It has been confirmed that the 2013 Grammy Awards will feature not less than 81 categories to be competing for. On Friday, June 8, the Recording Academy announced that it has added three categories, including the reinstatement of Best Latin Jazz Album award. The other two categories were Best Urban Contemporary and Best Classical Compendium.
In April 2011, Grammy reduced the number of its categories from 109 to 78, including axing the Best Latin Jazz award. It also eliminated categories which were based on sex, so that male and female musicians could compete in the same vocal categories. The decision was taken in order to make the awards more competitive. However, various musicians disagreed with it and protested the changes.
Such artists as Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon and Bill Cosby filed a lawsuit, which was later dismissed, accusing the Academy of not following the proper procedures to implement the changes. The group also suggested that the consolidation made Latin jazz musicians compete against a larger group of artists in the best jazz instrumental category.
Defending the accusation, Neil Portnow, the Recording Academy CEO said, "Every year we want to look at these objectively and make a good musical decision and not be influenced by politics and pressure." He added, "I will say it's incredibly unfortunate that a very small group chose to voice their discontent with a lawsuit that had no basis. Not only is it distracting from a time standpoint, but it costs a great deal of money to have to defend something that we knew was completely defensible."
The decision to add three more categories for next year's Grammy Awards was made during the Academy's annual Board of Trustees meeting last May. Following the Friday announcement, Roger Maldonado, one of the artists who filed the lawsuit against the Academy, said he was elated that the Latin jazz category was restored.
"I want to thank the academy for having the maturity to make the decision despite a yearlong fight," he stated. "We didn't sue for money, we sued for reinstatement of the award. That has happened I see no reason for continuing the lawsuit. Instead my clients can stop worrying about this and instead focus on preparing and recording music for consideration of the Latin jazz award."
The 55th Annual Grammy Awards will air on CBS on February 10, 2013.