New School Alumni and Faculty Recognized 72 Times In 41 Different Categories

Jane Ira Bloom Plays Jazz
New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music professor Jane Ira Bloom was among those cited by Downbeat's Critics Poll

NEW YORK, July 29, 2013- 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.” In addition to the categories for straight Jazz musicians, the poll also includes categories for those performing “Blues and Beyond.” 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 a win for 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 in two Rising Star categories: Rising Star–Composer and Rising Star–Producer. Critically acclaimed pianist and New School alumnus Brad Mehldau was also featured in the August 2013 Downbeat issue for his performances at a four-night concert at the new SFJAZZ Center in April. The magazine praised Mehldau for his trademark “uncanny harmonic choices, melodic abstraction and left-and-right-handed independence.”

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 of New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music 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.

Founded in 1919, The New School was born out of principles of academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. Committed to social engagement, The New School today remains in the vanguard of innovation in higher education, with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students challenging the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The New School welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and calendar of lectures, screenings, readings, and concerts. Through its online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence. Learn more at



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