January 2022


The Cookers

The Cookers

With more than 500 years of jazz experience between them, The Cookers continue to be one of the hardest-blowing, take-no-prisoners ensembles on the planet.

  • Artifacts

    Finding Artifacts

    The trio of Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid and Mike Reed take their experimentation to new heights on a new recording …And Then There’s This.

  • Record Roundup

    Best Albums of 2021

    DownBeat’s annual ode to some of the greatest music laid down during the year.

Blindfold Test

Alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin continues her upward arc on the heels of her stunning 2020 release Pursuance: The Coltranes (Ropeadope), for which she assembled an all-star cast to plumb the music of Alice and John Coltrane. Results of that release included her copping the DownBeat Critic’s Poll Award for Rising Star Alto Saxophonist and the Jazz Journalist Association’s Up and Coming Artist of the Year in their respective 2020 polls. This was Benjamin’s first Blindfold Test, administered live during the 17th annual DC Jazz Festival before an audience at The Wharf on the scenic banks of the Potomac River. Later that day she thrilled an energized audience with with the music from Pursuance, artfully performed by her band of bassist Lonnie Plaxico, drummer E.J. Strickland and pianist Zaccai Curtis.

  • Kenny Kirkland: “Steepian Faith” from Kenny Kirkland (GRP, 1991)
  • Gary Bartz: “Dahomey Dance/Tunji” from Coltrane Rules: Tao Of A Music Warrior (OYO, 2011)
  • Melissa Aldana: “Liquiescence” from Second Cycle (Inner Circle, 2012)
  • Donald Harrison Jr.: “Indian Blues” from Indian Blues (Candid, 1992)
  • Camille Thurman: “Forward Motion” from Origins (Hot Tone, 2014)
  • Kenny Garrett: “Dear Lord” from Pursuance: The Music Of John Coltrane (Warner Bros. 1996)
  • Randy Weston: “African Sunrise” from The Spirits Of Our Ancestors (Verve, 1992)
  • Branford Marsalis: “The Mighty Sword” from Four MFs Playin' Tunes (Marsalis Music, 2012)
Also in this Issue
The Beat
  • Roseanna Vitro's Bird Passion
  • Joe Farnsworth: To New York with Love
  • The Rise of Miho Hazama
  • Caroline Davis Explores Grief
  • Charlie Sepulveda's Conservation Work
  • Igor Butman Celebrates 60th
  • New!
  • Christian McBride & Inside Straight
  • Craig Taborn
  • Esperanza Spalding
  • Bill Charlap
  • Henry Threadgill Zooid
  • Theon Cross
  • Sheila Jordan
  • Charnett Moffett Trio
  • and many more!
Jazz School
  • Eastman School at 100
  • NCCU Looks Ahead
  • Secrets of a Pro Gear Shopper
  • Finding Your Personal Voice
  • Solo: Shabaka Hutchings

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