First of all, kudos to Wayne Shorter for winning in the Jazz Artist, Jazz Album, Jazz Group, and Soprano Sax categories.This was definitely the year of Wayne Shorter. I was also happy to see that I got a nice placement in the Soprano Saxophone category. The number four spot is not a bad place to be, especially when the top three spots are occupied by Wayne Shorter, Dave Liebman, and Branford Marsalis. This is especially exciting for me, since I didn't even place in the Soprano Sax category until three years ago. And of course, I was way at the bottom. But hey, I was happy just to be recognized. I played the soprano exclusively for almost five years before critics stop speaking of me as a tenor player who plays the soprano. I imagine at this point, they've realized that I'm never coming back--at least no time soon.
But I would like to thank all of the critics who voted for me. And I'd especially like to give a shout out to all the devotees of the straight-horn who are helping to give the soprano its long overdue presence as a primary instrument and not some secondary horn played by tenor and alto saxophonists on waltzes and straight-eighth ballads.
And I'm purposefully not mentioning the Rising Star category. I think it has become somewhat of a joke over the years. At times, I feel it's treated as a throwaway category. It doesn't seem like much thought goes into who they vote for. But hopefully, if we have enough soprano players putting out recordings and having a real presence, critics will start to vote more responsibly.
On a more positive note, I'll be featuring the music of some of the aforementioned soprano players in the upcoming weeks. So please keep a look out for that.
In the meantime, keep recording, keep performing, and keep the straighthorn-bell displayed high and proud!