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

We are pleased to announce the arrival of the great jazz pianist, composer, band leader and educator Kenny Barron to Florida Tech as one of three judges at the American Jazz Pianist Competition Nov. 13 through 15, 2015.

Brian Gatchel, president of Atlantic Music Center in Melbourne, Florida and Dr.


Jeremy Siskind will join me tonight in a 3-part interview we recorded Saturday afternoon. We'll be talking about the American Jazz Pianist Competition, what it means to Central Florida, and how the community can get involved with this event. 

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.