November 2022


Al Foster

​Drummer to the Stars

To call Al Foster a student of the drums is an understatement. The 79-year-old drum master has studied the history of jazz drums, much of it in-person, as he speaks of legends like Arthur Taylor, Joe Chambers, Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams, Billy Hart and so many more with the depth of an artist who has a keen ear and eye as well as the warmth of knowing these masters as friends as well as peers.

  • Connie Han

    The Jazz Warrior-Goddess

    Pianist Connie Han exudes an aura less compatible with jazz and more with any other popular music genre, be it rock, funk, punk, or hip-hop: a defiant, brash, f*#k-you attitude and image that has nothing to do with fitting into any societal norms of modesty and decorum, and quite contrarily, intends to push audiences out of their comfort zones into areas that are more — shall we say — dangerous.

  • Alex Acuña

    Offers His GiFT

    LATIN JAZZZ TODAY — Given that Alex Acuã has been so involved in creating sound and dynamics throughout his years in groups like Weather Report, Koinonia and The Unknowns as well as on hundreds of film soundtracks including West Side Story and Spider-Man: No Way Home in recent years, his drum life in his studio makes it feel like the organic gallery of a music museum — so much to take in.

  • Claudia Acuña

    El Arte del DUO

    LATIN JAZZZ TODAY — In September, the Chilean native released Duo, her sixth solo album as a leader and her Ropeadope debut. Of the record’s nine tracks, seven feature distinguished guest instrumentalists. Acuña was surprised, she said, when they all agreed to the project.

  • Miguel Zenón

    Pandemic History Lesson

    LATIN JAZZZ TODAY — Joined by his longtime working quartet of Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo, Austrian bassist Hans Glawischnig and Puerto Rican drummer Henry Cole, Zenón also recruited the renowned Puerto Rican ensemble Los Pleneros de La Cresta along with master percussionists Paoli Mejías, Daniel Díaz and Victor Emmanuelli for his ambitious project, Música de Las Américas.

  • Roxana Amed

    Mixing Traditions into Unánime

    LATIN JAZZZ TODAYUnánime, Roxana Amed’s stunning new Sony Latin release, celebrates the work of contemporary and historic Latin composers with an entire firmament of Latin stars. Among them: legendary Cuban pianist Jesús “Chucho” Valdés; Spanish flamenco guitar maestro Niño Josele; Venezuelan vocalist/songwriter/trumpeter Linda Briceño, the first-ever woman to win a Latin Grammy for Producer of the Year; and fellow Argentine Pedro Aznar, a fretless bass phenom and longtime Pat Metheny collaborator, who fused jazz with Argentine folk and rock.

  • Various Artists

    Caliente! New Latin Music

    LATIN JAZZZ TODAY — DB surveys a host of new releases from Dafnis Prieto, Gustavo Cortiñas, Lauren Henderson, Manel Fortiá Trio, Maria Mendes, Pinio Fernandes and Xiomara Torres.

Blindfold Test

During this year’s International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers symposium in Austin, Texas, celebrated jazz orchestrators Jim McNeely and Ryan Truesdell administered the DownBeat Blindfold Test to each other, onstage in front of a live audience. In advance of the event, each artist chose four tracks for his counterpart to identify over the course of the test, for a total of eight musical selections — the first half of which are presented here. (Look for Part II in DownBeat’s December issue.) The spirited exchange, effectively DownBeat’s first Double Blindfold Test, kicked off with a McNeely pick, followed by a Truesdell pick, alternating back-and-forth for the duration. Everyone at ISJAC — a friendly, hard-working and diverse community that is seeking to expand its membership — knows each other on a first-name basis.

  • Duke Ellington: “Artistry In Rhythm” from Will Big Bands Ever Come Back? (Reprise, 1962)
  • Buddy DeFranco: “A Bird In Igor's Yard” from Buddy DeFranco & His Orchestra (Hep, 1949)
  • Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: “A Simple Wish” from Can I Persuade You (Planet Arts, 2001)
  • Bob Brookmeyer: “Mellow Drama” from Portrait Of The Artist (Atlantic, recorded in 1959)
Also in this Issue
  • Gretchen Valade, Lifetime Achievement for Recording
  • Randall Kline, Lifetime Achievement for Presenting
  • Jim Nadel, DownBeat Jazz Education Hall of Fame
  • Miles Osland, Lifetime Achievement for Jazz Education
  • Ollie Liddell, Lifetime Achievement for Jazz Education
  • Farka Vieux Touré with Kruangbin
  • John Escreet
  • Joey DeFrancesco, RIP
  • SteepleChase @ 50
  • Basquiat's Jazz Influences
  • Ramsey Lewis, RIP
  • Mark Guiliana, the sound of listening (Edition)
  • Julian Lage, View With A Room (Blue Note)
  • Shorter/Carrington/Genovese/Spalding, Live At The Detroit Jazz Festival (Candid)
  • Redman/Mehldau/McBride/Blade, Long Gone (Nonesuch)
  • Ulysses Owens Jr.
  • Joe Farnsworth Solo on "Monk's Dream"
  • Toolshed

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