August 2024


72nd Annual Critics Poll

​Charles Lloyd — History Making!

Charles Lloyd, at the age of 87, speaks with humor and humility and in unbroken, elliptical runs. At times, he tends to add in a self-amused chuckle. Responding to a query about the sudden news of his sweep of DownBeat’s top Critics Poll awards — an occurrence that’s never happened in the magazine’s 90-year run — he admits being happy about the news, but also a bit challenged to help explain it.

  • Immanuel Wilkins

    Jazz Group & Alto Saxophonist of the Year
  • Herbie Hancock

    Keyboardist of the Year
  • Jane Ira Bloom

    Soprano Saxophonist of the Year
  • Larry Goldings

    Organist of the Year
  • James Brandon Lewis

    Rising Star Artist of the Year
  • Sullivan Fortner Trio

    Rising Star Group of the Year
Blindfold Test

Alto saxist/composer/arranger/educator Greg Ward’s win in the Critics’ poll Rising Star category, at age 42, was a long time coming but inevitable given prolific activity in myriad aggregations. Notwithstanding recent tenure as an associate professor at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, he’s maintained a hectic schedule freelancing with The Occidental Brothers, drummer Makaya McCraven, bassist Linda May Han Oh, drummer Mike Reed’s groups (Loose Assembly, Flesh and Bone and People, Places and Things), and singer Alyssa Allgood as well as his own band, Rogue Parade.
Successful plate-spinning requires equilibrium and Ward likes to enjoy life and smell the coffee, even if he hasn’t touched caffeine for over a year. It was the scent of single malt scotch that aided rumination as we convened for his first Blindfold Test in Chicago.

  • Kenny Garrett: “For Openers” from Introducing Kenny Garrett (Criss Cross, 1984)
  • Mostly Other People Do the Killing: “So What?” from Blue (Hot Cup, 2014)
  • Cannonball Adderley: “74 Miles Away” from Phenix (Fantasy, 1975)
  • Jan Klare: “Confirmation” from Solo (Poise, 2017)
  • Warne Marsh/Lee Konitz Quintet: “Two Part Invention #13, Allegro Tranquillo” from Live At The Montmartre Club: Jazz Exchange, Vol. 2 (Storyville, 1975)
  • Earl Bostic: “Don’t You Do It?” from The Very Best of  Earl Bostic (Collectables, NYC, 1950)
  • Maria Schneider Orchestra: “Data Lords” from Data Lords (Artist Share, 2020)
  • Paul Giallorenzo’s GitGo: “Force Majeure” from Force Majeure (Delmark, 2014)
  • Kris Davis: “Trip Dance for Tim” from Duopoly (Pyroclastic Records, 2016)
  • Bunky Green: “Be” from Another Place (Label Bleu, 2004)
Also in this Issue
The Beat
  • Ryan Truesdell
  • Ropeadope @ 25
  • Jihye Lee
  • Matthew Whitaker
  • Kokayi

Historical Reviews
  • Duke Ellington
  • Funio Itabashi
  • The Imanemas
  • Phil Haynes

Indie Life
  • Eyal Vilner
  • Curtis Taylor
  • Mike Monford

Indie Reviews
  • Daniel Bennett Group
  • Stephen Phil Harvey
  • Gemma Farrell
  • Maria Faust Jazz Catastrophe
  • Flavio Silva

Hot Box
  • David Murray Quartet
  • Kenny Barron
  • Smith/Myers
  • Nduduzo Makhatini

  • Paul Midon
  • JB Dyas
  • Wadada Leo Smith Transcribed

PLUS: Dozens of album reviews, product reviews and much more!