When the nominees for the 59th annual GRAMMY awards were announced this past December, I knew that I would get little gratification from the awards themselves in those categories of personal interest to me: production, classical, and jazz. As I had reported in my response to the nominations, the only signs of my own preferences could be found in the Producer of the Year, Classical category, three classical categories, and two jazz categories (both for the same recording). By the middle of yesterday afternoon, I had learned that only one of those preferences actually got an award. That was the album of Third Coast Percussion playing the music of Steve Reich in Category 78: Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.
To be sure, something is better than nothing. Perhaps at least some of the GRAMMY judges felt guilty about the dearth of recordings featuring the music of a composer who had turned 70 last fall. Having had the opportunity to listen to Third Coast Percussion performing one of the selections from their album in concert, I was certainly delighted with how well they knew their Reich; and there is no doubt that I very much enjoy having this particular album in my collection. Perhaps what is more important, though, is that none of the other winners involved recordings that made me wish I had not overlooked them in making my own listening decisions. The bottom line is that none of us can listen to all of the new recordings produced every year; and I suppose I can take some comfort (however cold it may be) in the gulf that separates my listening preferences from what appeals to GRAMMY judges!