The 2019 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Source: NPR.

The road to jazz stardom once ran straight through Miles Davis. You introduced yourself to audiences as a member of Miles’s band, and they knew who you were and what you could do when you formed your own. The lone alternative route was via John Coltrane or Art Blakey. No more — and not just because those patriarchs are gone and no one who’s come along since has achieved similar name recognition among the general public. Since 1965 or so, with the emergence of free and the intelligentsia’s embrace of rock and roll as worthy of serious discussion, jazz has splintered into so many different factions, and floated so far adrift of the pop-culture mainstream, that anything beyond a JazzTimes or Downbeat cover story seems out of reach today.

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