Best Wishes to Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Gadd and Randy Brecker at this Sunday’s 64th GRAMMY awards.

While Ron was the only artist to record a leader album produced by Creed Taylor, with both CTI and KUDU albums, Jack, Steve and Randy were just as integral to the success of the artists, albums and labels.

For the 64th awards, there are still a good slate of jazz awards, but I doubt they’ll get much coverage with the exception of “Best Jazz Instrumental Album“. The category includes both Jon Batiste “Jazz Selections: Music From And Inspired By Soul” and Chick Corea “Akoustic Band Live” in the running, and will make good TV if they so choose. It’s in the same category that Ron and Jack find themselves, along with pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba for their 2021 album “Skyline” on 5Passion Records[1] It’s a packed category with Pat Metheny “Side-Eye NYC (V1.IV)“, Terence Blanchard “Absence” .

Steve Gadd and Randy Brecker are nominated in the “Best Contemporary Instrumental Album“. In many respects that alone in even more remarkable that Jazz-styled albums make-up all 5-nominations in this category. Gadd’s nomination is for the Steve Gadd Band “At Blue Note Tokyo”[2], Randy’s is a joint nomination with Eric Marienthal for their, I thought, 2020 album “Double Dealin’[3]

I’ll update on Monday with the award winners.

Ron Carter

It’s been 10-years since Ron was nominated, and almost 20-years since his last GRAMMY win, but that’s not because Ron has been idle, far from it. During lockdown/Covid it was great to sit-in on numerous zoom calls with Ron. Always concise, not a man to waste words, Ron dispensed advice to fans and fellow bass players alike. I was disappointed when Ron cancelled his February 2-night appearance at Dazzle in Denver, it would have been great seeing him in person.

While most reviewers focus on the volume, and implied quality of Ron’s work, more than 2,500 albums. I prefer to focus on the significance. More recently, I’ve been impressed by Ron’s work in the late 1960’s, early 1970’s on protest and social conscience albums and more recently with Eric Bibb on his album “Dear America” and track “Emmett’s Ghost“.

Grammy History

Ron’s Grammy history is impeccable and includes[4] 2-wins and 5-nominations. His first nomination came in 1973 for Dick Katz Milestone records album “Alone Together” with Jim Hall. Carter’s first win came in 1987 with “Call Sheet Blues” which won “Best Instrumental Composition“. The track came from Dexter Gordon’s album “The Other Side Of Round Midnight“. Carter’s second win came in 1994 for “Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual Or Group” with the epic all-star group performance of “A Tribute To Miles“.

Jack Dejohnette

Jack’s CTI contributions got back to some of the earliest albums, including Freddie Hubbard’s “Straight Life” and GRAMMY winning “First Light”. As well as the studio albums, DeJohnette was also the 1st-call drummer for the CTI All-Stars, and is the backbone of the “CTI Summer Jazz At The Hollywood Bowl” live albums.

Grammy History

Drummers are not typically a focus of the Recording Academy, which undervalues their importance to music. Jack has 1-win and 6-nominations[5], starting in 1988 with a nomination for the post-bop “Still Live” with the Keith Jarrett Trio. Jack’s win came in 2008 for the album “Peace Time” which won the award for “Best New Age Album“. The album is a remarke 1-hour plus solo, single track album that is incredibly hard to find and is definitely overdue a Record Store Day reissue. It is a mix of drums and percussion including chimes producing a river of sound.

Steve Gadd

Steve Gadd never recorded a leader album for Creed, but he did record dozens of CTI and Kudu albums from 1974 onwards[6] recording some 87 albums with Creed Taylor and artsits. More recently, Gadd has recorded and performed in Japan and the US with Kudu and CTI arranger David Matthews.

Grammy History

Gadd has long been overlooked by the Recording Academy with 3-nominations and 1-win[7] The good news is the win came in 2018 with the Steve Gadd Band for “Best Contemporary Instrumental Album“, which hopefully bodes well for this year in the same category.

Randy Brecker

Not typically recognized as a CTI alumni, Brecker has an superb track record of CTI/KUDU recordings, and he was clearly a 1st-call for Don Sebesky. Randy played on many of the classic ’73/’74 CTI/KUDU records before he got into a real groove with brother Michael, who sadly died far too early. I have many copies of Brecker Brother albums, some of them signed, many with programs from live performances. I love love their first album “The Brecker Bros.” which features the classic and GRAMMY nominated “Sneakin’ Up Behind You”. I was lucky enough to see Randy in 2018 at UNC Greeley Jazz Festival[8]

Some of the first CTI/Kudu albums Randy appeared on included Grover Washington’s epic 1973 album “Soul Box“, Sebesky’s “Giant Box“, Turrentine’s “Don’t Mess With Mister T.” and many others. Randy was also one of the stars of the last original CTI production, “CTI Jazz All-Star Band – Montreux Jazz Festival 2009.”[9]

Grammy History

Randy’s list of nominations and wins are second to none[10] It includes 7-wins, and 20-nominations. Randy’s first win came not before time or nominations, in 1994 for the GRP Brecker Brothers album “Out Of The Loop” as “Best Contemporary Jazz Performance“. A second win came in 1997 for his solo album “Into The Sun”; 1998 for “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” with “My Funny Valentine”; 2003 for “Best Contemporary Jazz Album“; 2006 and 2013 for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album“; 2008 for “Best Contemporary Jazz Album“; 2019 for “Best Improvised Jazz Solo“.

Good luck!

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