by Scott Gotschall
Congratulations to the IU faculty and alumni who were selected for the 2016 Downbeat Critics Poll! The full results can be found in the August 2016 issue of Downbeat.
Three current IU Jazz faculty made the Critics Poll. Wayne Wallace was listed for trombone, Dave Stryker was voted into the guitar category, and Walter Smith made the list for Rising Star – Tenor Saxophone. The Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet also was named in the Rising Star – Group category. The group features Jacobs School of Music faculty Wayne Wallace and Michael Spiro who are the directors of the IU Latin Jazz Ensemble.
IU alumni who made the Critics Poll as Established Artists include Randy Brecker (trumpet), Eric Alexander (tenor saxophone), Booker T. Jones (keyboard), and John Clayton (arranger). Scott Wendholt (trumpet), Roger Rosenberg (baritone saxophone), and Matt Mitchell (piano) were voted into the Critics Poll in the Rising Star section.
Alumna Sara Caswell deserves special mention for placing second in the Rising Star – Violin category. Sara has played with Esperanza Spalding, Bruce Springsteen, in the house band of Maya and Marty on NBC, and tours regularly with mandolinist Joe Brent’s group, 9 Horses.
The Critics Poll also recognized Hoagy Carmichael who was voted into the Veterans Committee Hall of Fame. This honor is conferred to artists who receive votes from 66% of the Veterans Committee. Carmichael was born in Bloomington and graduated from Indiana University with a law degree. He reported that the melody of “Stardust” came to him while he was walking on the campus of Indiana University. Carmichael also wrote other enduring classics such as “Georgia On My Mind”, “Skylark”, “Lazy River”, and “Rockin’ Chair”. His film career included playing the character “Smoke” in 1950’s Young Man With a Horn.