May 2021


Shabaka Hutchings

The Real Life of Shabaka Hutchings

British saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings exploded onto the jazz scene with that rare gift of getting hips to sway and minds to think. In his first DownBeat cover article, Hutchings talks about Black To The Future, the latest recording by his group Sons of Kemet, as well as a new book and being creative during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Wadada Leo Smith

    Across The Threshold

    During decades of recording and work alongside a cast of co-conspirators that could serve as a summation of jazz’s avant-garde wing, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith has mapped his inspiration. And he continues to do so.

  • Jennifer Wharton

    Trombone Ecstasy

    Jennifer Wharton, a bass trombonist, continues to challenge the prevailing view of her chosen instrument with Not A Novelty, her second Sunnyside album featuring Bonegasm, her trombone quartet with rhythm section. The March release serves as a timely sequel to the group’s self-titled 2019 debut, an uncommon record that landed on the jazz charts within a week of its launch.

Blindfold Test

Pianist Angelica Sanchez took this month’s Blindfold Test. Here are the selections that were played

  • Keith Jarrett: ““Long Time Gone (But Not Withdrawn)” ” from Life Between The Exit Signs (Atlantic)
  • Ingrid Laubrock/Kris Davis : ““Gunweep” ” from Blood Moon (Intakt)
  • Gerald Clayton: ““Rejuvenation Agenda”” from Happening: Live At The Village Vanguard (Blue Note)
  • Matthew Shipp: ““Piano Equation”” from The Piano Equation (Tao Forms)
  • Jeff Williams: ““She Can’t Be A Spy”” from Bloom (Whirlwind)
  • Vijay Iyer/Craig Taborn: ““Shake Down”” from The Transitory Poems (ECM)
  • Adam Benjamin: ““The Star-Spangled Banner”” from Alphabets And Consequences (F. Boo)
Also in this Issue
The Beat
  • Lake Street Dive
  • Billie Holiday Film Review
  • Julius Hemphill Boxed Set
  • Ralph Peterson Remembered
  • Hafez Modirzadeh
  • Janinah Burnet
Reed School
  • Mark Turner Master Class
  • Greg Osby Solo Transcription
  • Toolshed
  • and lotsa gear!

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