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Jazz: The Best of 2013

Joshua Redman
Joshua Redman

Regular !earshot jazz contributor and radio host Jim Dupuis rounds up the best Canadian Jazz of 2013.

By Jim Dupuis
Host of Jazz Notes,
92.5 FM, Kamloops, BC

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Instrumental Releases

1. Joshua Redman Walking Shadows  (Nonesuch Records)
Saxman Redman has added a string section to many of the tracks on this ballad laden CD. The opening track “The Folks Who Lived on the Hill” is simply stunning. His choice of composers range from Bach to John Mayer, with plenty more in between. He is accompanied by some of the best jazz musicians in Larry Grenadier, bass, Brad Mehldau, piano and Brian Blade drums.

2. Mimi Fox Solo Guitar Standards Old and New (Origin Records)
Fox offers up a mix of folk, pop and jazz standards. Her playing is exquisite. Favourite tracks are “Cry Me A River” and a somewhat odd version of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

3.Peter Bernstein with the Tilden Webb Trio Live at Cory Weeds’ Cellar Jazz Club (Cellar Live)
American guitarist Bernstein has that west coast sound that I could listen to for hours. He established an instant rapor with Webb’s Vancouver based trio and I have never heard them play better. Another gem from the soon to be closed Cellar Jazz Club.

4. Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra Habitat (Justin Time)
Little Chrissy can really compose, arrange and orchestrate a jazz orchestra. This all-star band includes her sister Ingrid on trumpet, her husband Joel Miller and Chet Doxas on saxes and about 15 others. Her contemporary jazz sound has some classical influences. This CD positively soars!

5. Wayne Shorter Without a Net (Blue Note Records)
An elder statesman in the jazz world, Shorter shows that he still has it. Plenty of improvisation here and some tracks even border on the avant-garde.  Excellent musicians from the Blue Note stable. The band is Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass and Brian Blade on drums and they get lots of room to play.

Vocal Releases

1. Cecile McLorin Salvant Woman Child (Justin Time)
Cecile McLorin Salvant is a 21st century woman who has Haiti and Florida in her background. If you didn’t know otherwise you would think that was a really good singer from the 1930s. Her Justin Time release Woman Child includes old jazz and blues covers from that era along with a haunting version of “What a Little Moonlight Can Do.” One of the best vocal albums I have heard in years.

2. Halie Loren Simply Love (Justin Time)
Loren’s latest effort offers a bit of everything including Latin, French, pop and jazz standards. Her usual beautiful phrasing is evident here. Included are a somewhat unusual arrangement of Carol King’s “I Feel the Earth Move” and jazz standards like “My Funny Valentine” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street.”

3. Thisbe Vos Under Your Spell (Independent)
Vos, the Dutch born, LA resident has put together a package of standards and originals with various backing. She can swing with the best of them and wrench out your heart with her interpretation of ballads. I was pleasantly surprised that her original compositions stood up favourably to the acknowledged standards. Check out “Just a Fool For You.”


4. Gavin Hope For All We Know (Slaight)
OMG, a male vocalist makes the list and he’s not a crooner. Hope is a former member of the legendary a capella group The Nylons. For this solo venture he enlisted the help of Bill King (another legend) who has come up with some wonderful arrangements of gospel, pop, R&B and jazz standards including “When Your Lover Has Gone”, “Alfie” and “Moon River.” Kings tasty playing and Hopes wonderful baritone make for a pleasurable listen.

5. Rebekah Bell To Watch Over Me (Independent)
Bell’s debut recording is a mixture of standards from tried and true composers that are sure to please both jazz fans and those checking out jazz for the first time. Her Vancouver band mates provide great backing and the piano of Bob Murphy is in fine form here. Joani Taylor did a great job producing this very likeable CD. This is not just a vocal album. The tracks contain many good solos.

Jim Dupuis is the host of Jazz Notes, now in it’s 13th year on Wed. 5-7 PM PT at

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