Request NARAS to reinstate the Latin Jazz category at the Grammy’s
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by knee-jerk backlash reactions against Latinos and Latino culture in the United States. This is an insult and disaster to the artistic field of Latin Jazz and its international legions of artists, fans, and supporters. It is also totally unacceptable. I’ve been a NARAS member for 25 years, and nominated five times since 2003 in various categories including Latin Jazz (now eliminated), and Traditional World (now eliminated). Some of the cuts make sense to me, such as the gender categories, but the majority of the cuts are counter intuitive and counter productive, and the decisions to illegitimize Latin Jazz and relegate World Music to one category are especially ill-advised. Who made these decisions? How does this serve the field?
Latin Jazz is a legitimate American art form that has parallel history with jazz as well as the distinction of being totally exploited commercially on TV and in film for over half a century, while simultaneously being marginalized by the mainstream money makers. While our country is in an unprecedented state of Latino demographics and multi-culturalism, NARAS and the GRAMMYS are moving backwards and embracing the anti-immigrant sentiment that is being promoted by certain sectors. Is it a coincidence that the field of Latin Jazz is dominated by independent labels that do not represent big money? Does NARAS represent diversity and the art or is it also for sale to the highest bidder like healthcare, education, housing, food and everything else in the United States?
It is nothing less than highly insulting to have out-of-touch individuals suddenly decide that Latin Jazz is no longer a legitimate art form when the creativity and activity in the field are at an all-time high. Great
US-based pioneering artists such as Mario Bauza, Charlie Palmieri, Dizzy Gillespie, Machito and Tito Puente forged this style of music that is now enjoyed and acknowledged internationally. Yet someone at NARAS thinks it is a good idea to have the Latin Jazz artists competing against the straight ahead and mainstream jazz artists which of course means that there would never again be a Latin Jazz artist recognized with a GRAMMY. I’m sure that would make a handful of folks happy, but it is grossly unjust, immoral and ignorant of the history and significance of the art form. Please help us get the word out about this absurdity and let NARAS know your feelings whether or not you are a member.
John Santos, producer, composer, bandleader, percussionist, educator, Oakland, CA, www.johnsantos.com
You can submit your petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/latinjazzatthegrammys/