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Greg Bryant's Hot Five of 2023

Jazz host Greg Bryant
Joseph V. Labolito/Joseph V. Labolito
Veteran jazz broadcaster Greg Bryant is host of 'The Get Down,' Saturdays from 6 to 9 p.m.

Without question, 2023 gave us some great music. From new releases and debuts to limited reissues and archival finds, there was something special for almost anyone.

We asked our jazz hosts to give us their five favorite tracks of 2023, so have a listen and read what they have to say. With pleasure, we present WRTI's Hot Fives.

Vicente Archer, "Bye Nashville"

One listen will reveal that Short Stories, veteran bassist Vicente Archer's debut as a bandleader, is just the tip of the iceberg. As each song occupies its own neighborhood, the album does exceptionally well as a unified statement. "Bye, Nashville," is a standout tune with a cliche-free, contemporary vibe that makes a strong case for a full album in its lyrically groovy soundscape.

Johnathan Blake, "Groundhog Day"

The swing-bounce that Johnathan Blake's Pentad displays on "Groundhog Day" makes you want to listen to this track on repeat. The group marries sophistication and simplicity in a togetherness that is instructive and infectious.

Brian Blade, "Live By The Sword"

Quietly, Brian Blade had a prodigious 2023. The drummer-bandleader released two incredible albums that rank among his best works. The initial release, Now and Forevermore, tributes Bobby Hutcherson in the best way possible - with moving adaptations of Hutcherson originals alongside spirited new works such as the bandleader's riveting "Live By The Sword."

Adam Deitch, "Mushroom Gravy"

With so many of our Hammond heroes passing away in recent years, a casual observer might view the soul-jazz tradition as endangered. Drummer Adam Deitch's "Mushroom Gravy" is a strong reminder that soul-jazz is forever, and his quartet with organist Wil Blades, trumpeter Eric Bloom and saxophonist Ryan Zoidis knows the language inside and out.

Kris Davis, "The Dancer"

Holding a very slow and slinky groove is deceptively easy. Enough information is needed to make the song compelling in a linear way, but the slightest excess of information will destroy the foot-tapping factor almost instantly. Kris Davis and Diatom Ribbons' "The Dancer" is a masterclass in discipline and invention that checks all the boxes.

Greg Bryant has been a longtime curator of improvisational music as a broadcaster, writer, host and musician. As a young child, he began absorbing the artistry of Miles Davis, Les McCann, Jimmy Smith, James Brown, Ornette Coleman, Weather Report, and Jimi Hendrix via his parent's record collection. He was so moved by what he was experiencing that he took pride in relaying all of his discoveries with anyone who would listen.