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Downbeat Critics Poll: 2019
I went to vote in Downbeat's Critics Poll on April 11, 2019, only to find I had missed the deadline.
Notes on my voting for Downbeat's 2019 Critics Poll. The voting was conducted using SurveyMonkey. For each of 50-some questions, they provided an extensive list of nominees, but also allowed write-ins. Those I voted for are in bold. The write-ins are in bold italic. The survey allowed for splitting ten votes among two or three candidates. I generally split my vote 5-3-2.
What I generally do is start by scanning the nominees, building a list of people I would consider voting for. Then I go through my somewhat antiquated cribsheet and look for people they missed -- ones I would consider voting for (not necessarily everyone who should be on the ballot). Then I pick and assign votes. Most categories have both a main section and one called "Rising Star" (formerly "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition," or TDWR, a slightly different shading). For this I rarely consider anyone who has been recording for more than 20 years or who is over 50, but that's a rough guideline, and I'd prefer 10 years less.
Needless to say, the categories are far from evenly balanced, which will be obvious from my candidate lists below (although the mismatch will be much greater, as I routinely skip over pianists of much greater stature than people I'd consider for the sparser categories. Also, some categories I care more about than others (e.g., I'm not very conscious of arrangers and composers).
Hall of Fame: Excludes previous winners, including (from 2018) Ray Charles, Benny Golson, Marian McPartland. My votes: George Russell (5), Roswell Rudd (3), Anthony Braxton (2).
First pass: on ballot I considered voting for: Paul Bley, Anthony Braxton, Jaki Byard, Jack DeJohnette, Von Freeman, Bill Frisell, Jan Garbarek, Jimmy Giuffre, Grant Green, Billy Higgins, Dave Holland, Abdullah Ibrahim, Illinois Jacquet, Professor Longhair, Charles Lloyd, John McLaughlin, Hank Mobley, George Russell, Pharoah Sanders, Tomasz Stanko, John Zorn.
Jazz Artist: I assume this is someone who did monumental work during the last year or two, but I never quite know what that means. Satoko Fujii (5), Matthew Shipp (3), William Parker (2). First pass: Anthony Braxton, Dave Douglas, Mary Halvorson, Fred Hersch, Dave Liebman, Myra Melford, William Parker, Matthew Shipp, Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Threadgill, Ken Vandermark, John Zorn.
Rising Star -- Jazz Artist: Dave Rempis (5), Tomeka Reid (3), Josephine Davies (2). First pass: Shabaka Hutchings, Jon Irabagon, Mike Reed, Jenny Scheinman, David Virelles.
Jazz Album of the Year (April 1, 2018-March 31, 2019): Per my usual custom, I only picked albums on their ballot. (I figure write-ins might influence future ballots, but that wouldn't apply to albums.) Henry Threadgill 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg, Dirt . . . And More Dirt (Pi) (5); David Virelles, Igbó Alákorin (The Singer's Grove), Vol. I and II (Pi) (3); Dave Holland, Uncharted Territories (Dare2).
Two lists follow: albums on the ballot that I've rated; albums on the ballot I haven't heard.
Albums on their ballot I've heard and graded (sorted by grade, then within grade alphabetically by artist) (83):
Albums on their ballot I haven't heard (22):
Historical Album (April 1, 2018-March 31, 2019): Eric Dolphy, Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance) (5); Thelonious Monk, Mřnk (Gearbox) (3); Art Pepper, Unreleased Art Pepper, Vol. 10: Bourbon Street-Toronto, June 16,1977 (Widow's Taste) (2).
The following is the same workout as with new records.
Albums on their ballot I've heard and graded (18/40, sorted by grade, then within grade alphabetically by artist):
Albums on their ballot I haven't heard (22/40):
Jazz Group: Mostly Other People Do the Killing (5), Microscopic Septet (3), Rova (2).
First pass: Claudia Quintet, Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Sound Prints Quintet, Medeski Martin & Wood, Myra Melford's Snowy Egret, Microscopic Septet, Rova, Sexmob, Henry Threadgill Zooid.
Rising Star Jazz Group: Mostly Other People Do the Killing (5), Sons of Kemet (3), Thumbscrew (2).
First pass: The Comet Is Coming, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, Săo Paulo Underground, Shabaka & the Ancestors, Sons of Kemet, The Thing, Thumbscrew, Trio M.
Big Band: Satoko Fujii Orchestra (5), Ken Vandermark's Resonance Ensemble (3), ICP Orchestra (2).
First pass: Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Steven Bernstein Millennial Territory Orchestra, Carla Bley with Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, Anthony Brown's Asian-American Jazz Orchestra, Peter Brötzmann Tentet, Anthony Brown's Asian-American Jazz Orchestra, Either/Orchestra, Satoko Fujii Orchestra, ICP Orchestra, London Jazz Composers Orchestra, William Parker & Little Huey, Adam Rudolph's Go: Organic Orchestra, Sun Ra Arkestra, Vienna Art Orchestra.
Rising Star Big Band: Ken Vandermark's Resonance Ensemble (5), Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit (3), Ghost Train Orchestra (2),
First pass: Ghost Train Orchestra, Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, Westchester Jazz Orchestra, Howard Wiley and the Angola Project. There must be some better choices somewhere.
Trumpet: Wadada Leo Smith (5), Kirk Knuffke (3), Taylor Ho Bynum (2).
First pass: Ralph Alessi, Steven Bernstein, Taylor Ho Bynum, Roy Campbell Jr. [still RIP], Dave Douglas, Jonathan Finlayson, Ingrid Jensen, Kirk Knuffke, Brian Lynch, Wynton Marsalis, Rob Mazurek, Ron Miles, Nils Petter Molvaer, Enrico Rava, Randy Sandke, Wadada Leo Smith, Terrell Stafford, Tomasz Stanko [RIP], Natsuki Tamura, David Weiss.
Rising Star Trumpet: Darren Johnston (5), Peter Evans (3), Matt Lavelle (2).
First pass: Joshua Berman, Peter Evans, Darren Johnston, Russ Johnson, Matt Lavelle, Corey Wilkes, Nate Wooley.
Trombone: Steve Swell (5), Joe Fiedler (3), Jeb Bishop (2).
First pass: Ray Anderson, Dan Barrett, Jeb Bishop, Luis Bonilla, Steve Davis, Joe Fiedler, Curtis Fowlkes, Jacob Garchik, Curtis Hasselbring, George Lewis, Phil Ranelin, Steve Swell, David Taylor, Steve Turre, Bill Watrous [RIP], Wolter Wierbos.
Rising Star Trombone: Joe Fiedler (5), Samuel Blaser (3), Michael Dessen (2).
First pass: Mats Aleklint, Samuel Blaser, Michael Dessen, Alan Ferber, Joe Fiedler, Rafi Malkiel, JC Sanford, Joey Sellers.
Soprano Saxophone: Jane Ira Bloom (5), Evan Parker (3), Sam Newsome (2).
First pass: Bruce Ackley, Jane Ira Bloom, John Butcher, Jan Garbarek, Vinny Golia, Dave Liebman, Roscoe Mitchell, Sam Newsome, Evan Parker, Wayne Shorter, Steve Slagle, Bob Wilber, Steve Wilson.
Rising Star Soprano Saxophone: Mike Ellis (5), Steven Lugerner (3), Jasmine Lovell-Smith (2).
First pass: Michael Blake, Mihaly Borbely, Mike Ellis, Jasmine Lovell-Smith, Steve Lugerner, Jason Robinson, Jürg Wickihalder.
Alto Saxophone: François Carrier (5), Oliver Lake (3), Miguel Zenón (2).
First pass: Gary Bartz, Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Rob Brown, Francois Carrier, Steve Coleman, Marty Ehrlich, Donald Harrison, Benjamin Herman, Vincent Herring, Jon Irabagon, Sherman Irby, Lee Konitz, Oliver Lake, Jeff Lederer, Steve Lehman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Joe McPhee, Charles McPherson, Michael Moore, Ted Nash, Greg Osby, Steve Slagle, Jim Snidero, Henry Threadgill, Bobby Watson, Steve Wilson, Miguel Zenón, John Zorn.
Rising Star Alto Saxophone: Dave Rempis (5), Peter Van Huffel (3). Aram Shelton (2).
First pass: Dmitri Baevsky, Andrew D'Angelo, Mike DiRubbo, Benjamin Herman, Peter Van Huffel, Dave Rempis, Matana Roberts, Aram Shelton, Greg Ward.
Tenor Saxophone: Ken Vandermark (5), Ivo Perelman (3), Ellery Eskelin (2).
First pass: Eric Alexander, Harry Allen, JD Allen, Jerry Bergonzi, Michael Blake, Seamus Blake, Peter Brötzmann, James Carter, Ellery Eskelin, Joel Frahm, Jan Garbarek, George Garzone, Charles Gayle, Jon Irabagon, Dave Liebman, Charles Lloyd, Joe Lovano, Tony Malaby, Branford Marsalis, Donny McCaslin, Joe McPhee, David Murray, Ted Nash, Larry Ochs, Evan Parker, Ivo Perelman, Houston Person, Chris Potter, Joshua Redman, Pharoah Sanders, Wayne Shorter, Chris Speed, Ken Vandermark, Tim Warfield, Ernie Watts.
Rising Star Tenor Saxophone: James Brandon Lewis (5), Rodrigo Amado (3), Josephine Davies (2).
First pass: Geof Bradfield, Abraham Burton, Josephine Davies, Keefe Jackson, James Brandon Lewis, Tivon Pennicott, Grant Stewart.
Baritone Saxophone: Mats Gustafsson (5), Brian Landrus (3), John Surman (2).
First pass: Tim Berne, Hamiet Bluiett [RIP], James Carter, Ronnie Cuber, Claire Daly, Charles Evans, Vinny Golia, Mats Gustafsson, Howard Johnson, Brian Landrus, Dave Rempis, Scott Robinson, Gary Smulyan, John Surman, Gebhard Ullman, Ken Vandermark.
Rising Star Baritone Saxophone: Mikko Innanen (5), Josh Sinton (3), Fredrik Ljungkvist (2).
First pass: Charles Evans, Mikko Innanen, Fredrik Ljungkvist, Chad Makela, Adam Schroeder, Josh Sinton.
Clarinet: Oscar Noriega (5), Marty Ehrlich (3), Michael Moore (2).
First pass: Andy Biskin, Don Byron, Evan Christopher, Anat Cohen, Eddie Daniels, Marty Ehrlich, Ben Goldberg, David Krakauer, Jeff Lederer, Michael Moore, Oscar Noriega, Ken Peplowski, Michel Portal, Perry Robinson [RIP], Ned Rothenberg, Louis Sclavis, Chris Speed, Jason Stein, Gianluigi Trovesi, Ken Vandermark, Mort Weiss, Bob Wilber.
Rising Star Clarinet: François Houle (5), Avram Fefer (3), Waclaw Zimpel (2).
First pass: Joachim Badenhorst, Avram Fefer, Darryl Harper, François Houle, Rudi Mahall, Aram Shelton.
Flute: Juhani Aaltonen (5), Nicole Mitchell (3), Henry Threadgill (2).
First pass: Juhani Aaltonen, Robert Dick, Kali Z. Fasteau, Nicole Mitchell, Roscoe Mitchell, James Newton, Lew Tabackin, Henry Threadgill, Dave Valentin.
Rising Star Flute: Anna Webber (5).
First pass: none (I only recognize Steve Adams among the 15 nominees, but half of the others are in my database).
Piano: Matthew Shipp (5), Satoko Fujii (3) Myra Melford (2).
First pass: Kenny Barron, George Cables, Uri Caine, Bill Charlap, Cyrus Chestnut, Marilyn Crispell, Kris Davis, Satoko Fujii, David Hazeltine, Fred Hersch, Dick Hyman, Abdullah Ibrahim, Ethan Iverson, Vijay Iyer, Ahmad Jamal, Keith Jarrett, Brad Mehldau, Myra Melford, Jason Moran, Renee Rosnes, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Matthew Shipp, Bobo Stenson, Craig Taborn, Cecil Taylor [RIP], Chucho Valdes, Randy Weston [RIP], Denny Zeitlin.
Rising Star Piano: Nik Bärtsch (5), Matt Mitchell (3), Matt Piet (2).
First pass: Ehud Asherie, Nik Bartsch, George Colligan, Benoit Delbecq, Danny Fox, Benito Gonzalez, Tord Gustavsen, Art Hirahara, Russ Lossing, Matt Mitchell, Aaron Parks, Matt Piet, Peter Zak.
Electronic Keyboard: Jamie Saft (5), Soren Kjaegaard (3), George Colligan (2).
First pass: Nik Bärtsch, Django Bates, Uri Caine, George Colligan, Soren Kjaegaard, John Medeski, Jamie Saft, Matthew Shipp, Craig Taborn, Gary Versace.
Rising Star Electronic Keyboard: Russ Lossing (5), Kit Downes (3), Zaccai Curtis (2).
First pass: Zaccai Curtis, Kit Downes, Russ Lossing.
Organ: Gary Versace (5), Brian Charette (3), John Medeski (2).
First pass: Carla Bley, Brian Charette, Joey DeFrancesco, Jared Gold, Larry Goldings, Mike LeDonne, John Medeski, Jamie Saft, Gary Versace.
Rising Star Organ: Alexander Hawkins (5), Greg Lewis (3), Vince Seneri (2).
First pass: Pat Bianchi, Alexander Hawkins, Greg Lewis, Wayne Peet, Vince Seneri.
Guitar: Mary Halvorson (5), Marc Ribot (3), Joe Morris (2).
First pass: Rez Abbasi, Howard Alden, Peter Bernstein, Nels Cline, Liberty Ellman, Bill Frisell, Mary Halvorson, Vic Juris, Steve Khan, Romero Lubambo, Russell Malone, John McLaughlin, Joe Morris, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Bucky Pizzarelli, Marc Ribot, John Scofield, Dave Stryker, James Blood Ulmer.
Rising Star Guitar: Samo Salamon (5), Gordon Grdina (3), Eric Hofbauer (2).
First pass: Will Bernard, Raoul Bjorkenheim, Paul Bollenback, Scott DuBois, Eric Hofbauer, Jon Lundbom, Pete McCann, Michael Musillami, Anders Nilsson, Miles Okazaki, Brandon Seabrook, Jacob Young.
Bass: William Parker (5), Reggie Workman (3), John Hébert (2).
First pass: Ben Allison, Arild Andersen, Michael Bisio, Ron Carter, Avishai Cohen, Greg Cohen, Scott Colley, Stephan Crump, Mark Dresser, Ray Drummond, Michael Formanek, Drew Gress, Barry Guy, John Hébert, Mark Helias, Dave Holland, Marc Johnson, Joëlle Léandre, Christian McBride, William Parker, Gary Peacock, Eric Revis, Peter Washington, Reggie Workman.
Rising Star Bass: Moppa Elliott (5), Ingebrigt Hĺker Flaten (3), Adam Lane (2).
First pass: Joshua Abrams, Pablo Aslan, Harrison Bankhead, Michael Bates, Carlos Bica, Matt Brewer, John Edwards, Moppa Elliott, Ingebrigt Hĺker Flaten, Devin Hoff, Adam Lane, Joelle Leandre, Lisa Mezzacappa, Matt Penman, Katie Thiroux, Per Zanussi.
Electric Bass: Steve Swallow (5), Jamaaladeen Tacuma (3), Stomu Takeishi (2).
First pass: Avishai Cohen, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Matthew Garrison, James Genus, Drew Gress, Charnett Moffett, Linda May Han Oh, John Patitucci, Steve Swallow, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Stomu Takeishi. Lots of double bassists have picked up the bass guitar, but I've found it hard to track and evaluate them.
Rising Star Electric Bass: Chris Morrissey (5), Nate McBride (3), Tommy Babin (2).
First pass: Tommy Babin, Nate McBride, Chris Morrissey.
Violin: Jason Kao Hwang (5), Jenny Scheinman (3), Charles Burnham (2).
First pass: Sam Bardfeld, Charles Burnham, Regina Carter, Jeff Gauthier, Jason Kao Hwang, Eyvind Kang, Carla Kihlstedt, Mat Maneri, Aaron Weinstein, Jenny Scheinman, Carlos Zingaro.
Rising Star Violin: Szilard Mezei (5), Jesse Zubot (3), Aaron Weinstein (2).
First pass: Sarah Bernstein, Szilard Mezei, Diane Monroe, Rob Thomas, Aaron Weinstein, Jesse Zubot.
Drums: Andrew Cyrille (5), Gerry Hemingway (3), Gerald Cleaver (2).
First pass: Barry Altschul, Joey Baron, Han Bennink, Jim Black, Michael Carvin, Gerald Cleaver, Andrew Cyrille, Jack DeJohnette, Hamid Drake, Peter Erskine, Joe Farnsworth, Billy Hart, Gerry Hemingway, John Hollenbeck, Paul Lovens, Billy Martin, Lewis Nash, Bobby Previte, Rudy Royston, Tyshawn Sorey, Bill Stewart, Nasheet Waits, Kenny Washington, Matt Wilson.
Rising Star Drums: Paal Nilssen-Love (5), Tim Daisy (3), Tomas Fujiwara (2).
First pass: Tim Daisy, Tomas Fujiwara, Devin Gray, Dave King, Makaya McCraven, Allison Miller, Paal Nilssen-Love, Kassa Overall, Stefan Pasborg, Mike Reed, Frank Rosaly, Ches Smith, Satoshi Takeishi, Chad Taylor, Dan Weiss.
Percussion: Han Bennink (5), Hamid Drake (3), Marilyn Mazur (2).
First pass: Han Bennink, Mino Cinelu, Hamid Drake, Kahil El'Zabar, Trilok Gurtu, Zakir Hussain, Susie Ibarra, Marilyn Mazur, Famoudou Don Moye, Leon Parker, Adam Rudolph, Warren Smith, Dan Weiss, Michael Zerang.
Rising Star Percussion: Kevin Diehl (5), Harris Eisenstadt (3), Lukas Ligeti (2).
First pass: Kevin Diehl, Harris Eisenstadt, Lukas Ligeti, Ravish Momin, Andi Pupato, Warren Smith, Okay Temiz.
Vibraphone: Karl Berger (5), Jason Adasiewicz (3), Warren Smith (2).
First pass: Jason Adasiewicz, Mulatu Astatke, Karl Berger, Gunter Hampel, Steve Hobbs, Khan Jamal, Terry Gibbs, Joe Locke, Mike Mainieri, Matt Moran, Steve Nelson, Kevin Norton, Warren Smith, Kenny Wollesen.
Rising Star Vibes: Mike Dillon (5), Yuhan Su (3).
First pass: Mike Dillon, Yuhan Su.
Miscellaneous Instrument: Tomeka Reid (cello) (5), Gary Versace (accordion) (3), Bob Stewart (tuba) (2).
First pass: Rabih Abou Khalil (oud), Edmar Castaneda (Colombian harp), Joseph Daley (tuba), Erik Friedlander (cello), Richard Galliano (accordion), Howard Johnson (tuba), Guy Klucevsek (accordion), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Grégoire Maret (harmonica), Myra Melford (harmonium), David Murray (bass clarinet), Tomeka Reid (cello), Ernst Reijseger (cello), Marcus Rojas (tuba), Colin Stetson (bass sax), Bob Stewart (tuba), Gebhard Ullmann (bass clarinet), Gary Versace (accordion).
Rising Star Miscellaneous Instrument: Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) (5), Theon Cross (tuba) (3), Andrea Parkins (accordion) (2).
First pass: Kyle Bruckmann (oboe), Theon Cross (tuba), Ben Goldberg (contra alto clarinet), Brian Landrus (bass clarinet), Okkyung Lee (cello), Peggy Lee (cello), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Rudi Mahall (bass clarinet), Andrea Parkins (accordion), Tomeka Reid (cello), Ernst Reijseger (cello), Marcus Rojas (tuba), Brandon Seabrook (banjo), Jason Stein (bass clarinet), Colin Stetson (bass sax), Katherine Young (bassoon).
Female Vocalist: Catherine Russell (5), Fay Victor (3), Sheila Jordan (2).
First pass: Dee Alexander, Patricia Barber, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jay Clayton, Leena Conquest, Lorraine Feather, Roberta Gambarini, Sheila Jordan, Stacey Kent, Diana Krall, René Marie, Barbara Morrison, Dianne Reeves, Catherine Russell, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Mary Stallings, Fay Victor, Cassandra Wilson.
Rising Star Female Vocalist: Fay Victor (5), Nicki Parrott (3), Lisa Sokolov (2).
First pass: Amy Allison, Yaala Ballin, Fay Claassen, Lorraine Feather, Heather Masse, Nellie McKay, Nicki Parrott, Lisa Sokolov, Fay Victor, Andrea Wolper.
Male Vocalist: Freddy Cole (5), James Blood Ulmer (3), Ed Reed (2).
First pass: Tony Bennett, Theo Bleckmann, Freddy Cole, Bob Dorough [RIP], Giacomo Gates, Ed Reed, James Blood Ulmer, Kenny Washington, Mark Winkler.
Rising Star Male Vocalist: Jamie Davis (5), Pete McGuinness (3), Frank Senior (2).
First pass: Jamie Davis, Pete McGuinness, Frank Senior.
Composer: Carla Bley (5), Moppa Elliott (3), John Hollenbeck (2).
First pass: Ben Allison, Carla Bley, Moppa Elliott, Dave Holland, John Hollenbeck, Steve Lehman, Rob Mazurek, Ted Nash, Wayne Shorter, Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Threadgill, John Zorn.
Rising Star Composer: Moppa Elliott (5), Ingrid Laubrock (3), Allison Miller (2).
First pass: Moppa Elliott, Ethan Iverson, Ingrid Laubrock, Allison Miller.
Arranger: Steven Bernstein (5), John Hollenbeck (3), Carla Bley (2).
First pass: Darcy James Argue, Steven Bernstein, Carla Bley, John Hollenbeck, Misha Mengelberg, Ted Nash, William Parker, Adam Rudolph, Ryan Truesdell, John Zorn.
Rising Star Arranger: Jonathan Finlayson (5), Allison Miller (3), Makaya McCraven (2).
First pass: none (but see above).
Record Label: Intakt (5), Pi Recordings (3), No Business (2).
First pass: Arbors, AUM Fidelity, Clean Feed, Cuneiform, Delmark, ECM, Enja, Firehouse 12, Fresh Sound New Talent, Gearbox Records, Greenleaf Music, HatHut, HighNote, Intakt, Leo, NoBusiness, Origin, Pi, Relative Pitch, RogueArt, Savant, Smoke Sessions, SteepleChase, Sunnyside, TUM, Tzadik.
Producer: John Zorn (5), Don Was (3), Gil Goldstein (2).
First pass: Matt Baltisaris, Mark Free, Gil Goldstein, Bill Laswell, Don Was, Nils Winther, John Zorn.
Rising Star Producer: Seth Rosner & Yulun Wang (5), Taylor Ho Bynum (3), John Corbett (2).
First pass: Taylor Ho Bynum, John Corbett, Pedro Costa, Liberty Ellman, Seth Rosner/Yulun Wang, Spike Wilner.
Blues Artist or Group: Maria Muldaur (5), Bettye LaVette (3), Otis Taylor (2).
First pass: Marcia Ball, Lurrie Bell, Eric Bibb, Elvin Bishop, Guy Davis, Sue Foley, Billy F. Gibbons, Buddy Guy, Bettye LaVette, Taj Mahal, Duke Robillard, Bobby Rush, Otis Taylor, James Blood Ulmer. I've written Muldaur in several times.
Blues Album (April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019): Maria Muldaur, Don't You Feel My Leg (Last Music Co.) (5). The only other records on the ballot that I've heard were graded B+(*), so they hardly seemed like credible choices. Bettye LaVette: Things Have Changed was graded A, but released 2018-03-30, so missed the eligibility window. I've also heard unnominated blues records by Marcia Ball [*], Jon Cleary [*], Sue Foley [***], Lonnie Holley [B], Wilko Johnson [**], and James Booker [**].
Records on the ballot that I have heard (4/49):
Records on the ballot that I haven't heard (45/49):
Beyond Artist of Group: Janelle Monáe (5); Willie Nelson (3); Noname (2).
First pass: Anderson .Paak, Laurie Anderson, Courtney Barnett, Rosanne Cash, Neneh Cherry, Ani DiFranco, Dr. John, Bob Dylan, Brian Eno, Aretha Franklin [RIP], Future, Jay Z, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kendrick Lamar, Bettye LaVette, Nellie McKay, Migos, Janelle Monáe, Mountain Goats, Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, Noname, Pusha T, Bonnie Raitt, Rihanna, Run the Jewels, Mavis Staples, Richard Thompson, Tom Waits, Kanye West, Lucinda Williams, Neil Young.
Beyond Album (April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019): Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer (Bad Boy/Atlantic) (5); John Prine, The Tree of Forgiveness (Oh Boy) (3); Pistol Annies, Interstate Gospel (RCA Nashville) (2). Again, this is limited to their ballot, and I just mechanically went down my 2018 non-jazz list for these picks (numbers 4, 6, 18; vs. 10, 39, 41 last year).
Records on the ballot that I've heard (26/52, 50.0%).
Records on the ballot that I haven't heard (26/52, 50.0%):
Downbeat Readers Poll