The New School For Jazz Shines in Annual Downbeat Critics Poll

Robert Glasper

Faculty and alumni from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music once again collected scores of citations in this year’s 61st Critics Poll by Downbeat magazine. New School musicians were recognized 72 times across 41 different categories.

“It’s extremely gratifying to see the success of our mission and the talents of our community confirmed in this important critics poll,” said Martin Mueller, Executive Director of The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. “All our alumni and faculty recognized represent the open the school’s spirit of musical journey and discovery. I know that each New School generation will continue to write the history of the past anew.”

The magazine’s annual Critics Poll is divided into categories for both established acts and for “Rising Stars.” For years, musicians from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music have appeared throughout the rankings. Continuing his streak from last year, New School-trained pianist Robert Glasper garnered nine recognitions with wins in four categories, including Beyond Artist or Group of the Year with his group, “The Robert Glasper Experiment.” Glasper also took home wins in the Keyboard listing as well as Rising Star–Composer and Rising Star–Producer.

In 2012, The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music celebrated 25 years of educating leading jazz artists under the guidance of faculty musicians like saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom, percussionist Bobby Sanabria, and bassist Reggie Workman, all of whom are represented in this year’s Critics Poll. With a curriculum focused on small-group performance and one-on-one tutorial and mentoring sessions, aspiring artists have the opportunity to cultivate impressive skill from the beginning, leading to a distinguished class of alumni and a tradition of high achievement.

Read on for the full list of Jazz faculty and alumni who appear on Downbeat’s 61th Critics Poll.

  • Jazz Artist– Robert Glasper (alum) fifth place
  • Jazz Group– Robert Glasper Experiment (alum) eighth place
  • Big Band– Roy Hargrove Big Band (alum) 21st place
  • Trumpet– Roy Hargrove (alum) twelfth place
  • Soprano Saxophone– Jane Ira Bloom (faculty) fifth place; Chris Potter (alum) 13th place; Marcus Strickland (alum) 19th place
  • Tenor Saxophone– Chris Potter (alum) third place
  • Piano– Brad Mehldau (alum) third place; Robert Glasper (alum) eighth place
  • Keyboard– Robert Glasper (alum) first place; Larry Goldings (alum) fifth place; Sam Yahel (alum) 20th place
  • Organ– Larry Goldings (alum) third place; Sam Yahel (alum) eighth place
  • Guitar– Mary Halvorson (alum) third place; Peter Bernstein (alum) 15th place
  • Bass– Ben Allison (faculty) tenth place; Avishai Cohen (alum) 17th place; Reggie Workman (faculty) 20th place
  • Violin– Miri Ben-Ari (alum) 17th place
  • Drums– Andrew Cyrille (faculty) 17th place
  • Percussion– Bobby Sanabria (faculty) second place; Susie Ibarra (alum) 13th place
  • Misc. Instrument– Gregoire Maret (Harmonica), (Alum) second place
  • Male Vocalist– Jose James (alum) seventh place
  • Composer– Robert Glasper (alum) sixth place; Ben Allison (faculty) tenth place
  • Beyond Artist or Group– Robert Glasper Experiment (alum) first place
  • Beyond Album– Jose James (alum), No Beginnings No End (BLUE NOTE) first place
  • Rising Star Jazz Artist– Mary Halvorson (alum) fourth place; Jose James (alum) fifth place
  • Rising Star Jazz Group– Robert Glasper Trio (alum) second place; Mary Halvorson Trio (alum) third place
  • Rising Star Big Band– Bobby Sanabria Big Band (faculty) second place
  • Rising Star Trumpet– Jonathan Finlayson (alum) tenth place; Michael Rodriguez (alum) 16th place
  • Rising Star Soprano Saxophone– Marcus Strickland (alum) twelfth place
  • Rising Star Alto Saxophone– Sharel Cassity (alum) eighth place; Casey Benjamin (alum) twelfth place
  • Rising Star Tenor Saxophone– Marcus Strickland (alum) fourth place; John Ellis (alum) sixth place; Kenneth Whalum III (alum) 13th place
  • Rising Star Baritone Saxophone– Jason Marshall (alum) seventh place
  • Rising Star Piano– Aaron Goldberg (alum) fourth place
  • Rising Star Organ– Greg Lewis (alum) 14th place
  • Rising Star Keyboard– Sam Yahel (alum) second place; Austin Peralta (alum) 15th place
  • Rising Star Guitar– Peter Bernstein (alum) second place; Gilad Hekselman (alum) third place; Mike Moreno (alum) tenth place; Yotam Silberstein (alum) 21st place
  • Rising Star Bass– Avishai Cohen (alum) third place
  • Rising Star Electric Bass– Avishai Cohen (alum) second place
  • Rising Star Drums– Jamire Williams (alum) seventh place; Adam Cruz (alum) 13th place
  • Rising Star Misc Instrument– Casey Benjamin (VOCODER) (alum) 18th place
  • Rising Star Male Vocalist– Jose James (alum) ninth place
  • Rising Star Female Vocalist- Becca Stevens (alum) 19th place
  • Rising Star Composer– Robert Glasper (alum) first place; Ben Allison (faculty) third place; Mary Halvorson (alum) fourth place; John Ellis (alum) 19th place
  • Rising Star Arranger– Ben Allision (faculty) fourth place
  • Rising Star Producer– Robert Glasper (alum) first place; Spike Wilner (alum) seventh place
  • Jazz Album of the Year– Joe Lovano, Us Five (featuring alum Otis Brown III), Cross Culture (BLUE NOTE) fourth place; Christian Scott, Christian (featuring alums Kenneth Whalum III, Jamire Williams, and Corey King), aTunde Adjuah (/CONCORD) ninth place; Mary Halvorson Quintet (alum), Bending Bridges (FIREHOUSE 12) 19th place; Chris Potter (alum), The Sirens (ECM) 19th place (tie); The Cookers (featuring faculty members Billy Harper and George Cables), Believe (MOTEMA) 20th place; Yosvany Terry (faculty), Today’s Opinion (CRISS CROSS) 21st place.