The Winners: 2023 Albums of the Year

Aaaaand that’s a wrap! The voting ballot is closed, your voices have been heard and recorded. Below you can find all of the Winners for our Album of the Year Awards 2023.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote during this process. We take great pleasure in looking back over the year of fantastic DSD music that we are able to promote, and we are happy that you do as well.

A very big Thank You to NativeDSD Senior Reviewer Bill Dodd and Technical Advisor Brian Moura for their contributions to the AOTY Awards process, and for their efforts in general. NativeDSD would not be what it is without them.

We once again applaud all of the Nominees for AOTY 2024. Just being nominated is a token of excellence in DSD Audio Quality, and with so many great albums this year it was hard to even choose the Nominees!

But this article is about our most exceptional… our 2024 Album of the Year WINNERS!

Best of all, these albums are available at 35% Off through January 31st, 2024 as part of the Album of the Year sale.  Another incentive to read the list and add to your DSD collection right away.

Album of the Year 2024 Winners

35% Off

Soloist with Orchestra (Bill Dodd)

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3

Anna Fedorova, Sinfonie Orchester St. Gallen, Modestas Pitrenas
Channel Classics – 45023

I’ll defer to Rush Paul, from his review on Positive Feedback: Her delivery is not bravura for it’s own sake. It’s is never a matter of “look at me, hear what I can do” – it is always “listen to what Rachmaninoff is sharing with us.”  Listen to the samples!

World Music (Brian Moura)

Hemdat-Avot (Father’s Grace)

Iggy Dayan
Regga Records – REG001

The first release at NativeDSD from Regga Records was this album of Hebrew music performed solely with Acoustic Guitar and Vocals. This focuses your attention on the lyrics and heartfelt feeling behind the singer’s interpretation of each song. Truly an album to listen to in a quiet reflective setting. It was one of 2023’s Best Selling Albums at NativeDSD and the one with the most listener 5-Star reviews. 

Orchestral (Bill Dodd)

Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra

Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Karina Canellakis
Pentatone – PTC5187027

Karina Canellakis is a rising star in the rarefied world of conductors, and she conducts an excellent Bartok Concerto for Orchestra, and his Four Orchestral Pieces.  She gets below the surface of this music and brings it home.

Jazz Solo Instrumental (Brian Moura)

Autumn Rain In A Secret Garden (Pure DSD)

Csaba Pengo
Hunnia Records – HRES2313

This album features 12 original tracks composed and played by Csaba Pengo on Double Bass. In the liner notes, Pengo says that he rehearses each song before recording and he pays close attention to every note. Stopping the recording and starting again if something is not just right. His attention to detail and exploration of what is musically possible with the Double Bass is what makes this album special. It is also a showcase for recording in the Stereo Pure DSD 256 format delivering detail and dynamic range that will test the finest of audio systems. If you missed this album when it was released earlier this year, be sure to download a copy now.

Jazz Duo (Brian Moura)

Crescent: Music of John Coltrane

Atzko Kohashi & Tony Overwater
Sound Liaison – SL1060A

Recorded during the Covid pandemic, Crescent features pianist Atzko Kohashi and double bass player Tony Overwater, two very familiar and prolific Jazz musicians that each have multiple albums in the NativeDSD catalog.  On this album they perform four songs from John Coltrane as well as classics from Bob Haggard, Charlie Haden and Jules Styne plus a track written by Tony Overwater. The album gives chances for both members of the duo to shine in a well-recorded and enjoyable release.

Latin Music (Brian Moura)

Cuban Fantasy

Witmer Trio with Jan-Luc Eendenburg
Sound Liaison – SL1061A

After delving into the world of Soul Classics of the ‘70s and ‘80s in their earlier album Free: Soulful Piano Reflections, the Witmer Trio brought us an album of Latin American Music in 2023 titled Cuban Fantasy. The album is said to be a return to the trio’s origins that focused on musical styles including salsa, cha-cha, bolero, bachata, and cumbia. The playing on the album shows a familiarity and ease with the music from a very talented trio. Adding to the performances is an excellent Stereo recording and special guest Jan-Luc van Eendenburg on congas and bongos. It is just the thing for a relaxing listen.

Jazz Trio (Brian Moura)

Synchronicity: An Interpretation of the album by The Police

Hazelrigg Brothers
Outer Marker Records – OM01100H

The Hazelrigg Brothers is a Jazz Trio featuring brothers George Hazelrigg on Piano and Geoff Hazelrigg on Bass plus John O’Reilly Jr. on Drums. In addition to their musical adventures as a Jazz Trio, the two brothers are also known in the music industry for their hand made recording studio gear under the brand name Hazelrigg Industries.  On Synchronicity, the trio pays tribute to the classic album by The Police on its 40th Anniversary with some very interesting new arrangements for Jazz Trio. Recorded Live to Stereo DSD 128 with two Stereo Microphones, the album is destined to be an audiophile favorite for its excellent detail, sonic quality, and performances. Not to mention fans of The Police and Jazz improvisation.  Easily one of the year’s best releases at NativeDSD.

Jazz Fusion (Brian Moura)

File Under Zawinul: The Music of Weather Repor

The Syndicate
Hunnia Records – HRES1201

The title of this album says it all. File Under Zawinul is a tribute to the music of Joe Zawinul, the leader and co-founder of the Jazz Fusion group Weather Report. The Syndicate is an 8-member band that Zawinul formed after the breakup of Weather Report. On what would have been Zaminul’s 80th birthday, members of the band recorded an album of songs – all written by their inspirational leader. The album is clearly influenced by his music and will bring back fond moments and memories of this Jazz Fusion giant.

Solo Instrumental (Bill Dodd)


Sebastian Stanley
HR Recordigs – E225HR

British Pianist Sebastian Stanley shows a true commitment to Rachmanioff with fine readings of the Variations On A Theme By Chopin, 3 Nocturnes, and others.  He is able to find the true emotions of these pieces without sentimentality.  Very impressive!

Opera (Bill Dodd)

Verdi: Otello

London Symphony and Chorus, Sir Colin Davis, Simon O’Neill (tenor), Gerald Finley (bass-baritone), Anne Schwanewilms (soprano)
LSO Live – LSO0200D

Amazing reviews from respected sources single out Finley and O’Neill in their roles, and an exciting, dramatic performance conducted by Sir Colin Davis.  This is a top choice for Verdi’s Otello!  

Vocal (non-classical) (Brian Moura)

Modern Cool

Patricia Barber
Impex Records – IMP7003

Grammy Award-Winning Album

Patricia Barber’s Modern Cool album is an audiophile classic that has been previously released on Stereo CD, Stereo SACD and Blu-Ray Audio disc. NativeDSD has partnered with Impex Records to bring the album to our listeners in an Exclusive Early Release in Stereo and 5.1 Channel Surround Sound DSD and DXD. Co-Producer and Recording Engineer Jim Anderson says, “This release of Modern Cool faithfully reproduces the original Stereo & 5.1 Surround Sound editions of the album.”  Featuring Barber’s performance of Light My Fire – first made popular by The Doors, listeners will enjoy over an hour of fine music. It is a must-buy album for Patricia Barber fans. 

Big Band & Swing (Brian Moura)

Yerba Buena Bounce

Hot Club of San Francisco with David Grisman & Seth Asarno
Reference Recordings – RR109

Gypsy Jazz is wonderfully captured in this album by The Hot Club of San Francisco with guest artists David Grisman on Mandolin and Seth Asarno on percussion.  In addition to performances of the music of Django Reinhardt, the album also features Swing Jazz arrangements of Norman Gimble’s classic Sway, The Beatles I’m Happy Just To Dance With You and the title track Yerba Buena Bounce.  It’s an album guaranteed to put a smile on your face as you enjoy the music.

Chamber Music (Bill Dodd)

Bach: Goldberg Variations Reimagined

Rachel Podger, Chad Kelly, Brecon Baroque 
Channel Classics – 44923

Another album that brings some fresh air to a old favorite!  As David Barker wrote for MusicWeb International,  “Goldberg meets Brandenburg in a very succesful merger.”  Chad Kelly has arranged the Goldberg Variations for Keyboard for chamber orchestra.  There have been other “arrangements” of the Goldbergs, but this one glows with the talents of Rachel Podger and the marvelous chamber orchestra, Brecon Baroque.  

Rock (David Hopkins)

Anyway, Still

Exit North
SDM&LiveRec – SDSD1069

This cinematic rock album will take you on a journey – turn the lights low and buckle up for the ride! Thomas Feiner’s hauntingly rich vocals keep you curious and on edge throughout, while the piano, steady rhythmic synths and string section drive the songs along in a storyline of sound.

Vocal (classical) (Bill Dodd)

Folk Songs

Magdalena Kozena, Czech Philharmoic, Sir Simon Rattle
Pentatone – PTC5187075

“Folk Songs” with collections by Bartok, Berio, Ravel, and Montsalvatge.  Magdalena Kozena’s mezzo soprano seems perfect for these songs.  Sir Simon’s accompaniment is excellent.  The Pentatone recording is excellent.

Film Music (Brian Moura)

John Williams At The Movies

The Dallas Winds conducted by Jerry Junkin with Christopher Martin (trumpet)
Reference Recordings – RR142

One of 2023’s Best Selling Albums at NativeDSD features 13 of the best-known Movie and TV Themes composed by John Williams.  The performances by The Dallas Winds with Trumpeter Christopher Martin will bring back memories from The Olympics, Star Wars, Superman, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and several more.  A fine album to add to your DSD collection. 

Thank You for Voting!

Every Winning Album is now on special!
35% Off until February 01, 2024

*Discount is applied automatically at checkout.
*Offer valid through January 31, 2024 end of day Central European Time.
*Offer only valid on AOTY 2024 Winners

The NativeDSD Team would like to thank Bill Dodd and Brian Moura for having spent an eternity listening to all of the albums released in 2023, and for selecting the albums they believe you should not miss.

Written by

David Hopkins

David is NativeDSD’s Product and Communication Manager. He grew up writing songs, playing guitar and drums. Working with musicians in studio to produce records as a recording engineer and producer, he produced music for numerous commercials for Pulse Content, and organised numerous music events and concerts.


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