DownBeat (styled in all caps) is an American music magazine devoted to “jazz, blues and beyond”, the last word indicating its expansion beyond the jazz realm which it covered exclusively in previous years. The publication was established in 1934 in Chicago, Illinois. It is named after the “downbeat” in music, also called “beat one”, or the first beat of a musical measure.
DownBeat publishes results of annual surveys of both its readers and critics in a variety of categories. The DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame includes winners from both the readers’ and critics’ poll. The results of the readers’ poll are published in the December issue, those of the critics’ poll in the August issue.
Popular features of DownBeat magazine include its “Reviews” section where jazz critics, using a ‘1-Star to 5-Star’ maximum rating system, rate the latest musical recordings, vintage recordings, and books; articles on individual musicians and music forms; and its famous “Blindfold Test” column, in a which a musician listens to records by other artists, tries to guess who they are, and rates them using the 5-star maximum rating system.
DownBeat was established in 1934 in Chicago, Illinois. In September 1939, the magazine announced that its circulation had increased from “a few hundred five years ago to more than 80,000 copies a month”, and that it would change from monthly to fortnightly from the following month. In 1972 the publisher of the magazine was Maher Publishers. In April 1979, DownBeat went to a monthly schedule for the first time since 1939.
In Summer 1960 DownBeat launched the Japanese edition.
DownBeat was named Jazz Publication of the Year in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021 by the Jazz Journalists Association.
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I think I bought the magazine because I was particularly interested in the article about Jimi Hendrix.
Downbeat … indispensable for understanding the history of Jazz !
The back of the magazine:
The official website: