Latin Jazz Musicians File Class Action Against Grammy Awards

Four Latin jazz musicians are suing organizers of the Grammy Awards for eliminating the genre as an award category.

By Jorge Rivas Aug 04, 2011

Four Latin jazz musicians have filed a class-action suit against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for eliminating the Best Latin Jazz Album. The lawsuit accuses the organizers of the Grammy Awards of "devaluing" Latin jazz by eliminating the category from its annual awards ceremony.

Earlier this year the recording Academy announced its decision to consolidate Grammy Awards categories from 109 to 78, leaving more artists competing for fewer awards. Of those, seven Latin categories were cut to four, citing duplicate categories in the Latin Grammy Awards ceremony and the English-language awards.

"They shouldn’t have done this," said Roger Maldonado, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, who include Grammy-nominated Latin jazz musician Bobby Sanabria; pianist and composer Grammy nominee Mark Levine; guitarist Ben Lapidus and jazz composer Eugene Marlow.

"Not only does it devalue the category of music and the work these musicians do," Maldonado told the Associated Press, "It makes it much harder for them to gain recognition."

In a statement, the academy said it "believes this frivolous lawsuit is without merit, and we fully expect to prevail."