Grammy Season Begins…

I’m sending you a sunny California hello today. The smoke in SoCal has receded – thankfully – and we have B L U E skies again. Although it’s hot, there is a touch of fall with the shorter days now.

Fall is the time when everyone in the music biz gets excited about the Grammy Awards. The preliminary voting for nominees started Sept 30, so it’s exciting to find out who is on this early ballot. What most people don’t realize is that getting nominated is actually harder than winning! In most categories a musician or engineer has about 2% to 10% chance of being nominated.

If you get nominated – this year they will be announced November 20 – then your odds get better and you have a 20% chance to win. So you can see how it’s exciting, but always a long shot for everyone and certainly an achievement for those that win.

This year our album is on the preliminary ballot in these categories:

Chalkboard Destiny: Best Jazz Instrumental Album 

Chalkboard Destiny: Best Engineered Album/non classical – Engineers: Fernando Lodeiro/tracking,

Al Schmitt & Chandler Harrod/mix, Gavin Lurssen & Reuben Cohen/mastering

Best composition: Rush Hour Rhapsody  (Lisa Hilton)

Best Jazz Solo: JD Allen – Sympathy for Blues

Of course, even with long odds it’s fun to fantasize about, right? My favorite part of the recording session was the truly volcanic jazz solo from JD Allen on Sympathy for Blues about 3 minutes in on that tune. I really love it and can listen to it over and over.  JD is one of the top improvisors of our time – a great tenor sax player originally from Detroit, and we have worked/toured together about 10 years now, (he calls me “sis”).  I really hope he gets this award because he deserves it!

Our engineers are all my favorites so I hope that they will be considered too – I have been working with most of them over 15 years. Very coincidentally the concept of our 2020 album, Chalkboard Destiny was that our lives can be changed in an instant; little did I realize how accurate that would become this year with our lives being radically altered by a corona virus just about a month after our release date! So it would be exceptionally cool to win an award under these circumstances I think. (One reviewer even said it was perfect music for “quarantine”).

These days when my work is up for an award or competition I think of it as important to women and girls everywhere. Votes for women as composers, producers, bandleaders are really votes for your daughter, your granddaughter, your niece or neighbor. Women in jazz continue to have many challenges, but we are determined to make it easier for the next generation.

Please wish us a bit of L U C K and wishing you sunny B L U E skies too!

– Lisa

image collage of list hilton performing her album chalkboard destiny with her band