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

  • Herb_Alpert_-_Press_Photo_01_%28credit_Dewey_Nicks%29_copy.jpg

    “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.

  • Les_McCann_by_C_Andrew_Hovan_copy.jpg

    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.

  • image002_copy.jpg

    ​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.

  • 24_Emmet_Cohen_GABRIELAGABRIELAA_copy_2.JPG

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