It’s the nominating season for the Grammy Awards. In the mailboxes of recording academy members like myself, CDs are arriving in droves, hungry to be considered worthy of nomination in their respective categories. (My own Two Hands is hoping for a New Age Album nod).
In most of the categories, it’s a simple matter of popularity. Whoever is the most famous gets the most votes and gets nominated. But in a few categories, such as composing and arranging, the nominations are made by committees who actually listen to each of the entries. That’s how the arrangement of “Helter Skelter” by Richard Greene and Yours Truly snagged a nomination. Groups of dedicated and knowledgeable Academy members across the country listen through hundreds of potential nominees, and present their chosen nominations. The Bobs were not a household name, but enough of a name to get a fair hearing – and a Grammy Nomination!
I’m too busy with fatherhood just now to serve on a listening committee, but back in the late 80’s I did for a few years, and it was pure pleasure for a listening hound like myself. Not since high school had I had the chance to sit around with others who love music to just listen. Through STACKS of records .For hours and hours. And it was so exciting to hear, and honor with a vote, some little-known composer or arranger whose work, while not famed, shone with inspiration and originality.
Meanwhile, I’m having my own private listening party, checking out all the CDs that are flooding in, finding some nice gems, and happily casting my vote for the good stuff.