Dave Fries

A Taste of Jazz Host

My childhood was filled with the big band sounds of Louie Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and Bunny Berigan blaring from the radio or my grandmother’s 78-rpm records.  Then we got a TV with a round, 10-inch, black & white screen, and we could see and hear the Ed Sullivan Show.  Legendary performances by guests like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Prima and Keely Smith opened up a new world of music to me.

By the late 1950’s, I was hanging out at local radio stations nights and weekends.  The DJs would teach me how to cue records, run the ‘board’, collect news, and put it all together.  My first radio gig was in Selma, Alabama, where I earned $32 a week.  After several radio gigs at various stations, I went back to school to learn computer programming.  35 years later, I retired from the IT arena and returned to my true love as a volunteer DJ here at WFIT public radio.

Our weekly show, as the name suggests, offers a tasteful sampling of the jazz genre.  We play contemporary jazz groups, both small and large; bebop, big bands, Latin jazz, classics from the masters, and the up and coming young lions of today. But my favorites are still the good ol' straight-ahead jazz and swing - they keep my feet tapping and a smile on my face!

Ways To Connect

Jennifer Glass will be the featured guest on A Taste of Jazz this Monday evening at 7:00. Jennifer became known nationwide in 2003 with her song Dreamin that hit the radio and club scene like a hurricane.

In 2008 she signed a record contract and began development on a new album. At the end of that year and before the album was complete the label owner died shutting down the label and ending her record deal.

Lenore Raphael is a jazz pianist and educator heavily influenced by Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and George Shearing. On Monday, February 16, 2015 Lenore along with bassist Ron Pirtle and drummer Casey Dodd appeared in an intimate trio setting at the WFIT on-air studio with Taste of Jazz host Dave Fries for a 50 minute performance.

A Taste of Jazz welcomes critically acclaimed Lenore Raphael to the studio on Monday, February 16 at 7 p.m. Host Dave Fries will conduct a short interview which will be followed by a 45 minute set with Lenore and her trio.

Lenore Raphael has been described as one the most swinging mainstream pianists today. Having been influenced by Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell and Bill Evans, Lenore has combined those styles and created her very own recognizable sound.

On November 1st and 2nd, the nation's top ten young jazz pianists competed for over $10,000.00 in prizes in Gleason Performing Arts Center on the Florida Tech campus in the first EVER American Jazz Pianist Competition.  Here are interviews and performances from the 5 finalists.

Gill Scott Chapman, 24, NJ - “ Being involved with the AJPC will help to accelerate my musical career, while also helping me to achieve some of the lofty goals I have set for myself in the process.”

This Monday, October 20, at 7 p.m., Dave Fries will present an in-depth interview with Jeremy Siskind on A Taste of Jazz. Siskind is winner of the Nottingham International Jazz Competition, a second-place finisher in the Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition, a two-time finalist for the American Pianist Association’s Cole Porter Fellowship, and a two-time time second-place finisher at the Phillips Jazz Competition.