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Jae Sinnett's Top Jazz Picks of 2023

Photo by Alex Zamora on Unsplash.com

My Top Jazz Picks of 2023

10. Laila Biali - Your Requests

Fantastic and highly creative instrumental arrangements and Laila sings over them wonderfully. Her performances have seasoned pacing and variety.

9.Darcy James Argue's Secret Society - Dynamic Maximum Tension

Large ensemble with quirky visionary arrangements structured with voice part writing hipness...played with on-point intonation and spirited fun. A Modern-day jazz orchestra that brings in some new.

8. Shuteen Erdenebaatar Quartet - Rising Sun

The young pianist has a fantastic quartet that plays her writing and concept perfectly. A jazz composer to watch...and listen to.

7. Maciej Obara Quartet - Frozen Silence

Beautifully ethereal and introspective. Classic ECM sound. I love this quartet. It's about concept. Lyrical and melodic and rhythmically adventurous and deep.

6. Ted Piltzecker - Vibes On A Breath

Thought-provoking arrangements on mostly familiar material offering surprising twists. The originals are layered with sonic beauty and sophistication.

5. Doug Beavers - Luna

Writing, writing, writing. Did I say writing? Oh, arranging, arranging and arranging too. Outstanding layers with the large ensemble played perfectly with soul and vision. Another composer that deserves more attention.

4. Manuel Valera Quintet - Vessel

One of the great pianists playing today. Literally, the guy can play anything...perfectly...while swingin' his boomboom off. That's a dangerous combo. In a good way of course. Don't underestimate his writing too.

3. Sean Mason - The Southern Suite

Great record! Has everything I look for in a jazz recording. Great visionary writing, swingin, fantastic ensemble playing that's void of clichés and the record is sonically wonderful. Masterfully recorded.

2. Oscar Peterson Trio - Con Alma

Well, it's Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. Enough could be said there but some history. It's a never-before-released performance of a 1964 live concert in Switzerland. The trio was on fire!!! No doubt one of the greatest jazz ensembles to ever have play this great music.

1. Vince Mendoza and the Metropole Orkest - Olympians

My top jazz pick of 2023. I've listened to Vince Mendoza since his 1990 Start Here release and not one single recording since has disappointed me. He's a brilliant composer, arranger and orchestrator. He hears it differently. His compositions aren't harmonically traditionally structured. I imagine it creates some interesting obstacles for the soloist. Ha! He lives in these unique musical cracks and everything is played with keen nuances and focus. It's HIS sound which is rich in melodic beauty and harmonic depth. That's the beauty. HIS voice. HIS vision and it's an amazing thing really. The big band inside the orchestra is a match made in musical heaven with his music. I don't think anyone out here merges the concepts as well as Vince Mendoza. Olympians is the definition of the melodic, rhythmic and harmonic masterpiece.

Jae Sinnett hosts Sinnett in Session, The R&B Chronicles, and Students in Session on WHRV FM.  He also shares his love of the culinary arts on Cooking with Jae on Facebook every Sunday at 6 p.m. Plus, catch up with past episodes