January 2024


Samara Joy

Gets Adventurous

Samara Joy has appeared like a lightning bolt on the jazz scene with a Grammy Award for New Artist of the Year and Album of the Year honors in the DownBeat Readers Poll for her hit recording Linger Awhile. We check in with the rising star vocalist to discuss her year at the top!

  • Johnathan Blake

    Story Teller

    For Johnathan Blake, every record is an act of remembrance. Over the past two decades, the Philadelphia-born and New York-based drummer and composer has imbued his work with the imprint of his mentors, channelling everything from the fierce rhythmic urge of Charles Mingus’ music to Pharoah Sanders’ spiritual freedom, from the deep groove of Roy Hargrove to the swing of Ralph Peterson Jr. We check in with Blake as he pays tribute to his father on his latest recording, Passage.

  • Nicholas Payton

    The Evolution of Nicholas Payton

    Back in the ’90s, trumpeter Nicholas Payton was packaged as one of the Young Lions who were supposed to wear nice suits and adhere to the straightahead jazz tradition. Payton had other plans.

  • Best Albums of 2023

    4, 4.5 and 5 Star Reviews

    It was another great year, and once again, DownBeat has created an in-depth list of the 4, 4.5 and 5 star reviews we published in 2023.

Blindfold Test

Emmet Cohen’s first DownBeat Blindfold Test transpired on the only day in September that didn’t involve traveling or a gig for the 33-year-old pianist. Since the onset of the pandemic in spring 2020, Cohen, winner of the 2019 American Pianists Awards, has exponentially expanded his global footprint through 122 livestreamed episodes of Live From Emmet’s Place, his catchy music show on YouTube. Add to his resume two leader albums for Mack Avenue and five self-released Masters Legacy Series albums (most recently with Houston Person) and you’ll get a picture of this pianist’s boundless energy. Cohen took the test from the compact fifth-floor Harlem walkup where he tapes Emmet’s Place.

  • Micah Thomas: “Ugetsu” from Piano Solo (345 Records, 2022)
  • Taylor Eigsti: “Sparky” from Tree Falls (GSI, 2022)
  • Eric Reed: “Infant Eyes” from Black, Brown and Blue (Smoke Sessions, 2023)
  • Benny Green: “Rouge” from Solo (Sunnyside, 2023)
  • Domi & JD Beck: “Sniff” from Not Tight (Blue Note, 2022)
  • Mathis Picard: “The Space Between Breath” from The Space Between Breath (La Reserve, 2023)
  • Julius Rodriguez: “Elegy (For Cam)” from Let Sound Tell All (Verve, 2022)
Also in this Issue
  • Herb Alpert
  • New Jazz Documentaries
  • Billy Mohler
  • Sam First Records

  • University of South Carolina
  • West Virginia University
  • Scoring Jobim for Big Band
  • Applying for Artist Residencies
  • Hank Roberts Transcribed
  • NS Design's NXTa Electric Upright

  • Jon Batiste
  • Ethan Iverson
  • Hiromi
  • Matana Roberts
  • Dan Tepfer/Miguel Zenón
  • Sean Mason
  • Dave Stryker
  • Myra Melford
  • & more!

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