Gerald Albright, Chris Botti, Anita Baker, Larry Carlton, Fourplay, Enya, Diana Krall and others also recognized. The 49th annual Grammy Awards will be held Feb. 11 in Los Angeles.
The superstar duo of George Benson and Al Jarreau will have a chance to add some Grammys to their collections as three songs from their CD Givin’ It Up were selected during announcements for the 49th annual Grammy Awards. “Mornin’,” currently the No. 1 smooth jazz song in the country, was nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Performance; “Breezin’” for Best R&B Performance By a Duo Or Group With Vocals; and “God Bless the Child,” which features vocalist Jill Scott, for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.
"We figured this way of intermingling current-day, contemporary Al and George into these classic pieces of Al Jarreau and George Benson's that people just recognize in a different form," says Jarreau. "But still there we are, and the arrangements are fresh. I dare you to not like it!"
Saxophonist Gerald Albright is nominated for his album New Beginnings in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category. He had more than 20 e-mails of congratulations when he logged onto his laptop after the Grammys were announced. "We went with a lot of the mainstays that I normally use on my previous projects," Albright says. "Like with Paul Jackson on guitar, Patrice Rushen, Jeff Lorber, Teddy Campbell on drums, Tony Moore on drums. We have Melvin Davis on bass and I play bass on a lot of the tracks as well. I have the ‘A’ team on this project. They really put their heart and soul into every note that was played and executed."
Also nominated in that category is Spryo Gyra for Wrapped in a Dream; Larry Carlton for Fire Wire; and Fourplay for Fourplay X.
Carlton knows why the new Fourplay CD is strong. "We think we delivered wonderful product in the past and it all came together," he said, "but we had some discussions months before going in the studio and we all came to the agreement that maybe this time we’ll all be more diligent about having our songs prepared and fairly well arranged. So we don’t spend too much time in the studio just kind of looking for the arrangement. And it made the process obviously go much quicker and much easier."
Vocalist Enya earned Best New Age Album and Best Pop Instrumental Performance nominations for her album Amarantine,” while Diana Krall was recognized for Best Jazz Vocal Album for From This Moment On. “Good Morning Heartache,” a song from Chris Botti’s To Love Again CD featuring vocals by Jill Scott, picked up a Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist nomination for Gil Goldstein and Greg Phillinganes.
Brenda Russell, who co-composed the music to the Broadway musical The Color Purple, was nominated for Best Musical Show Album. Two veteran artists were nominated for songs that are currently on the smooth jazz charts; Natalie Cole as a Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “
British singer Corrine Bailey Rae, who this had a smooth jazz hit with “Put Your Records On,” saw that song nominated in two categories: Record of the Year and Song of the Year. She also picked up a nomination for Best New Artist.
Finally, Anita Baker will be competing against Benson and Jarreau in the Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance category for her song “Christmas Time Is Here” from her holiday CD Christmas Fantasy.
The 49th annual Grammy Awards will be held Feb. 11 in Los Angeles.