2018: Trane, Bootsy, Nubya & Other Top Stories of the Year


During 2018, 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. DB

A Year After Geri Allen’s Death, a Tribute from Howard University

Alice Coltrane Concluded Trilogy with ‘Lord Of Lords’

Amid Renaissance, Hailu Mergia Keenly Aware of Time

Angel Bat Dawid Reaches for the Cosmos with Opera

Anthony Braxton Issues an 11-Disc Charlie Parker Project

Arturo O’Farrill’s ‘Fandango’ Spans Border To Unify Cultures, Musics

Bassist Adi Meyerson’s Poise and Presence

Brötzmann Reflects on ‘Machine Gun’ as it Hits 50th Anniversary

Christian McBride & Bootsy Collins: ‘All for the Funk of It’

Clement Crafts Duos Disc

Coltrane’s ‘Lost’ 1963 Studio Album Found

Connie Han on Cyberpunk, Jazz Education and Values

David Virelles Seeks Out a Certain Spirit

Despite Growing Pains, L.A. Jazz Scene Continues to Blossom

The Distinct Groove of Allison Miller and Carmen Staaf

Eric Dolphy: The ‘Prophet’ of Freedom

Flutist Mayu Saeki Searches Her Soul

In Tandem, the Morans Expand Notions of Art

Julian Lage Takes a ‘Page from the Rock ’n’ Roll Book’

Kandace Springs Motors Forward

Louis Armstrong House Museum Digitizes Life of an Icon

María Grand’s New Disc Informed by Vocalists, Influential Social Scientist

Medeski Martin & Wood Enter the ‘Omnisphere’

New Documentary Examines Milford Graves’ Music and Philosophy

Nubya Garcia Wields a Luminous Tone

The Odyssey of Drummer Selim Selçuk’s First Album

Ornette Coleman’s Revolution

Preliminary Preservation Plans Announced for Coltrane Home

Q&A with Alfredo Rodríguez: Global References

Q&A with Roxy Coss: Seeking a Unique Voice

Q&A with Simphiwe Dana: Lasting Music

Q&A with Tutu Puoane: ‘Aware of the World’

Q&A with Vocalist Fay Claassen: Getting at the Whole Picture

Rosnes Leads Collective in New York Debut

Saxophonist Caroline Davis Takes Humanity’s Pulse

Shabaka Hutchings: Britain’s Best Export

Stefon Harris’ Nurturing Spirit

Ten Years of Evolution Led Singer Sara Serpa to her Latest Album

Triple Play: Three North Sea Jazz Festival Blindfold Tests (Kurt Elling, Jazzmeia Horn, Vijay Iyer)

Vocalist Johnaye Kendrick Takes Flight

Wes Gets Royal Treatment

  • Casey_B_2011-115-Edit.jpg

    Benjamin possessed a fluid, round sound on the alto saxophone, and he was often most recognizable by the layers of electronic effects that he put onto the instrument.

  • David_Sanborn_by_C_Andrew_Hovan.jpg

    Sanborn’s highly stylized playing and searing signature sound — frequently ornamented with thrill-inducing split-tones and bluesy bent notes — influenced generations of jazz and blues saxophonists.

  • Albert_Tootie_Heath_2014_copy.jpg

    ​Albert “Tootie” Heath (1935–2024) followed in the tradition of drummer Kenny Clarke, his idol.

  • 1_Henry_Threadgills_Zooid_by_Cora_Wagoner.jpg

    Henry Threadgill performs with Zooid at Big Ears in Knoxville, Tennessee.

  • MichaelCuscuna_Katz_2042_6a_1995_copy.jpg

    Cuscuna played a singular role in the world of jazz as a producer of new jazz, R&B and rock recordings; as co-founder of a leading reissue record label; as a historian, journalist and DJ; and as the man who singlehandedly kept the Blue Note label on life support.

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