By John Altman
I’m really disappointed. My new CD – “The Jazz Soul Of Paris Hilton” — has not been nominated for a Grammy. The follow up to my brilliant CD “Britney Spears – The Jazz Years.” it has garnered rave reviews in the Jazz Press and received NOT ONE vote in this year’s Grammy build-up. I worked closely with Paris, herself, assembling an all star-aggregation of jazz talent to interpret the Abdullah Ibrahim/Boney James-inspired compositions composed by the reality TV star and all around credit to society.
I’m especially proud of “I Come From Barack Obama with a Banjo On My Knee” for its understanding of social issues that concern the talented Ms Hilton. Accompanied by all-star players, it is reminiscent of Max Roach’s “Freedom Suite.” Paris, along with guest rappers Jay Z, Jazzy B and fiery jazz virtuoso sax man, Kenny G, delivers an astonishing piece of jazz social commentary. Backing her is an incredible, handpicked line up of jazz artists, including Herbie Hancock on clavinet, Woody Allen on clarinet and Wynton Marsalis on the internet. With possibly one of the best rhythm sections ever assembled in the history of jazz recording – George Segal on banjo, bass virtuoso Charlie Haden on second banjo, Marcus Miller showing his versatility on solo banjo, and Diana Krall and Elvis Costello sharing drumming duties – showing why jazz is still a living art form appreciated by millions all over the world.
Other guest appearances include Cuthbert Marsalis, the least known member of the jazz dynasty, probably because he is an English aristocrat who does not play any musical instruments and did not invent jazz in 1980. Also present: the legendary godfather of Smooth Jazz and easy listening — Cecil Taylor. Michael Buble croons the all time favorite, “I Never Heard of Mel Torme,” and James Carter plays “Salt Peanuts.” Oops, that should read Jimmy Carter, reprising the famous White House duet with Dizzy Gillespie that defined his jazz credentials.
Some of the critical raves:
– “I laughed till I cried” – Don Heckman, LA Times
– “What a load of rubbish” – Nat Hentoff
– “Is this man serious?” – Brick Wahl, LA Weekly
– “Brilliant!!!” – Stanley Crouch, NY Times
– “My personal iPod favourite” – George W. Bush
Please vote for me in category 10,996 of this year’s Grammys – “Best Jazz and Hip Hop album by a Country Smooth Jazz Crossover Artist Not in the English Language”
I promise not to write again until the Emmys are upon us, when I will be soliciting votes for my two reality shows – “News Reading With The Stars,” in which professional ballroom dancers learn to play pro football and read the news, and “America’s Idle,” in which no one has a job any more due to the bizarre global economic policies of the last 8 years.
John Altman is a musician (alto saxophone), award-winning film and television composer, writer and all-around raconteur, who decided that it was time for a commentary on the expanding list of Grammy categories. He will be performing with his quartet at Spazio in Sherman Oaks on Friday November 7. (818) 728-8400.