February 2023


Lakecia Benjamin

Finding Phoenix

Each track on the alto saxophonist and composer’s latest album relates to a unique
month of experiences in her life during a tumultuous period of pandemic lockdown and civil unrest.

  • Ahmad Jamal

    Surprise at the Penthouse

    Truth be told, the music on Emerald City Nights: Live At The Penthouse was just as much of a surprise to Ahmad Jamal as to anyone else. Although the pianist had performed frequently at the Seattle jazz landmark, he had no idea that recordings of his early-’60s performances at the Penthouse existed — much less that there were six hours’ worth. Recorded between 1963 and 1966, the material on the first two volumes (a third, covering 1966–’68, is forthcoming) captures Jamal in his creative and commercial prime.

  • Etiene Charles

    The Making of San Juan Hill

    Nearly half an hour into the Oct. 8 premiere of Etienne Charles’ epic suite San Juan Hill, the members of the New York Philharmonic began taking their seats onstage at a packed David Geffen Hall, triggering a round of applause so effusive that it seemed to shake the foundation of the hall’s home, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. No surprise there. The hall was reopening after a major make-over. But even before the orchestra joined the fray, Charles’ sextet Creole Soul — augmented by a flutist, a turntablist and multimedia partners — set off a few tremors of its own, presenting five movements of the suite that left the audience slightly shaken but pleasantly stirred.

  • Best Venues In Jazz

    A 2023 Club Guide

    DownBeat’s 2023 Venue Guide is a tribute to the enduring spirit of jazz presenters everywhere. Through the most trying period of our lifetime, they worried, improvised and survived. Here are 106 clubs serving improvised music and doing it well.

Blindfold Test

When Julian Lage sat down for this live Blindfold Test at the North Sea Jazz Festival last July, the guitarist/composer was in the throes of a summer-long tour and preparing to launch his latest, well-received recording, View With A Room (Blue Note). As always, no hints were given beforehand, and the test was delivered by noted author Nate Chinen, who serves as editorial director for WRTI, a non-commercial public radio station serving greater Philadelphia from Temple University. This was Lage’s first Blindfold Test.

  • Charlie Christian : “Flying Home” from The Radio Broadcasts 1939–1941 (Stardust/Cleopatra, 2001)
  • Lenny Breaux : “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” from Guitar Sounds From Lenny Breau (RCA Victor, 1969)
  • Jim Hall : “Skylark” from Magic Meeting (ArtistShare, 2004)
  • Nels Cline : “The Angel Of Angels” from Draw Breath (Cryptogramophone, 2007)
  • Mary Halvorson : “Nodding Yellow” from Belladonna (Nonesuch, 2022)
Also in this Issue
  • Dave Rempis
  • Paul Marinaro
  • Rob Silverman
  • The Bad Plus, The Bad Plus
  • Dezron Douglas, Atalya
  • Ramsey Lewis, The Beatles Songbook
  • Charles Lloyd, Trios—Sacred Thread
  • Eliane Elias
  • Xhosa Cole
  • Saxophone Colossus, a Sonny Rollins Biography
  • Ernesto Cervini
  • Master Class with John Beasley
  • Solo with Marc Johnson
  • Recording School with Gary Guzman
  • Gear Box

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