Annal: 2003 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album

Results of the Grammy Award in the year 2003.

Album:Mambo Sinuendo

Mambo Sinuendo

Ry Cooder, Manuel Galbán

If there’s a certain instant familiarity to this collaborative celebration between U.S. guitar icon/musicologist Ry Cooder and Cuban fret legend Manuel Galbán, it’s only testimony to how deeply the island nation’s rich musical heritage permeated American pop music in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and beyond. Cooder and Galbán (a key compatriot in the American guitarist’s Buena Vista Social Club project) invent a back-to-the-future sound—twin guitars fronting a Cuban rhythm section of two drum kits, congas, and bass—whose dreamy swing quotient is matched only by its…

Album:N.E.W.S

N.E.W.S

Prince

Recorded in a single day at Paisley Park, Prince has confounded audiences yet again by recording a progressive jazz album with only four cuts—each named for a point on a compass—and clocking in at 14:00 minutes. If that wasn’t enough, there isn’t a single lyric on the almost hour-long disc. Like many before him, the musical savant has decided to let the music do the talking. But in Prince’s case it does so, brilliantly. He has fashioned a musical lattice of fascinating conversations that are both compelling and eccentric—veering from the anxious and menacing to…

Album:Night Divides the Day

Night Divides the Day: The Music of the Doors

George Winston

George Winston cites the Doors as a seminal influence on his music in the liner notes for the 20th anniversary edition of Autumn. Winston is a voracious musical explorer, and the Doors are among several musical tributes Winston has rolling around in his head. He’s already paid homage to pianist Vince Guaraldi with Linus and Lucy. Winston’s take on the acid-rock shamans is sometimes magical, sometimes regretful. It’s no secret that George isn’t a great technician, and you can hear the flaws whenever he remains true to the melody, especially…

Album:Peace

Peace

Jim Brickman

Peace, Jim Brickman’s second collection of holiday-themed music, is largely a mirror image of his first (The Gift, released in 1997). Both feature a mix of solo piano works, augmented piano selections (involving oboe, strings, synthesizers, a pop-jazz ensemble, or some combination thereof) and glossy, radio-ready pop vocal productions. To some ears, the polished sheen of the vocal tracks (four are included) may infringe on the more contemplative mood of Brickman’s instrumental tracks, the way a city’s after-dark glow can seep into your view of a…

Album:Wishes

Wishes: A Holiday Album

Kenny G

Kenny G’s 1999 Faith album was an unexpected triumph of content and creativity. The album was largely driven by the long “Millennium Mix” buried at the end of the CD—an inspired soundbyte tour of the last century’s historical triumphs and tragedies, with the alto sax man playing “Auld Lang Syne” underneath, it’s emotionally moving and timely. The Kenny G of Wishes lacks the vision he displayed with Faith. Among the 10 tracks, two secular medleys (“Frosty the Snowman”/”Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Deck the Halls”/”The Twelve Days of…

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