• More Champions of Jazz -- DownBeat Magazine

    November 11, 2009. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Frank Paquito

    As WBGO celebrates 30 years, DownBeat celebrates 75. We honored publisher Frank Alkyer, musician Paquito D’Rivera (on this month’s cover), and Down Beat President Kevin Maher at the Champions of Jazz benefit concert on Nov 3. They responded with these words.

    FROM FRANK ALKYER, PUBLISHER .. We are very proud to accept this award on behalf of the DownBeat family -- 75 years worth of great writers, editors, photographers, business managers, bookkeepers, receptionists and interns. All of them have played a role in DownBeat's longevity and success. We are also proud to accept this award on behalf of DownBeat readers in nearly 100 countries around the globe. They are what makes us tick.

    Our 75th anniversary sent us all deep into the DownBeat archives this year. And we've been able to pull out some fantastic classic articles and photography. It's amazing to see who has written, edited and photographed for DownBeat over the years: John Hammond, Dave Dexter, Helen Oakley, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Leonard Feather, Ira Gitler, Marian McPartland, Rex Stewart, Bill Gottlieb, Dave Brubeck, Nat Hentoff, Herman Leonard, Cannonball Adderley, Ted Williams, Howard Mandel, Jon Faddis, Jimmy Katz, Greg Osby, Joe Lovano, Steve Coleman, DD Jackson and of course, WBGO's own Michael Bourne. That is just scratching the surface. As you can see, it's a long and proud tradition of jazz journalism.

    Right about the time we found out that DownBeat and Paquito D'Rivera were going honored as a Champions of Jazz, we also found out that Paquito had won DownBeat's 74th Annual Readers Poll as Clarinetist of the Year. It's the third straight year. It was clear that we needed to put him on the cover. And I'm happy to say we have copies of that very issue here for everyone to take home. So pick one up if you haven't already. And congratulations, Paquito.

    FROM KEVIN MAHER, PRESIDENT .. DownBeat has been in my family since 1950. I'm very proud to be the third generation to publish DownBeat and promote jazz to the world. I hope that many more generations of my family can do the same. We look at making magazines as a craft and an art form. It's our form of expression. And we think the future of DownBeat looks very bright. Who knows how many people be reading magazines 75 years from now (or even ten, or five), but  we're confident that DownBeat will be there … because we know jazz will be there.

     So, thank you to WBGO for this special honor. And congratulations on your 30th anniversary. In our book, a perfect day is sitting down in your favorite chair with a copy of DownBeat and WBGO on the radio. We're very proud that the world's greatest jazz magazine is receiving this honor tonight from the world's greatest jazz radio station. Thank you so much.

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