Shorter, Salvant and Benson Among DownBeat Readers Poll Winners


Wayne Shorter (shown here in a scene from the documentary Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes) won three categories in the 2019 DownBeat Readers Poll: Jazz Artist, Jazz Album (for Emanon) and Soprano Saxophone.

(Photo: Mira Film)

DownBeat is proud to announce the results of its 84th Annual Readers Poll.

Wayne Shorter is a huge winner in the poll, topping three categories: Jazz Artist of the Year, Jazz Album of the Year (for Emanon) and Soprano Saxophonist of the Year.

Readers have voted to induct saxophonist Hank Mobley (1930–’86) into the DownBeat Hall of Fame.

Snarky Puppy topped the Jazz Group category, Chris Potter won the Tenor Saxophone category and Anat Cohen topped the Clarinet category. Cécile McLorin Salvant was voted top female vocalist, and Kurt Elling was voted top male vocalist.

There was a tie in the results for the Drums category, so the co-winners are Brian Blade and Jack DeJohnette.

The Maria Schneider Orchestra was voted the top Big Band, and its leader took home the honors for top Composer and Arranger.

The winner for Historical Album is John Coltrane’s Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!), which was recorded on March 6, 1963.

Jazz guitarist George Benson saluted rock pioneers on his latest album—Walking To New Orleans: Remembering Chuck Berry And Fats Domino (Provogue)—and the result was a win in the Beyond Album category.

The readers’ choice for top Blues Album is The Blues Is Alive And Well (RCA), recorded by Buddy Guy, who is the winner of the Blues Artist or Group Category.

“The results of this year’s Readers Poll reflect the stature that Wayne Shorter has in today’s jazz landscape,” said DownBeat Editor Bobby Reed. “He topped the categories for Jazz Artist and Soprano Saxophone, as well as winning the Jazz Album category for his ambitious Blue Note release Emanon. Earlier this year, Shorter won a Grammy for Emanon in the category Best Jazz Instrumental Album, and the disc topped the Jazz Album category in the 2019 DownBeat Critics Poll. So, this Readers Poll honor is yet another accolade for an important album that people will be enjoying—and discussing—for years to come.”

The December issue of DownBeat contains the complete results in all 34 Readers Poll categories. Additionally, the issue includes features on Shorter and Mobley. The issue also has tributes to two artists who received posthumous honors: Roy Hargrove (1969–2018) won the Trumpet category, and Dr. John (1941–2019) was voted top Beyond Artist or Group.

The list of winners is below:


Hall of Fame: Hank Mobley

Jazz Artist: Wayne Shorter

Jazz Group: Snarky Puppy

Big Band: Maria Schneider Orchestra

Jazz Album: Wayne Shorter, Emanon (Blue Note)

Historical Album: John Coltrane, Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!)

Trumpet: Roy Hargrove

Trombone: Trombone Shorty

Soprano Saxophone: Wayne Shorter

Alto Saxophone: Kenny Garrett

Tenor Saxophone: Chris Potter

Baritone Saxophone: Gary Smulyan

Clarinet: Anat Cohen

Flute: Hubert Laws

Piano: Herbie Hancock

Keyboard: Herbie Hancock

Organ: Joey DeFrancesco

Guitar: Pat Metheny

Bass: Christian McBride

Electric Bass: Marcus Miller

Violin: Regina Carter

Drums (TIE): Brian Blade and Jack DeJohnette

Percussion: Poncho Sanchez

Vibraphone: Stefon Harris

Miscellaneous Instrument: Béla Fleck (banjo)

Female Vocalist: Cécile McLorin Salvant

Male Vocalist: Kurt Elling

Composer: Maria Schneider

Arranger: Maria Schneider

Record Label: Blue Note

Blues Artist or Group: Buddy Guy

Blues Album: Buddy Guy, The Blues Is Alive And Well (RCA)

Beyond Artist or Group: Dr. John

Beyond Album: George Benson, Walking To New Orleans: Remembering Chuck Berry And Fats Domino (Provogue)

Fans will have opportunities to see several of these artists on tour in the coming weeks. Snarky Puppy’s current European tour includes shows in Copenhagen (Oct. 24), Berlin (Oct. 29) and London (Nov. 14). For more info, visit the band’s website.

Christian McBride & Inside Straight will play at residency at the Village Vanguard in New York on Dec. 10–15. For more info, visit the venue’s website.

Buddy Guy’s current tour includes shows at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark (Nov. 10), the Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut (Nov. 15), and the Wind Creek Hotel & Casino in Wetumpka, Alabama (Nov. 23). For more info, visit the artist’s website. DB

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