(The Recording Academy asked some of this year's first-time GRAMMY nominees to collect their thoughts and share what it feels like to be nominated for a GRAMMY.)
I must have been in the middle of playing a loud trombone solo at a Saturday night gig when the text came into my phone saying "GRAMMY-nominated!!!" from my pianist friend, Dave Cook. I saw the message on the ensuing set break and wrote back, "WTF?! … That's unexpected!" I had to go to GRAMMY.com to check it out myself. I think I refreshed the page three times until I started believing I was actually nominated.
This is my fifth record as a leader and it was recorded with a 17-piece big band over two six-hour sessions. Most of the takes that were used on the album were first takes, which is a testament to the amazing chemistry the band had over those two days in the studio. Leading a large ensemble recording usually comes riddled with multiple levels of anxiety during the recording process, but the band members, the studio (Systems Two in Brooklyn), the engineers, and my wife's well-curated lunch spread made it one of the most pleasant, fulfilling and memorable record dates I've ever lead. The recording engineer, Joe Marciano, continuously told me throughout the session that this was going to be a special record. I'm glad that he and I aren't the only ones who feel this way about the music. I'm grateful for this nomination and it reinforces my belief that if you take care of the music, it will take care of you.
(Alan Ferber is nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for March Sublime. The album features eight tracks, including five that were penned by Ferber and a cover of Björk's "Hyper-Ballad.")
Come back to GRAMMY.com on Jan. 13 as we hear from first-time GRAMMY nominee Cécile McLorin Salvant. Tune in to the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 26 from 8–11:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Meanwhile, visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates and breaking GRAMMY news.