The Sunday Jazz Brunch Presents

Best of 2023

Air Date: 1/14/2024 on 90.5 WICN 8am-12pm ET

It's time to look back at the best jazz releases of 2023. In that year I played approximately 200 new CDs. I suppose it is obvious, but just to be clear, my list represents the best from this group, and excludes CDs that we didn't receive, of which I am sure there are many.

You might like to take a look at a prior 'best of' show where I laid out my philosophy (if I may use so grand a term!) behind this list. 

Don't miss this show. As a jazz lover, you owe it to yourself to hear the best of the latest material.

 Tune in Sunday 8:00AM ET 

to hear the best jazz of 2023.

And now for our annual tradition. I present to you, in play order, the Sunday Jazz Brunch Best of 2023.


Sam Taylor: Let Go  Saxophonist with big Ben-Webster-type sound.

Darmon Meader: Losing My Mind  Singer/instrumentalist from New York Voices in solo project. See previous blog.

Debut: John Lee
John Lee: The Artist  Multi-instrumentalist plays bass on debut CD. See previous blog.

Janet Evra: Meet Me In Paris   Bassist and vocalist sings French standards.

Ed Cherry: Are We There Yet? Sweet licks from longtime jazz guitarist.

Eric Reed: Black Brown and Blue  Another great release from piano master. See previous blog.

Buster Williams: Unalome Another great release from bass master.

Armagos: 7 Times in America: Instrospective jazz piano from Greece.

Mason Razavi: Six String Standards Chord-melody guitarist, like Joe Pass.

Jason Kush: Finally Friday Saxophonist anticipates performing on weekends.

Pierre Chambers: Shining Moments Vocalist son of Paul Chambers in superb debut CD. Listen to Musician's Corner.

Debut: Paul Chambers
Dizzy & Fay: Hooked You will be too.

Chris Keefe: Opening I love this piano trio. Listen to Musician's Corner.

Ken Fowser: Resolution Tenor saxophonist with original songs written during the pandemic.

Noah Haidu: Standards All star lineup, including Buster Williams, for the pianist. Listen to Musician's Corner.

Affinity Trio: Hindsight Trumpet-led trio featuring Eric Jacobson.

Aaron Diehl: Zodiac Suite  Mary Lou Williams' synthesis of jazz and classical, with strings.

Brad  Turner: The Magnificent Well, it is pretty good!

Joshua Redman: where are we Sax man includes fine vocalist Gabrielle Cavassa.

Robin McKelle: Impressions of Ella Just wow.

Linda Purl: This Could Be the Start Wow on this one, too.

Chris Botti: Vol 1  More soulful trumpet from the troubadour.

Nick Green: Green on the Scene  Scorching bebop alto saxophone.

Joe Locascio: November The Music of Phil Gurlik If you like Steve Kuhn, you'll like Joe. Listen to Musician's Corner.

Mike Melito: To Swing is The Thing Swing hard with this bebop unit featuring the drummer. Listen to Musician's Corner.

Gabriel Espinosa: Bossas and Boleros Another great release from the pianist/composer/arranger.

Michael Morreale: The Piano Album Vol VI I like the trumpet album but I like the piano album even more! Listen to Musician's Corner.

Mafalda Minnozzi: Natural Impression Internationally recognized vocalist in another Brazilian entry. Listen to Musician's Corner.

Jocelyn Gould: Sonic Bouquet Joining forces with Randy Napoleon for tasty guitar.

Roberto Menescal: Nos Eo Mar Another great release from the pianist/composer/arranger/vocalist.

Ivan Lins: My Heart Speaks  This guy just blows me away.

Antonio Adolfo: Bossa 65 Right on schedule (every year), always a pleasure to listen. Listen to Musician's Corner.

Don Braden: Earth Wind And Wonder Volume 2 Software engineer/saxophonist pays tribute.

Debbie Spring: Tocamos  Viola anyone? Listen to Musician's Corner.

Sarah McKenzie: Without You Haunting vocals.

Walter Smith III: return to casual An interesting mix.

Diego Figueiredo: My World Simply a great Brazilian guitarist.

Brian Simpson: Soul Connection Always feelin' good.

Incognito: Into You Quite a good release.

Benny Benack III
Benny Benack III: Third Time's The Charm A tremendous talent, going places. Listen to Musician's Corner.

Euge Groove: Comfort Zone Always a treat to listen and move.

Kombo - Pedley and Pondel: This is the Good One Yes it is.

Gaea Schell: In Your Own Sweet Way Talented pianist/flutist in trio. Listen to Musician's Corner.

Jeff Lorber Fusion: The Drop Need some energy?

Haver Hellmaier: X-Man in New York Heavy-duty straight-ahead drumming.

The 3 Keys: We 3 Keys: Well-executed groove.

Buzz Amato: Muse Cafe Lots of hooks will hook you. Listen to Musician's Corner.

Kayla Waters: Presence Rising Star.

Rachael and Vilray:  I Love a Love Song Clever and very musical.


Happy Jazzy New Year, and best wishes for a great 2024!


Illustration by Graph+sas, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

HOUR ONE: Contemplative Morning

Sam Taylor\Let Go 2023\Angel Face
Darmon Meader\Losing My Mind 2023\Gaia's Lament
John Lee\The Artist 2023\Life is a Beautiful Thing
Janet Evra\Meet Me In Paris 2023\C'Est Si Bon

Ed Cherry\Are We There Yet 2023\Lawns
Eric Reed\Black Brown and Blue 2023\Cheryl Ann
Buster Williams\Unalome 2023\The Wisdom of Silence
Armagos\7 Times in America 2023\Treasure Island

Mason Razavi\Six String Standards 2023\Stompin' at the Savoy
Jason Kush\Finally Friday 2023\Easy Going
Pierre Chambers\Shining Moments 2023\My SHining Hour
Dizzy & Fay\Hooked 2023\I'm Alright

HOUR TWO: New For You

Chris Keefe\Opening 2023\Along Came Betty
Ken Fowser\Resolution 2023\2020
Noah Haidu\Standards 2023\Last Dance I
Affinity Trio\Hindsight 2023\Hindsight

Aaron Diehl\Zodiac Suite 2023\Sagittarius
Brad  Turner\The Magnificent 2023\You're OK
Joshua Redman\where are we 2023\where are you feat Gabrielle Cavassa
Robin McKelle\Impressions of Ella 2023\How High the Moon
Linda Purl\This Could Be the Start 2023\Dream Dancing

Chris Botti\Vol 1 2023\Danny Boy
Nick Green\Green on the Scene 2023\A Tear and A Smile
Joe Locascio\November The Music of Phil Gurlik 2023\Ashes
Mike Melito\To Swing is The Thing 2023\Big Red

HOUR THREE: Brazil/World

Gabriel Espinosa\Bossas and Boleros 2023\Track 3
Michael Morreale-The Piano Album Vol VI 2023-13 An Affair to Remember
Mafalda Minnozzi\Natural Impression 2023\Bruma
Jocelyn Gould-Sonic Bouquet 2023-06 Spring Regardless

Roberto Menescal-Nosd Eo Mar 2023-05 Noe E O Mar
Ivan Lins\My Heart Speaks 2023\The Heart Speaks (Antes e Depois) Feat Dianne Reeves
Antonio Adolfo-Bossa 65 2023-05 Maria Moita (Maria Shut-Mouth)
Don Braden-Earth Wind And Wonder Volume 2 2023-06 Bird Of Beauty

Debbie Spring\Tocamos 2023\Bossa Minha
Sarah McKenzie\Without You 2023\Without You
Walter Smith III-return to casual 2023-09 K8 + BYU$
Diego Figueiredo\My World 2023\Malandrinho

HOUR FOUR: Groove, Baby

Brian Simpson\Soul Connection 2023\Going Home
Incognito-Into You 2023-06 The Lowrider
Benny Benack III\Third Time's The Charm 2023\Jade
Euge Groove\Comfort Zone 2023\Caminito

Kombo - Pedley and Pondel-This is the Good One 2023-02 Wind it Up
Gaea Schell\In Your Own Sweet Way 2023\Sweet and Lovely
Jeff Lorber Fusion-The Drop 2023-04 On the Bus
Haver Hellmaier\X-Man in New York 2023\Tune Up
Incognito-Into You 2023-09 Come to Me

The 3 Keys-We 3 Keys 2023-02 Piano Bar
Buzz Amato\Muse Cafe 2023\Muse Cafe
Kayla Waters\Presence 2023
Rachael and Vilray-I Love a Love Song 2023-09 A love Song Played Slow


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