Hancock 'shocked' at album nom


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Many artists interviewed after this morning's 2008 Grammy Awards announcement in Hollywood noted a diversity among the list of nominees. A clear example of this may have been the album of the year nomination for jazz veteran Herbie Hancock's "River: "The Joni Letter."

Probably the most surprised was Hancock himself. "Album of the year for jazz record?" he told Billboard.biz "I was shocked. But Jazz is out there. It's alive and manifests itself in a lot of different ways; its influence on other genres of music still continues."

Asked about the inspiration for the album, Hancock said someone at his label, Verve, suggested he should consider doing the music of Joni Mitchell.

"I thought it was a fabulous idea," he said. "Joni is a friend of mine for many years. It was an honor to do my own rendering of her music but also a real challenge because this was the first time I decided to have the words be the engine that drives the music instead of the other way around."

Additional nominees for the album of the year honor are Amy Winehouse ("Back to Black"), Foo Fighters ("Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace"), Kanye West ("Graduation") and Vince Gill ("These Days").

The 50th Grammy Awards will be held February 10 in Los Angeles' Staples Center.