by Paul Adams
Well, it's Grammy time again. Each year it rolls around, and in some Pavlovian way, it makes me feel lousy. My knee jerk response is, that I don't want to watch, and that I hope nobody discusses it when they see me on the streets the next day. Now I love the Oscar's. There seems to be more dignity. Don't get me wrong, I know it too is heavily influenced by promotion, advertizing, and money. But I see variety there. I see a wide spread of tone, mood, and expression. AND, I don't see undignified behavior like that expressed by my fellow musicians where some wear their awards like a rooster wears their main. I don't see one artist interrupt another to espouse to the crowd that they really didn't deserve the award.
Perhaps another reason I feel so bad about the Grammy's is that certain categories of music ñ one's that I think are artistically important such as Jazz, classical, Instrumental, Indigenous, etc are not even televised. I love Rock and Roll. I was raised on Rock and Roll, but I not proud of some of it's progeny such as MTV and VH1. It seems that shallow is deep, and inane is important.
Well, I have to admit that now and then I flip the channel to take a quick peek at what is going on. Some I can't believe, some I am embarrassed by (The aforementioned kanye West example). But, now and then I am blown away and I think, ìthere is hope for this art form.î For example Herbie Hancock winning album of the year, or Nora Jones being recognized for musical expression not currently in vogue. Neal Young has never won a Grammy but tonight is being recognized for his contribution. Also, I thank U2, Sarah Mclaughlin, and many others who continue to shine a bright light in the popular musical world.
I have musical acquaintances who have been nominated and I have gotten emails asking me to vote for them. I usually don't respond as I've chosen not to be a voting member. What if I were nominated for a Grammy? Would I accept, or like Marlon Brando refuse his Oscar. After all, is art a sport? Can we say one form of expression is superior to another? This isn't football or track where there is an obvious winner. This is expression. This is the vision of the artist and the way he interprets the world -OR IS IT?
Music is an art form closely related to commerce. Generally speaking, musical decisions are made by a team as well as the musician or composer. Very important to this team is how to make music that produces money for the ìindustryî. This is not bad. But, there is another way of making music. One where a musician, or musicians sit and create a painting based upon their whim or vision. They are the ones that make the decisions of what to paint on their canvas - not a corporate board. I have met unheard of musicians on Myspace, Pandora, and Facebook that impress me far more than those I see on the Grammy's ( See Vladiswar Nadishana or Elizabeth Geyer)
So, would I accept a Grammy? Sure. It's a way to reach a broader audience, and pay bills. And being recognized by my peers is an honor. Plus my own artistic snobbery (Can you tell I may be a bit of an artistic snob?), shouldn't necessarily be forced upon others (Except of coarse in the way I am doing this right now).
Generally much of what we get for the Grammy's is the best music manufactured. Not the best music created. For those interested in an alternative try Myspace, Pandora, Last FM, eMusic, and many many other sites that offer something a bit more than what we get of the regular radio or the Grammy's. Try the Satellites such as Sirius, XM, Music Choice, Muzak, for specialty channels that offer a much broader pallet of musical expression. And, lets hope that The Grammy's make some awards to a few wonderful artists, with the further hope that someday, Ishak Perlman, Pat Metheny, James Levine, Peter Kater and others will be noticed.
by Paul Adams
I've never cared for this section of road I pass on my way to the windy city. Except just this one time. I'm clueless as to why I never noticed the stark beauty of such solitude.
Maybe it's the diesel ramming hard against the pavement? Perhaps its my brains tendency to be in the future of what will, or could be. Perhaps it's like baseball, unless I'm participating, I'm bored. I guess Iíve never bothered participating in this event before.
Today, geography happened to collide at a point in time when I was actually here now,
if only for a brief moment.