Downbeat announces 2012 Critics Poll Winners

Downbeat Magazine released the complete list of the 2012 Critics Poll winners in their July issue. The 2012 poll was decided by 186 critics from around the globe. The Downbeat Poll is the most comprehensive poll in the jazz world, with results that show more than 1,000 artists or acts receiving votes in 62 categories. Vijay Iyer, Maria Schneider, and Christian McBride were among those winning in multiple categories.


Hall of Fame: Paul Motian
Veterans Committee Hall of Fame: Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt
Jazz Artist: Vijay Iyer
Jazz Album: Vijay Iyer Trio, Accelerando (ACT)
Historical Album: Miles Davis Quintet, Live In Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 1 (Columbia/Legacy)
Jazz Group: Vijay Iyer Trio
Big Band: Maria Schneider Orchestra
Trumpet: Ambrose Akinmusire
Trombone: Wycliffe Gordon
Soprano Saxophone: Branford Marsalis
Alto Saxophone: Rudresh Mahanthappa
Tenor Saxophone: Sonny Rollins
Baritone Saxophone: Gary Smulyan
Clarinet: Anat Cohen
Flute: Nicole Mitchell
Piano: Vijay Iyer
Keyboard: Herbie Hancock
Organ: Joey DeFrancesco
Guitar: Bill Frisell
Bass: Christian McBride
Electric Bass: Christian McBride
Violin: Regina Carter
Drums: Jack DeJohnette
Vibes: Bobby Hutcherson
Percussion: Zakir Hussain
Miscellaneous Instrument: Béla Fleck (banjo)
Male Vocalist: Kurt Elling
Female Vocalist: Cassandra Wilson
Composer: Maria Schneider
Arranger: Maria Schneider
Record Label: ECM
Producer: Manfred Eicher
Blues Artist or Group: Dr. John
Blues Album: Otis Taylor, Otis Taylor’s Contraband (Telarc)
Beyond Artist or Group: Robert Glasper Experiment
Beyond Album: Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio (Blue Note)


Rising Star Jazz Artist: Robert Glasper
Rising Star Jazz Group: Robert Glasper Trio
Rising Star Big Band: Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
Rising Star Trumpet: Avishai Cohen
Rising Star Trombone: Josh Roseman
Rising Star Soprano Saxophone: Marcus Strickland
Rising Star Alto Saxophone: David Binney
Rising Star Tenor Saxophone: Anat Cohen
Rising Star Baritone Saxophone: Greg Tardy
Rising Star Clarinet: Evan Christopher
Rising Star Flute: Jamie Baum
Rising Star Piano: Robert Glasper
Rising Star Keyboard: Hiromi
Rising Star Organ: Mike LeDonne
Rising Star Guitar: Julian Lage
Rising Star Bass: Linda Oh
Rising Star Electric Bass: Derrick Hodge
Rising Star Violin: Jason Kao Hwang
Rising Star Drums: Marcus Gilmore
Rising Star Vibes: Chris Dingman
Rising Star Percussion: Dan Weiss
Rising Star Miscellaneous Instrument: Gary Versace (accordion)
Rising Star Male Vocalist: Giacomo Gates
Rising Star Female Vocalist: René Marie
Rising Star Composer: Vijay Iyer
Rising Star Arranger: John Hollenbeck
Rising Star Producer: Jeff Gauthier

“Now in Stores” XVI

Here are five more recent jazz releases worth giving a listen to:

1. Come Sunday by Charlie Haden (EmArcy – January 10, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Two jazz legends team up for an unforgettable and moving album of classic spirituals. Bassist Charlie Haden and the late pianist Hank Jones, follow up their 1995 classic duet recording Steal Away, with this album of great songs of power, including Duke Ellington s famous Come Sunday. Come Sunday was a last collaboration between these two longtime friends and colleagues. Hank Jones died in 2010 at the age of 91, shortly after completing this album. Jones is considered the consummate jazz pianist and renowned as a soloist, accompanist, composer and arranger. In a career spanning over 70 years, Hank Jones worked with nearly every major jazz musician from Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald to Diana Krall.

2. Further Explorations by Chick Corea/Eddie Gomez/Paul Motian (Concord Jazz – January 17, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

The contributions of pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader Bill Evans to the language and appreciation of jazz continue to have a profound influence on musicians. Join master pianist Chick Corea as he leads original Evans alumni – bassist Eddie Gomez and the late drummer Paul Motian – on Further Explorations, a two-CD live set of 19 tracks. The spirit of Evans comes alive thanks to the vibrant simpatico shared by these three master musicians.

3. Conversations with Christian by Christian McBride (Mack Avenue – November 8, 2011) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Christian McBride is a loquacious raconteur in addition to his finger-busting bass skills, though make no mistake about it- the only talk on this release is the musical kind two instruments make. Christian can converse with the best of them, as his Sirius/XM show will attest though these conversations sit him down in the studio with a diverse array of guests for unexpected and often amazing results. The resulting duets lay bare skill and emotion in the visceral tradition of real jazz improvisation.

4. The Monk Project by Jimmy Owens (IPO – January 3, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Owens debut as a leader on IPO features the legendary trumpeter & flugelhornist leading a stellar septet on a program of uniquely original arrangements of Thelonious Monk compositions that are deeply steeped in the blues. Jimmy Owens will receive the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy. The A.B. Spellman award is special recognition as an NEA Jazz Master. Longtime colleague and fellow NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron, well known for playing Monk s music with the group Sphere, heads the rhythm section. Robin Kelley, who wrote the prize-winning biography Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, contributes extensive liner notes.

5. Black Radio by Robert Glasper Experiment (Blue Note – February 28, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

On February 28, 2012, Robert Glasper Experiment will release Black Radio (Blue Note Records/EMI), a future landmark album that boldly stakes out new musical territory and transcends any notion of genre, drawing from jazz, hip hop, R&B and rock, but refusing to be pinned down by any one tag. The first full-length album from the GRAMMY-nominated keyboardist’s electric Experiment band—saxist Casey Benjamin, bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Chris Dave—Black Radio also features many of Glasper’s famous friends from the spectrum of urban music, seamlessly incorporating appearances from a jaw-dropping roll call of special guests including Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Lalah Hathaway, Shafiq Husayn (Sa-Ra), KING, Ledisi, Chrisette Michele, Mos Def, Musiq Soulchild, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Stokley Williams (Mint Condition).

“Now in Stores” XV

“Now in Stores” XIV

“Now in Stores” XIII

“Now in Stores” XII

“Now in Stores” XI

“Now in Stores” X

“Now In Stores” IX

“Now In Stores” VIII

“Now In Stores” VII

Now in Stores (Late May, June, and July)

“Now in Stores” – 5/16/2010 to 5/22/2010

“Now in Stores” – 5/2/2010 to 5/8/2010

Now in Stores” – 4/25/2010 to 5/1/2010

“Now in Stores” – 4/18/2010 t0 4/24/2010

“Now In Stores” – 5 Noteworthy Jazz Albums Released this Week (4/11/2010-4/17/10)

Five places to have a jazzy New Year’s Eve

Looking to ring in the new year with some live music? There are a lot of venues around the country that have special New Year’s Eve programs lined up with some all-star musicians. Here are five shows from around the U.S. we chose to highlight, including one from Seattle.

NEW YORK – Wynton Marsalis: The Music of Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center

Reservations are available by phone only 212-258-9595/9795.

Early Diz: 7:30pm — $350 per person
includes music charge and 4-course meal, and party favors
Doors open at 6pm

Midnite Diz: 11pm — $500 per person
includes music charge, complimentary one-hour cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres, 5-course meal, champagne toast, parting gifts, and party favors
Cocktail Reception at 9pm
Doors open for show at 10pm

Ring in 2012 in the tradition of New Orleans with Wynton Marsalis and his trusted ensemble. Wynton Marsalis, trumpet; Dan Nimmer, piano; Carlos Henriquez, bass; Ali Jackson, drums; Walter Blanding, reeds; Wess Anderson, reeds; Victor Goines, reeds; Marcus Printup, trumpet; Chris Crenshaw, trombone; James Chirillo, guitar and banjo; Ricky “Dirty Red” Gordon, washboard and percussion.

BOSTON – Christian McBride & Inside Straight with special guest Melissa Walker at Scullers Jazz Club

8pm Show: $50 per person
Dinner & Show: $309 per couple*
11pm Show: $60 per person
Dinner & Show: $379 per couple*, includes hats, noisemakers & a champagne toast
*includes tax & gratuity, does not include drinks

…And stay the night for an additional $119 a night, not including tax.

Bassist extraordinaire, composer, arranger, educator, curator and administrator, Christian McBride, has been one of the most important and most omnipresent figures in the jazz world for 20 years. Sometimes hard to believe considering this man is not yet 40.

WASHINGTON D.C. – Monty Alexander at Blues Alley

6:00 PM – (Doors Open at 5:30) – $100 per person Includes: 3 course meal, non alcoholic beverages (bottled water excluded), tax and gratuity. 10:00 PM – (Doors Open at 9:30) – $150 per person Includes: 3 course meal, non alcoholic beverages (bottled water excluded), champagne by the glass, hats, noise makers, tax and gratuity.

In a career spanning five decades, pianist Monty Alexander has built a reputation exploring the worlds of American jazz, popular song, and the music of his native Jamaica, finding in each a sincere spirit of musical expression. In the process, he has performed and recorded with artists from every corner of the musical universe: Frank Sinatra, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Ernest Ranglin, Barbara Hendricks, Sly & Robbie Shakespeare, among many others.

SAN FRANCISCO – Maceo Parker’s New Years Party at Yoshi’s San Francisco Jazz Club

  • 8pm: $50
  • 10pm: $100“Parker talks with his sax, chatters away without a seeming care. It’s a musical antidepressant, an antidote to dark days. ….firmed my belief that the world would be a better place if we all funked together.”-San Diego Reader


    Maceo Parker Band – leader, sax, flute, vocals

    Dennis Rollins – trombone

    Will Boulware – keys

    Bruno Speight – guitar

    Rodney ” Skeet” Curtis – bass

    Marcus Parker – drums

    Martha High – vocals

    Corey Parker – vocals

SEATTLE – Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz New Year’s Eve Celebration at Jazz Alley

The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley welcomes Grammy Winning Master Conguero Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band for 4 nights and 8 shows. Band members: Poncho Sanchez (Congas/Vocals), Joey De Leon (Timbales), Rene Camacho (Bass), Ron Blake (Trumpet), Robert Hardt (Alto and Tenor Saxophone), Francisco Torres (Trombone), Jose Rodriguez (Bongos) and Andy Langham (Piano).


1) The 1st Show Dinner Package includes admission to the first show, a four-course dinner and tax & tip. Doors open at 6:30 PM and the music starts 8:45 PM & continues until 10:00 PM. $105.50 per person

2) The “Ring in The New Year” Package includes admission to the second show, choice of dessert, coffee or tea, party favors and includes tax & tip. Doors at 10:30 PM and music starts at 11PM. $80.50 per person

3) All Evening Package (1 and 2 above) $155.50 per person

4) First Show Only $52.50 per person


Building a “Trendy” Dream Big Band Part 2 of 2

Following up on the previous post, here is the rest of the band that I’ve created filled with who I believe are the “trend setters” in jazz today. Again, just my own personal thoughts, on some people I feel are hip, cool, and making it happen. Enjoy the trombones, rhythm section, and singers!

The Trombones:

Lead Trombone: Steve Turre

The long, black pointy beard and the jet black hair has been hard to miss when watching the house band of NBC’s Saturday Night Live play. That is not to take away from the fact that he is an amazing trombone player, and has put out some fantastic releases over the last ten years.

Watch Steve Turre play the shells:

Second Trombone: Conrad Herwig

Conrad may be one of the most natural big band guys in this completely fictional and unrealistic big band. Seven albums as a leader and a University of North Texas grad, he’s been recruited for big bands led by Clark Terry and Buddy Rich, just to name a few.

Conrad Herwig plays below:

Third Trombone: Delfeayo Marsalis

It pays to be a Marsalis. But just having the name didn’t make him an excellent trombone player and producer. Chalk that up to studying both at Berklee an touring with Ray Charles and Art Blakey.

Delfeayo Marsalis plays with his father Ellis in this video:

Fourth Trombone: Wycliffe Gordon

“Pine Cone” holds a special place in the hearts of NPR listeners (even if they don’t know it). His composition of the NPR theme song  is just one of many compositions, most of them fantastic.  He can more or less play anything, and is one guy who can make the sounds of the 30’s sound modern and trendy.

Wycliffe Gordon solos with three other trombone greats:

The Rhythm Section:

Piano: Herbie Hancock

Herbie’s last two albums have featured him alongside the most popular names in music from a variety of genres. And for the first time in 37 years, a jazz album, his jazz album, beat out rock stars, rappers, and country singers to win the Grammy for Best Album of the Year. I’d say he is keeping with the trend.

A look into Herbie’s Grammy winning album River: The Joni Letters:

Bass: Christian McBride

Christian is likely the most sought after bassist by big name jazz musicians today. Alot of bassist can play technically perfect, but McBride gives everything he touches a enjoyable personality.

Christian plays with Herbie and Jack DeJohnette:

Drums: Jack DeJohnette

DeJohnette is similar to Christian McBride where he can play anything with anybody, and make it sound wonderful and effortless.

Watch Jack solo:

Guitar: John Scofield

Maybe the biggest guitarist in jazz (aside from Pat Metheny), it is Scofield’s rock influence that sets him apart for me. He adds a hip edge to whatever he is playing.

Scofield with Jon Mayer on the Tonight Show:

The Singers:

Male Vocalist: Jamie Cullum

Can anyone today really be called a “bad boy” of jazz? No one will call this young British vocalist a traditional jazz singer, but that is what I like about him. He’s doing his own thing by recreating songs with his own style. He will never sound like Frank Sinatra, but I don’t believe he really wants to.

Jamie Cullum’s version of Wind Cries Mary:

Female Vocalist: Diana Krall

Krall is the most popular jazz singer today, and she deserves that title. She has her own romantic, sensual style, warranting large crowds and tons of fans. Her biggest fan might be her husband, Elvis Costello, which definitely earns her major cool points.

Diana Krall’s Look of Love video: