Saturday, April 18, 2015

Adele, Kanye West, Bruno Mars and Bon Iver Lead Grammy Nominees

The Grammy nominations were announced on Wednesday night, with British singer Adele, producer and pop singer Bruno Mars and Eau Claire, Wisconsin indie band Bon Iver - the surprise choice - each pulling in nominations in three of the four major categories that were revealed in a live telecast on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Adele, Kanye West, Bruno Mars and Bon Iver Lead Grammy Nominees

The Grammy nominations were announced on Wednesday night, with British singer Adele, producer and pop singer Bruno Mars and Eau Claire, Wisconsin indie band Bon Iver - the surprise choice - each pulling in nominations in three of the four major categories revealed in a live telecast on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Adele - whose last name is Adkins - is up for a total of six Grammys, all stemming from her commercial blockbuster of a sophomore release, 21.

But though he received only one in the major categories - a song of the year nod for "All Of The Lights" from last year's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West was the night's top nomination getter with seven, with most coming for Watch The Throne, his collaborative album with Jay-Z.

The number of Grammy categories was reduced this year from 109 to 78 in an effort to keep the golden gramophones from being devaiued. But there were plenty of nominations to go around. Along with Adele, Mars and Dave Grohl's well-respected rock band, the Foo Fighters, each got a half a dozen.  Brit art-rock band Radiohead came away with five nominations for their album The King Of Limbs and song "Lotus Flower," and rapper Lil Wayne and electronic dance artist Skrillex also got five. Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Cheltenham-born jazz man Randy Brecker nabbed four each.

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Lady Gaga kicked off the show with a goth-girl production of her overblown single "Marry The Night" that appeared to have been directed by Tim Burton. A moment later, she was snubbed when the Record of the Year nominees were announced. She was left off a list that included Adele's "Rolling In The Deep," Mumford & Sons "The Cave," Bruno Mars' "Grenade," Katy Perry's "Firework" and "Holocene" by Bon Iver, whose name was mispronounced by announcer Minaj.

The bad news for Gaga continued in the Song of the Year category, a songwriter's award. The nominee list was identical, with the exception of West's "All Of The Lights," from last year's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, thankfully pushing Perry's blaring "Firework" off the list.

Bon Iver, the band led by falsetto voiced sensitive man Justin Vernon (pictured) whose debut, For Emma, Forever Ago dates to 2008, was also nominated in the best new artist category, along with R & B singer and rapper J Cole, rapper Minaj, country family act The Band Perry and Skrillex, who's also known as Sonny Moore.  

Gaga, who also closed the show with a duet of her piano power ballad "You and I" with Jennifer Nettles of the country-pop band Sugarland, finally got to hear her name called in the marquee album of the year category. Born This Way is going up against an uninspired lineup that includes the Foo's Wasted Light, Mars' Doo-Wop & Hooligans, Adele's Rolling in the Deep and Rihanna's Loud.

Jazz man Brecker, whose saxophone playing brother Michael, who died in 2007, was also a Grammy favorite, snared nominations for best improvised jazz solo for "All Or Nothing At All," from The Jazz Ballad Song Book. that album, credited to Randy Brecker with DR Big Band, was also nominated fro Best Large Jazz Ensemble album.Philadelphia born bassist Christian McBride also got a nomination in that category, for "The Good Feeling," from Christian McBride Big Band.

The Jazz Ballad Song Book was cited two more times: Its track "Talk To the Trees" is up for instrumental composition, and "All Or Nothing At All" is contesting for best Instrumental  Arrangement.

Philadelphia hip-hop band The Roots are up for an award in the Best Traditional R & B category for "Surrender," their hook-up with old school soul singer Betty Wright on the album Betty Wright: The Movie. British born, Philadelphia-based songwriter Marsha Ambrosius is nominated for both best R & B song and best R & B performance for "Far Away" from her album Late Nights & Early Mornings.

The collapsing of multiple categories into one such as the new Best Folk Album grouping, which used to be split into "Traditional" and "Contemporary" subsets, this year squeezed lesser known folkies out. The highly competitive category pits indie rockers Fleet Foxes against Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, and the country-leaning trio of Steve Earle, the Civil Wars and Gillian Welch.

Lady Gaga, who got a total of three nominations, wasn't the only onne who did less well that expected. No-longer-teen queen Taylor Swift is up for only three awards for her mega-selling Speak Now album, and 85 year old Tony Bennett, expected to be a sentimental album of the year favoirite for his Duets II was left out of that competition.

The 54th annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held at the Staples Center on Feb. 12.

Previously: Tinariwen on Colbert Follow in the Mix on Twitter here

Inquirer Music Critic
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