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Dave Fries' Top 10 Albums Of 2013

Dave Fries of A Taste of Jazz's favorite albums of 2013, listed in no particular order: 

  • Dave Bennett's Don't Be That Way

Dave Bennett shows that his skills and interests go far beyond that of channeling any of his stylistic predecessors like Benny Goodman, Pete Fountain, Artie Shaw, et al. Once a member of the original Hot Club Detroit, Bennett stays within the mainstream repertoire, covering several go Goodman’s most famous records. This album blazes its own path with Dave’s clarinet skills while still paying tribute to his mentors.

  • Howard Britz's The Feeling of Jazz

A veteran of some 30 years as a working bassist and composer, Britz had increasingly felt restricted in his role on that instrument when playing his own compositions and musical concept. On this album he lays out his very personal vision of music for the soul.

  • Yellowjackets's A Rise In The Road

The mark of a truly great band is its ability to not only endure, but also to grow – grow its musical language, its audience and its capacity to continually amaze and surprise. The tunes are Yellowjackets-certified complex – laden with knuckle-busting time signatures and high-wire musicianship yet maintaining a connection with the listener with every note, every bar and each successive song.

  • Eliane Elias' I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker)

There is no question about it: pianist/vocalist Eliane Elias is amazingly versatile. Long known for her native feel of Brazilian music, this album truly demonstrates Elias’ expertise in yet another realm: an interpreter of American standards

  • Rich Thompson's Less Is More

It is not often that the lead man in a group is a drummer but that is most assuredly the case with drummer Rich Thompson who is the driving force behind this propulsive quartet recording that features a choice selection of tunes and exceptional soloists. This is one of those albums that has it all.

  • Phil Woods & The Festival Orchestra's New Celebration

Even though the ensemble and soloists are exemplary, what sets the album apart from most others are Woods' engaging compositions and arrangements, as persuasive as you are likely to hear on any big-band recording. There are ten tracks in all, and Woods wrote and scored the first eight.

  • New York Voices' New York Voices Live

The Grammy Award-winning vocal group New York Voices celebrates its 25th anniversary presenting their first full live album with New York Voices Live offering a collection of past favorites and brand new arrangements.

  • Christian McBride & Inside Straight's People Music

He has been called “the hardest-working man in showbiz. McBride brings back another installment of his acoustic jazz group, Inside Straight.  Never disappointing Christian McBride delivers!

  • Joe Clark Big Band's Lush

The title of this album is Lush. The word “lush” by itself can describe a man who drinks and becomes flirtatious, or it can depict something that is savory and appealing to the senses.  The album includes a little of both, with characters like the Femme Fatale living in an unwritten story set in the streets of New Orleans, along with some of the richest and most beautiful new music in the big band repertoire. The listener will quickly fall in love with Joe’s musical characters that show us humor, heartbreak, love, and beauty as their story unfolds.

  • Greg Hopkins Quintet + One's Reality Check

Trumpeter Greg Hopkins teams up with an ensemble of the highest order. I’m talking about musicians’ musicians – featuring tenor man Billy Pierce, veteran of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and the Tony Williams Quintet.

Love these albums? Have some favorites of your own? Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook!  Check out the full list of DJ countdowns for more WFIT favorites!