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Wilson, Metheney, Yellowjackets Among Jazz Grammy Nominees

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards take place on Sunday February 8 in Los Angeles, California. Here is a preview of this year's nominees in jazz.

When The Yellowjackets debuted in 1981, their jazz-rock sound revolved around its founder, guitarist Robben Ford. But, with Ford's eventual departure and the addition of saxophonist Bob Mintzer to fill the void, the band made a successful transition into world beat and acoustic jazz.

The Yellowjackets are one of six nominees for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, Lifecycle, featuring guitar virtuoso Mike Stern. It is the first appearance by a guitarist on a Yellowjackets album in 15 years.

Also nominated in this category are trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarist John McLaughlin, and producers Bob Belden, Gregg Field and Tom Scott.

The last time Cassandra Wilson won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album was in 1997, for New Moon Daughter. This year, the Mississippi native is a favorite in the same category for her tribute to the Great American Songbook, Loverly.

Cassandra Wilson will compete with four first-time vocal nominees: Karrin Allyson, Stacey Kent, Kate McGarry, and Norma Winstone.

Guitarist Pat Metheny is no stranger to the Grammy Awards, having won 18 trophies over the past three decades. Metheny is nominated in the Best Jazz Instrumental Solo category for "Son Of Thirteen" from his album Day Trip.

Competing with Pat Metheny for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo are trumpeters Terence Blanchard and Till Bronner, saxophonist James Moody, and the all-star duet Gary Burton and Chick Corea.

Metheny, along with band members Christian McBride and Antonio Sanchez, meet Burton and Corea again for Best Jazz Instrumental Album by an Individual or Group. Guitarist Bill Frisell, The Brad Meldau Trio, and Alan Pasqua, Dave Carpenter and the Peter Erskine Trio are also nominated.

Pianist, composer and big band leader Gordon Goodwin is a Grammy nominee for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. His group, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, earned the honor for their album, Act Your Age.

There are four other nominees in this category, including Carla Bley and Her Remarkable Big Band, Joe Lovano with the WDR Big Band and Rundfunk Orchestra, composer and arranger Vince Mendoza, and The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

For Best Latin Jazz Album the nominees are Conrad Herwig and The Latin Side Band, Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, flutist Nestor Torres, Papo Vazquez and the Mighty Pirates, and The Caribbean Jazz Orchestra featuring vibraphonist Dave Samuels for their recording Afro Bop Alliance.

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards will be announced on February 8 in Los Angeles, California.