by MARK GUARINO | Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago will play a big role in the 56th Grammy Awards in late January. Many of the marquee notables with links to the city were nominated Friday.
Kanye Westreceived a best rap album nod for “Yeezus,” which pits him against Drake, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. “New Slaves,” the album’s first single, was nominated for best rap song.
Jeff Tweedyof Wilco received the unusual nomination of producer of the year, reflecting his recent detour behind the studio glass. The nomination is for three albums he released this past year: “The Invisible Way” by Minnesota trio Low, “One True Vine” by Mavis Staples, and “Wassaic Way” by folk pop duo Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion. Tweedy’s competition is hip-hop producers Dr. Luke and Pharrell William, EDM producer Ariel Rechtshaid and rock and pop producer Rob Cavallo.
Speaking of Staples, the soul-gospel legend, also a Hyde Park resident, is nominated for “One True Vine” in the best Americana album category, where she faces competition from three duos: Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, and Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale.
Dance DJ and producer Ryan Raddon, also known as Kaskade, received two nominations for best dance recording and best dance/electronica album for “Atmosphere,” his latest album.
An album honoring the late Chess Records harmonica great Little Walter is nominated for best blues album. “Remembering Little Walter” features Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia and James Harman. Chicago’s Alligator Records received a nomination in this same category for “Cotton Mouth Man” by living Chicago harmonica legend James Cotton.
Songwriter and local indie rocker Justin Roberts is also Grammy nominated this year for a best children’s album award. The North Side resident’s recent album “Recess” was released in July and is his second Grammy nomination in this category.
In the best album notes category, long-time Chicago jazz writer and critic Neil Tesser is nominated for his work on “Afro Blue Impressions,” a remastered and expanded album of John Coltrane recordings from 1963.
Finally, comedian and Oak Park native Kathy Griffin is nominated for best comedy album for “Calm Down Gurrl.”
The Grammy awards take place Jan. 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live on CBS.