The 13th Latin Grammy Awards were held in Las Vegas last week, and armed with a couple of nominations I joined in to witness the spectacle. And spectacle is the word! First, let me congratulate the Academy for another successful event, the scope and management of which boggles my mind. There were two big concert events, the main awards show telecast, and the Person of the Year event honoring Brazillian composer/artist Caetano Velsoso. The FOH mix at both concerts was great (not easy with so many different performers) and every artist delivered a great performance, indicative of good monitor mixes as well. Most everything ran like clockwork and the dancers, appearances by members of both The Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil, indoor fireworks and visuals were all really great. Pitbull, David Bisbal, Jesse y Joy, Joan Sebastian, Nelly Furtado, Natalie Cole, and Lila Downs… some truly great performances each night.
I attended mostly to re-connect with friends (like fellow nominees Dan Warner and Lee Levin), but had the pleasure of making many new ones as well. I was seated at the Person of The Year Dinner with a rock band from Venezuela, Viniloversus (think Muse in spanish), and had a great time talking with the singer/guitarist Rodrigo Gonsalves (whose english, thankfully, is MUCH better then my spanish.) I also enjoyed getting to know Mastering Engineer Paul Blakemore from Concord Music Group, who won a Best Engineer Grammy for his work on Arturo Sandoval’s “Dear Diz” album. And seated next to me at the Awards show was Best Engineer nominee Daniel Musy from Rio de Janeiro, a super pleasant, and by all accounts talented guy. And I had a chance to chat with yet another engineer, the excellent and quite personable Cesar Sogbe.
Between events, I got to know bassist Rodrigo Cardenas and keyboard players Doug Emery and Pete Wallace, with whom I share several album credits but hadn’t met in person. I also ran into my friends Rodolfo Castillo and Jaime Araque, with whom I’m working on the Oscar de Leon big band record (should start mixing in a couple of weeks!).
So, though no Grammy wins this time, wonderful music, the old friends, new friends and meeting so many great artists like Juanes, Amaury Gutiérrez, and Julietta Venegas… it was a great, and exhausting, time. And through it all, making this trip to Las Vegas (not my favorite place) an absolute pleasure, was my beautiful wife Amy, who bravely sat through 3 hours of solid Spanish to accompany me.