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J. Michael Harrison's Hot Five of 2023

2022_10_10 WRTI
Joseph V. Labolito/Joseph V. Labolito
2022_10_10 WRTI

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.

Richie Goods & Chien Chien Lu, “Dull Ice Flower”

Chien Chien Lu and Richie Goods’ connected project was born during the darkest days of the pandemic and has emerged as a bit of a silver lining. Their wonderful debut release features quite a few selections that I enjoy, but their “Dull Ice Flower” has generated an elevated level of excitement and continues to provide bright moments each time I hear it.

Greg Osby, “Once Known”

Greg Osby, "Once Known"

During his expansive musical career, gifted saxophonist Greg Osby has released several dozen albums and has performed with some of the most storied musicians that the world has seen and heard. His newest release titled Minimalism has been a long time coming and after listening to it for a couple of months, is well worth the wait. I’ve grown a strong attachment to his tune “Once Known” and have a feeling that you may as well.

Lonnie Liston Smith, “Cosmic Changes”

I’ve been a huge fan of the recordings that Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge have presented as part of the Jazz Is Dead series of releases. From Brian Jackson and Jean Carne to Azimuth and Gary Bartz, it’s been great to hear these offerings. As a longtime fan of Lonnie Liston Smith, Jazz Is Dead #17 in the series has found a soft spot in my heart. Listening to his “Cosmic Changes “ catapults me back several decades to the summers of my youth that were filled with music discovery.

Lisa Marie Simmons, “Can We Agree?”

From time to time you come across a tune from an ensemble that you’ve never heard before that stops you in your tracks. Well, this song recently made its way into my orbit and has become an instant favorite! NoteSpeak 12 has a wonderful sound and this selection has emerged as my favorite track on their latest recording. Lisa Marie Simmons functions exquisitely out front on vocals and the band led by Marco Cremaschini is the excellent compliment to her efforts.

Bethlehem & Sad Patrick, “Come and Get My Love”

This tune marks a wonderful moment in the ascension of the truly unique creative experience, known as Bethlehem & Sad Patrick. Their latest album, This Is What We Do is filled with selections that well represent the study progression in the delivery of their brand of music. Their “Come and Get My Love” grabs hold, pulls you in and introduces you to a world where love is a constant.

J. Michael Harrison’s first radio show, WPEB’s “Is That Jazz” launched in June of 1993. In 1994 he began volunteering with WRTI as a production assistant. In 1996, J. Michael debuted his own program, The Bridge, which continues to air Friday evenings on WRTI.