Chicago:
Alacranes Musical for "Tu Inspiracion," best banda album
Alan Gilbert for Prokofiev: Seythian Suite, Op. 20, conductor (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), best orchestral performance
Bernard Haitink for Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4, conductor (Chicago Symphony Orchestra, best orchestral performance
Buddy Guy for "Skin Deep," best traditional blues album
David Frost, Tom Lazarus & Christopher Willis for "Traditions and Transformations: Sounds of Silk Road Chicago," best engineered album, classical
Disturbed for "Inside the Fire," best hard rock performance
Eddie Vedder for "Rise," best solo rock performance (Vedder is an Evanston native)
Jack DeJohnette for "Peace Time," best new age album
Jennifer Hudson for "I'm His Only Woman" by Jennifer Hudson featuring Fantasia, best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals; best R&B album ("Jennifer Hudson") and best female R&B vocal performance ("Spotlight")
Jennifer Koh & Reiko Uchida for "String Poetic" (Cedille Records), best chamber music performance
Joan Sebástian for "No Es De Madera," best banda album
Johnny Karkazis (Johnny K) for "Big Bad World" (Plain White T's), "The Illusion of Progress" (Staind), "Light From Above" (Black Tide) and "3 doors down" (3 Doors Down), producer of the year, non-classical
Kanye West for "American Boy" by Estelle featuring Kanye West, best rap/sung collaboration; song of the year (for "American Boy" by Estelle featuring Kanye West); best rap performance by a duo or group (for "Put On" by Young Jeezy featuring Kanye West); best rap song and best rap performance by a duo or group (for "Swagga Like Us" by Jay-Z & T.I. featuring Kanye West & Lil Wayne), and album of the year (for production contributions to "Tha Carter III" by Lil Wayne)
Lupe Fiasco for best rap solo performance ("Paris, Tokyo"); best rap song and best rap/sung collaboration (for "Superstar" by Lupe Fiasco & Soundtrakk, with Chicago singer Matthew Santos) and best rap album ("The Cool")
Meagan Hennessey for "Debate '08: Taft and Bryan Campaign on the Edison Phonograph" by David Giovannoni, Meagan Hennessey & Richard Martin, compilation producers; Richard Martin, mastering engineer, best historical album
Miguel Harth-Bedoya for Harrison: Pipa Concerto, conductor, Wu Man (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), best instrumental soloist(s) performance (with orchestra)
Ministry for "Under My Thumb," best metal performance
Pacifica Quartet for Carter, Elliott: String Quartets Nos. 1 And 5, best chamber music performance
Pinetop Perkins for "Pinetop Perkins & Friends," best traditional blues album
Stanley Jordan for "Steppin' Out," best pop instrumental performance
Superchick for "Rock What You Got," best rock or rap gospel album
The Murrills for "Donald Lawrence Introduces: Family Prayer," best contemporary R&B gospel album