Benson, McBride And Metheny Among Readers Poll Winners

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George Benson is the newest inductee in the DownBeat Hall of Fame.

(Photo: Carl Hyde)

DownBeat is proud to announce the results of its 85th Annual Readers Poll.

Readers have voted to induct singer and guitarist George Benson into the DownBeat Hall of Fame. Benson, who launched his career as a child prodigy in his native Pittsburgh, became a household name in the 1970s and ’80s, thanks to hit singles like “This Masquerade,” “On Broadway,” “Give Me The Night” and “Turn Your Love Around.”

Christian McBride topped the Jazz Artist and Bass categories. In February, McBride released The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait Of Four Icons, and in September, he released the big-band album For Jimmy, Wes And Oliver.

Pat Metheny—who was voted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame via the 2013 Readers Poll—topped the Guitar category, and his disc From This Place (Nonesuch) was voted Jazz Album of the Year.

Pianist Chick Corea’s Trilogy—which includes McBride and drummer Brian Blade—won the Jazz Group category. Blade topped the Drums category.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra topped the Big Band category, Anat Cohen won the Clarinet category and Diana Krall was voted Female Vocalist of the Year. There was a tie in the results of the Male Vocalist category, so the co-winners are Kurt Elling and Gregory Porter.

The readers’ choice for top Blues Album is Robert Cray’s That’s What I Heard (Nozzle/Thirty Tigers), and Buddy Guy is the winner of the Blues Artist or Group Category.

“We are proud to welcome the incredible George Benson to the DownBeat Hall of Fame,” said DownBeat Editor Bobby Reed. “This accolade is just the latest in a long line of honors for him, including 10 Grammy Awards and an NEA Jazz Masters fellowship. Benson’s latest album, Weekend In London, provides ample evidence that he remains among the most mesmerizing artists on the scene today.”

The December issue of DownBeat contains the complete results in all 34 Readers Poll categories. The issue includes features on Benson, McBride and Metheny, as well as articles on two artists who received posthumous honors: John Coltrane, whose album Blue World (Impulse) topped the Historical Album of the Year category, and Lee Konitz (1927–2020), who won the Alto Saxophone category

The list of this year’s winners is below. See the winners of 84th Annual Readers Poll here.

85TH ANNUAL DOWNBEAT READERS POLL WINNERS

Hall of Fame: George Benson

Jazz Artist: Christian McBride

Jazz Group: Chick Corea Trilogy

Big Band: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Jazz Album: Pat Metheny, From This Place (Nonesuch)

Historical Album: John Coltrane, Blue World (Impulse)

Trumpet: Wynton Marsalis

Trombone: Trombone Shorty

Soprano Saxophone: Branford Marsalis

Alto Saxophone: Lee Konitz

Tenor Saxophone: Chris Potter

Baritone Saxophone: James Carter

Clarinet: Anat Cohen

Flute: Hubert Laws

Piano: McCoy Tyner

Keyboard: Herbie Hancock

Organ: Joey DeFrancesco

Guitar: Pat Metheny

Bass: Christian McBride

Electric Bass: Marcus Miller

Violin: Regina Carter

Drums: Brian Blade

Percussion: Poncho Sanchez

Vibraphone: Stefon Harris

Miscellaneous Instrument: Béla Fleck (banjo)

Female Vocalist: Diana Krall

Male Vocalist (TIE): Kurt Elling and Gregory Porter

Composer: Maria Schneider

Arranger: Maria Schneider

Record Label: Blue Note

Blues Artist or Group: Buddy Guy

Blues Album: Robert Cray, That’s What I Heard (Nozzle/Thirty Tigers)

Beyond Artist or Group: Jeff Beck

Beyond Album: Bill Frisell, Harmony (Blue Note)

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