56th Annual DownBeat Critics Poll
July 15, 2008. Posted by Angelika Beener.
It's that time again. The DownBeat Critics Poll results are in (the August issue of DownBeat, that is). Though I am always torn when it comes to the idea of critics and their polls, I always end up looking forward to seeing who's who and what's what in the eyes of the critics and writers. This year had some very cool and surprising results. As the young folks say in my neighborhood..."I ain't mad!"
Some of the results that I was especially happy to see were Rising Star Soprano Saxophonist, which went to Marcus Strickland. This cat is definitely well-deserving in this category, though he could easily win that category for tenor as well. Which reminds me...I didn't see a Rising Star Tenor category. I can count on two hands some really killin' tenor players that could have been in that category, but that's another blog, I suppose. Anyway, kudos to Marcus, and good looks to the critics who know which end is up. I was also happy to see Eric Harland nab the Rising Star Drums category (though disappointed in not seeing Kendrick Scott on the list - that cat is just superb and his album is among one of my modern-day favorites), Gregoire Maret in the Miscellaneous Instrument category for harmonica (that cat is ridiculous). Esperanza Spaulding took the Rising Star Acoustic Bass category, which is really special. To see a woman win in a category that is traditionally very un-female makes it all the more inspiring. Lionel Loueke got his due for Rising Star Guitar, and one of my favorite artists Robert Glasper took the Rising Star Piano category. Definitely check out all of these artists, as they are truly ones to watch, and experience. It was very cool to see the critics mix it up a bit, and recognize all of the great emerging lions of this music. Nice work!
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