Grammys restore Latin Jazz award, add two other categories


Last year, the Recording Academy - the music industry organization that gives out the Grammy Awards - caused a kerfuffle when it shrunk the number of categories from 109 to 78.

The move was part of an effort to make individual awards mean something more, and the Grammys more credible, an uphill battle that the Recording Academy can never seem to get right. Here's a story I wrote abut the dust-up from the April 2011 Inquirer.

The biggest uproar among protesting representatives of various musical genres came from the Latin Jazz community. As the Associated Press reported, Bobby Sanabria, a Grammy-nominated Latin jazz artist, led a class action lawsuit (which was dismissed in April), accusing the Academy of not following the proper procedures to implement the changes, and calling for the reinstatement of the best Latin jazz album award, the removal of which nine time winner Eddie Palmieri told the Village Voice last year, "hurts so much. I can feel it in my heart. It's like a Grammy scar." (That's Palmieri pictured, with a stogie.)

Let the healing begin. On Friday, the Recording Academy announced that the Latin Jazz category wil be restored in 2013. It also announced that categories will be added for best uban contemporary album and best classical compendium, whatever that means.

In announcing the restoration of the Latin Jazz category, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow sounded like a man who didn't like being told what to do.

"Every year we want to look at these objectively and make a good musical decision and not be influenced by politics and pressure," Neil Portnow told the AP. "I will say it's incredibly unfortunate that a very small group chose to voice their discontent with a lawsuit that had no basis... Not only is it distracting from a time standpoint, but it costs a great deal of money to have to defend something that we knew was completely defensible."

Roger Madonado, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Sanbria, sounded considerably happier and gracious in victory. "I want to thank the Academy for having the maturity to make the decision despite a yearlong fight," he said.

Previously: Matthew Sweet at World Cafe Live Follow In The Mix on Twitter here