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The Suspects perform at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Ball Room.

Artist: Tallis String Quartet
Time logged: Two years
Sound: Classical
Nominated for: Best Classical Performer/Ensemble

Etc.: This young group hasn't developed a particularly high profile yet; in fact, some who should know better insisted that they weren't even a Houston group. But they are, and they play a selection of romantic classical chamber works, and are also proud of their contemporary arrangements.

Artist: Taste of Garlic
Nominated for: Best Alternative/Non-Commercial; Best Rap/Hip-Hop
Sound of choice: George Clinton takes the metal train
Time logged: Four years

Etc.: Best Rap/Hip-Hop is a categorization more than a hair inappropriate for a quartet that can trace a majority of its gummed-up grooves back to '70s funk and can locate the source of its stadium-metal inclinations somewhere in the neighborhood of Led Zeppelin and Grand Funk Railroad. As for the never-ending saga of Mydixiewrecked, the band's ever forthcoming CD, there's still no definite release date.

Taste of Garlic performs at 7 p.m. Sunday at 8.0.

Artist: 30footFALL
Nominated for: Best Alternative/Non-Commercial; Best Drummer (Damon Delapaz); Release of the Year (Divided We Stand)

Sound of choice: Fast, funny and furious hard-core
Time logged: Three years
Etc.: "Boogers for Brains," "Tons O Guns," a ludicrous cover of Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself": need we say more?

30footFALL performs at 5 p.m. Sunday at 8.0.

Artist: TKoh!
Nominated for: Best Funk/R&B; Best Horn/Horn Section
Sound of choice: Funk and soul from the mouths of jazz players
Time logged: More than a year

Etc.: If there was ever an all-star horn band in Houston, it's TKoh! Inspired by the great Maceo Parker work Life on Planet Groove, this bulky, 13-member ensemble pulls out all the stops on-stage, right down to the sitting/standing moves employed by its horn brigade. And with local heavyweights such as David Caceres in on the action, the quality of the brass is virtually guaranteed.

TKoh! performs at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Rhino Room.

Artist: Toy Subs
Nominated for: Best Cover Band
Sound of choice: Other bands
Time logged: Six years

Etc.: Toy Subs plays cover songs with more competence than anyone's got a right to expect, but what singer Jamie Jahan, guitarist Alex Tittel, bassist Greg Mayfield and drummer John Simmons really want you to know about is Shed, the same lineup playing originals for the last two years, during which time the band (Shed) has released two CDs.

Toy Subs perform at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Rhino Room.

Artist: Ken Valentino
Nominated for: Best Folk/Acoustic
Sound of choice: Raw, confessional singer/ songwriter
Time logged: Two months solo

Etc.: This veteran local guitarist began working up a solo act based on his own songs after his last project, Twenty Mondays, disbanded. Although he initially viewed the change in direction as an exercise in strengthening his vocal skills, Valentino soon found the acoustic format more rewarding than his previous genres and is putting together an act that includes standup bass and drums.

Ken Valentino performs at 4 p.m. Sunday at Q Cafe.

Artist: Wazobia
Nominated for: Best Reggae/World Beat
Sound of choice: Reggae and world beat, of course
Time logged: Eleven years

Etc.: With members born in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana and the U.S., Wazobia is a legitimate African-American experience with global implications. Annually, the quintet has made its well-deserved presence known in the Reggae/World Beat category, taking home the honor three times in the last four years. Enjoyment is their calling card; hard work is what keeps them around. It's tough to doubt such pure intentions.

Wazobia performs at 6 p.m. Sunday at Cydney's.

Artist: Sebastian Whittaker
Nominated for: Best Jazz; Best Drummer
Sound of choice: Cool, but not too cool to hit a blues shuffle
Time logged: More than a decade

Etc.: Whittaker, who recently released a 1990 session as Justice Records' The Valley of the Kings, is a band leader who leads from the drum kit and shares the spotlight with sax and keyboards. There's a raw, essential feeling to his music that recalls the classic days of small-combo jazz. Jazz has become less accessible over the decades as artists have pushed the envelope until it tore; Whittaker repairs the damage and makes music that appeals to both neophyte and aficionado.

Artist: Bert Wills
Nominated for: Best Blues
Sound of choice: Trans-generational guitar blues
Time logged: Thirty-four years

Etc.: Last year's Mr. Politician Man grabbed two Grammy nominations -- for Best Contemporary Blues and Best New Artist -- which is a nice pair of nods to a Seabrook-based fortysomething old-timer who tries to book his everlasting tours (250 road dates last year, including Europe) to coincide with sweet surfing spots. A follow-up, Special Session, has been out since mid-summer, and yet another CD is scheduled for an early 1997 release.

Artist: Carolyn Wonderland and the Imperial Monkeys
Nominated for: Best Blues; Local Musician of the Year; Best Female Vocalist; Best Guitarist (Eric Dane); Best Bassist (Chris King); Best Drummer (Leesa Harrington); Song of the Year ("No Really, I Can Drive"); Songwriter(s) of the Year; Release of the Year (Play with Matches)

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