2019: Branford Marsalis, Miles Davis, Linda May Han Oh & Other Top Stories of the Year


Whether riffing on his latest album, his dynastic jazz family, his formative experiences in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, his teaching experiences, his interest in science or his love of sports, Branford Marsalis speaks his truth.

(Photo: Scott Chernis)

During 2019, DownBeat published hundreds of articles and album reviews. What’s below, though, are some features and web stories that seemed to have stuck out, whether for the sheer quality of the prose or simply the importance, thoughtfulness or audacity of the performers who were profiled.

There’s a lot to wade through, so take your time, and let the intensity and virtue of each of these players wash over you. Your new favorite recording might be buried in there somewhere.

For a look at some of our best stories from 2018, head over here. DB

Alicia Olatuja Has Faith in Her Voice

A New Golden Age of Pianists

A Renewed Spotlight on Anthony Braxton

Branford Marsalis Discusses the Genre, Teaching Music and Getting Up Early

Brian Blade Leads ‘Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration’

Church of St. John Coltrane Marks 50 Years, Sets Fundraiser

The Complex Sounds of Caspar Brötzmann

Cultivating the Legacy of Sam Rivers

ECM and Manfred Eicher on the Search for the Sublime

Eric Dolphy: The ‘Prophet’ of Freedom

For New Live Recording, Dave Liebman Heads Back Out ‘On The Corner’

Gilles Peterson on U.K. Scene, Brownswood, Starting a New Festival

Guitarist Rez Abbasi Crafts New Soundtrack for 1929 Silent Film ‘A Throw Of Dice’

How Musicians Are Evolving the Legacy of Resistance

The Kaleidoscopic Colors of Hiromi’s Pianism

Ivan Conti’s Been Combining Jazz, Rock, Samba for Decades

Jamaaladeen Tacuma and The Last Poets Move Beyond the Nation’s Combative Moment

James Carter Reimagines the Art of Django Reinhardt

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque Fosters Connection Between Cuban Music, Jazz

Jazzmeia Horn is Steeped Tradition, Yet Fully Planted in the Present

Jenny Scheinman on Risk, Adventure and Starting a New Band with Allison Miller

Jerry Bergonzi Shines with ‘Seven Rays’

Joshua Redman Finds ‘Founts of Inspiration’

Kendrick Scott at the ‘Height of Optimism’

Kenny Barron on Compatibility, Writing and Mulgrew Miller

Linda May Han Oh Reaches Across the Musical Spectrum

Melissa Aldana’s Indisputable Command

Mike Patton, Jean-Claude Vannier Collaboration Predicated on Versatility

Miles Davis Documentary Premieres, Portraying a Man of Contradictions

Miles Davis’ ‘Rubberband’ Finally Arrives

Noah Preminger in Perpetual Motion

Now’s the Time for Brandee Younger

Patrice Rushen’s Journey Through Jazz, Pop and Hollywood

Poncho Sanchez Provides the Percussive Punctuation

The Price, Cost and Value of Digital Music

Ron Carter, Beatniks and Corrective History

Sara Gazarek Charts Path Through Loss, Heartache on ‘Thirsty Ghost’

Separated by 50 Years, Israels, Diehl Find Common Ground

Terri Lyne Carrington Transforms the Culture

Theo Croker is a ‘Catalyst for Action’

The Transformative Power of Nat ‘King’ Cole

Three British Labels are Deep in Dialogue with the American Jazz Tradition

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    “I like to just click on songs that touched me and see if I could do them in a personal way — especially if it’s a well-known song,” Alpert said about selecting material for his new album.

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    McCann’s deep roots in gospel and the blues gave his music a gritty, earthy quality and a large supply of soulful licks.

  • 1_Black_Men_of_Labor_Second_Line_Parade_copy.jpg

    The Black Men of Labor Club leads a second line parade, from the documentary City of a Million Dreams.

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    ​The Blue Note Quintet includes Gerald Clayton, Immanuel Wilkins, Joel Ross, Kendrick Scott and Matt Brewer. The all-star collective embarks on a North American tour this month.

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    Emmet Cohen, right, with one of his heroes, Houston Person.