there is always a lot of fuss about this award ceremony. folks host oscar parties, place wagers on the outcome of certain categories, and even host live web chats. i rarely have seen any of the films that are nominated and recognize even fewer of the nominees. i am not smitten with the pageantry and rented jewelry that bedazzles this event. am i missing something? i was perplexed about this last night and began to wonder why we don't have a jazz equivalent (we don't, right?).
the red carpet ... would assorted media actually show up to this pre-game ceremony, or would the runway be bookended by a smattering of jazz enthusiasts that want the musicians to sign their burnt cds? iPhone snaps would replace thousand-dollar camera lenses. questions about "who are you wearing this evening" would be met with the awkward craning of the neck while pulling the back of the shirt out so you can read the tag. the fashion leaders would probably be american apparel, levi strauss, adidas, and my dad's old cardigans.
the categories ... the old standbys like "best tribute album", "best jazz vocalist", and "best live performance" would rub shoulders with "most right notes in a row", "best comping behind a bass solo", "most clever cover of a pop tune", and "best use of alliteration in a song title".
the venue ... would this shindig take place in an old warehouse? a relic high school gymnasium? would they attempt to jam everybody into the vanguard and stick them with that two drink minimum? would tea lights and origami centerpieces replace the crystal drink ware and linen tablecloths? is there a way we can get free food at this thing?
the presenters ... are fellow musicians good options for passing out the hardware, or would a jilted jazzer be prone to pull a kanye west move? should we hear from critics like nat hentoff and nate chinen, and dare we trust stanley crouch with a live microphone? and who hosts this thing anyway? it's gotta be somebody famous who actually gives a shit about this music, so that certainly narrows down the field. i guess we're looking at clint eastwood, but i'm not sure anybody is ready to risk it with him nowadays.
and the speeches ... i can just imagine. "thank you for transposing that part for me", "thanks to that one guy who forgave my bar tab", "shout out to those college kids that worked the merch table", "a special thanks to the guy with the extra extension cord", and "i couldn't have done it without the folks over at google maps". i'm pretty sure that this whole event could be wrapped up in under an hour, providing nobody goes off on a philosophical rant.
and one thing is for certain - there is NO way the orchestra would be in a different building. we don't go out like that.