The hour was full of the reading of the nominations, a lot of good music, and there were a few surprises.
Those startling surprises included a snub of Justin Bieber, too few nominations for female artists, and the revelation that Taylor Swift can be a funny girl.
Not only does Bieber have a huge following – he sells millions of records – but the kid writes or co-writes most of his songs. He also plays multiple instruments and can actually sing. I can honestly say that I think the maturing Bieb should have gotten a nomination this year, and keep in mind that I'm an old fart.
The shortage of female nominees also was a shock – glaringly so. As Tina Fey's wonderful character, Liz Lemon, would say: What the what? Women could take heart, however, in the hosting performance by Swift, who clicked with LL Cool J and made me laugh. OK, that's no consolation, but I'm trying to make y'all feel better despite the egregious oversight by the powers that be.
Ironically, on the very same day, we all lost jazz great Dave Brubeck. I love Dave Brubeck's music. I own half a dozen albums by The Dave Brubeck Quartet and a solo album by Paul Desmond, the quartet's alto sax man. Another irony: Dave, who was 91, was on his way to an appointment with his cardiologist, when he died Wednesday.
I saw The Dave Brubeck Quartet play in concert at the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis many years ago. I was still in high school and attended with classmate and fellow jazz fan Wes Knipe. If we were not Brubeck disciples before that performance, we were after. I've never witnessed a drummer with the skills of Joe Morello, who during that concert played the greatest drum solo I've ever seen or heard; I was swept up and away on the melodious notes that came from Desmond's saxophone; Eugene Wright held the tunes together with the sweet strings of his bass; and Brubeck played that piano to perfection.
Dave served in the U.S. Army in World War II, mostly as a musician, which was an important assignment during the war. Entertainment could be almost as vital to troop morale as were beans, bullets and bandages. And the Army was where he met Desmond, in 1943. We were lucky for that meeting, weren't we?
Dave Brubeck was more than a jazz great. He was an honorable military veteran, a Civil Rights champion, an ambassador for America, and one of the greatest artists in American history. Fortunately, for us, his music will live on forever.