The Recording Academy has added three new categories to the Grammy Awards, including one for Best Alternative Jazz Album.
The other new categories added to the annual list of nominations beginning with the 66th Grammy Awards in 2024 are Best African Music Performance and Best Pop Dance Recording.
The Grammys define “alternative jazz” as “a genre-blending, envelope-pushing hybrid” that mixes jazz with other genres, including R&B, hip hop, classical, contemporary improvisation, experimental, pop, rap, electronic/dance music, and/or spoken word. It may also include the contemporary production techniques and instrumentation associated with these types of other genres.
The category of Best African Music Performance recognizes tracks or singles that “utilize unique local expressions from across the African continent.” Highlighting regional melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical traditions, the category includes but is not limited to the genres of Afrobeat, Afro-fusion, Afro-pop, Alte, Amapiano, Bongo Flava, Genge, Kizomba, Chimurenga, High Life, Fuji, Kwassa, Ndombolo, Mapouka, Ghanaian drill, Afro-house, South African hip hop, and Ethio-jazz.
Best Pop Dance Recording recognizes tracks and singles that feature “up-tempo, danceable music that follows a pop arrangement.” Eligible recordings also feature strong rhythmic beats and significant electronic-based instruments with an emphasis on the vocal performance, melody and hooks. Dance remixes are not included; those are only eligible in the Best Remixed Recording Category.
The Grammys also made an additional change, as the existing categories of Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, and Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical, will be moved to the general field instead of being slotted as genre-specific categories. This change will allow all Grammy voters to make their picks for those categories.
The category additions and amendments were voted on and passed at the Recording Academy’s most recent semiannual Board of Trustees meeting held in May.
“The Recording Academy is proud to announce these latest category changes to our awards process,” said CEO Harvey Mason Jr. “These changes reflect our commitment to actively listen and respond to the feedback from our music community, accurately represent a diverse range of relevant musical genres, and stay aligned with the ever-evolving musical landscape.”
He added: “By introducing these three new categories, we are able to acknowledge and appreciate a broader array of artists — and relocating the Producer of the Year and Songwriter of the Year categories to the general field ensures that all our voters can participate in recognizing excellence in these fields. We are excited to honour and celebrate the creators and recordings in these categories, while also exposing a wider range of music to fans worldwide.”