Friday, June 8, 2012


A year after the Grammy Awards dropped 31 categories (from 109 to 78), sparking protests and a lawsuit by Latin jazz musicians, the music organization has switched things up again by adding three awards, including the reinstatement of best Latin jazz album.

The Recording Academy announced Friday in a statement to The Associated Press that the upcoming Grammys will feature 81 categories.

New entries include awards for best urban contemporary album — to honor R&B albums that may include elements of pop and rock.

Other changes include splitting up the best Latin pop, rock or urban album honor into two awards, now known as best Latin pop album and best Latin rock, urban, or alternative album. However, the best Banda or Norteno album and best regional Mexican or Tejan album have been combined into one award: best regional Mexican music album.

The new decisions were made at the Academy’s annual Board of Trustees meeting last month.

The Academy shook up the music industry when it announced in April 2011 that it would downsize its categories to make the awards more competitive. That meant eliminating categories by sex, so men and women compete in the same vocal categories. But it also eliminated other niche fields and created broader ones.

Some artists protested the change and others — including Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon, and Bill Cosby — complained. The group that filed a lawsuit, which was dismissed in April, was led by Bobby Sanabria, the Grammy-nominated Latin jazz musician who accused the Academy of not following the proper procedures to implement the changes. Part of the class-action lawsuit called for the reinstatement of the best Latin jazz album award.

That award was consolidated, making Latin jazz musicians compete against a larger group of artists in the best jazz instrumental category at the 54th Grammys, which were held in February.

The 55th Grammy Awards will air on CBS on Feb. 10.

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