WWOZ Hosts' Favorite Recordings of 2018

Published on: December 11th, 2018

WWOZ's show hosts have begun compiling lists of their favorite CDs of 2018. Let those-in-the-know point you to the latest great tunes and help you catch up on what you might have missed.

T.R. Johnson | Jennifer Brady | Charles Laborde & Jim Hobbs | Andrew Grafe | Allan Laskey | Sondra Bibb | Old Man River | Duane Williams | Boudin Man | Breaux Bridges


T.R. Johnson, host of the Tuesday edition of Jazz from the French Market, 4-7p

Top 10 for 2018:
1. Makaya McCraven’s "Universal Beings"
2. Cecile McLorin Salvant’s "The Window"
3. Christian Sands "Facing Dragons"
4. James Brandon Lewis "Radiant Imprints"
5. Steve Coleman "Live at the Village Vanguard"
6. Kat Edmonson "Old Fashioned Gal"
7. Walter Wolfman Washington "My Future is My Past"
8. Josh Redman "Still Dreaming"
9. The Nels Cline 4 "Currents, Constellations"
10. Chick Corea and Steve Gladd "Chines Butterfly"

And very honorable mentions go to (in alphabetical order). . .
"Earth Wind and Wonder" by Don Braden
"Far From Over" by Vijay Iyer Sextet
"Flight" by James Francies
"Freebird" by Walking Distance
"Live Constructions" by Daniel Carter
"Love Stone" by J. D. Allen
"Neospectric" by Max Moran’s Neospectric
"Scandal" by Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas
"Science Fair" by Allison Miller
"Sonic Creed" by Stefon Harris’s Blackout
"3 Times Round" by Jonathan Finlayson
"The Painted Lady Suite" by Michael Leonhart’s Orchestra


Jennifer Brady, host of the The Midnight Cap with Jennifer Brady, Saturdays, MIDNIGHT - 3am

Favorite 2018 releases;

1. Imarhan, Temet - Discovered this Algerian Tuareg desert rock quintet when they came to New Orleans in the spring and they are tremendous.

2. Meshell Ndegeocello, Ventriloquism - Much anticipated and did not disappoint.

3. Jon Batiste, Hollywood Africans - Love it.

4. Natalia Lafourcade, Musas: Un Homenaje al Folclore Latinoamericano en Manos de Los Macorinos, Vol 2 - Transports you to a beautiful place.

5. The Oxford American’s 20th Annual Southern Music CD - Sun Ra, Ruby Johnson, Link Wray - a great mix of genres and selections from North Carolina.


Charles Laborde and Jim Hobbs, hosts of the The Cajun and Zydeco with Charles Laborde & Jim Hobbs, Sundays, NOON - 2pm

Best Cajun/Creole/zydeco CDs of 2018

Sean Ardoin. Kreole Rock and Soul. Louisiana Red Hot Records. Nominated for a Regional Roots Grammy Award as "Kick Rocks," which is the name of the first track.

Chubby Carriere & the Bayou Swamp Band. Black Pot. Swampadelic. Previous Grammy winner back with a whole batch of original songs.

Michot's Melody Makers. Blood Moon. Sinking City Records. Louis Michot's project recasts traditional songs as Cajun French rock. Includes collaborator Spider Stacy of the Pogues.

Blake Miller & the Old-Fashioned Aces. Quelle Belle Journeé. Self-released. Traditional songs by giants Adam Hebert, Freeman Fontenot, D. L. Menard, Belton Richard and more alongside two Miller originals.

Kevin Naquin. Man in the Mirror. Swallow. With regular band member Beau Thomas, and special guests pedal steel guitar whiz Richard Comeaux and John Trahan.

Jourdan Thibodeaux et les Rôdailleurs. Boue, Boucane, et Bouteilles. Valcour. Meaning "Mud, Smoke, and Bottles," this is all original music in Cajun French with Creole style fiddle, both classic and progressive. Musicians include Joel Savoy and Cedric Watson.

Various artists. Travailler, C'Est Trop Dur: The Lyrical Legacy of Caesar Vincent. Swallow. (2 CD set) Though he didn't live to see it, Vincent created what is today one of the most popular Francophone songs in the world, "Travailler, C'Est Trop Dur." Includes some original recordings by Caesar Vincent dubbed with modern musicians as well as the best covers of Vincent songs by Zachary Richard, Steve Riley, David Greely and more performing the songs of this great songwriter.


Andrew Grafe, host of the Blues Eclectic with Andrew Grafe, Mondays, 2 - 4pm

In no particular order:

Cedric Burnside "Benton County Relic"
Bombino "Deran"
Marcus King Band "Carolina Confessions"
Ural Thomas & the Pain "The Right Time"
The War & Treaty "Healing Tide"
Michot's Melody Makers "Blood Moon"
Sugar Brown "It's a Blues World"
Little Freddie King "Fried Chicken & Rice"
Jason Isbell "Live at the Ryman"
Neko Case "Hell On"
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band "Poor Until Payday"
Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore "Downey to Lubbock"
Robert Finley "Goin' Platinum"


Allan Laskey, host of the The Rhythm Room with Allan "Alski" Laskey, Fridays, 10pm - MIDNIGHT

Best Recordings 2018 (No Particular Order)

Toure Kunda Lambi Golo
Fatoumata Diawara Fenfo (Something to Say)
Angelique Kidjo Remain in Light
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 Black Times
Soothsayers Tradition
Sons Of Kemet Your Queen Is a Reptile
Cookin' On 3 Burners Lab Experiments Vol. 2
Candi Staton Unstoppable
Swamp Dogg Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune
Shemika Copeland America's Child
PJ Morton Gumbo Unplugged (Live)
Victory The Broken Instrument
Stone Foundation Everybody, Anyone
Black Roots Take It
Bettye LaVette Change Is Gonna Come
Imarhan Temet
Femi Kuti One People One World
Willie Nelson Last Man Standing
Macy Gray Ruby
Charles Bradley Black Velvet
Ebo Taylor Yen Ara


Sondra Bibb, host of the Jazz from the French Market with Sondra Bibb, Wednesdays, 4 - 7pm

(no specific order)

Christian Sands - Facing Dragons
Eliane Elias - Music From Man of La Mancha
Tord Gustaven Trio - The Other Side
Cecile McLorin Salvant - The Window
Matt Penman - Good Question
Joshua Redman - Still Dreaming
Kamasi Washington - Heaven and Earth
Danny Grissett - Remembrance
Ambrose Akinmusire - Origami Harvest
Chris Dave and The Drumheadz (Self-Titled)


Old Man River, host of the The Morning Set with Old Man River, Mondays, 6 - 9am

 Natalie Mae Run To You
Billy Strings Turmoil & Tinfoil
The Radiators Welcome to the Monkey House
Willie Nelson My Way
Marcia Ball Shine Bright
Del McCoury Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass
Shawn Williams Motel Livin
The Travelin' McCourys Travelin ' McCourys
Eric Lindell Revolution in Your Heart
Michot's Melody Makers Blue Moon
Robert Walters 20th Congress Space Suit
Leftover Salmon Something Higher
Neville Jacobs Neville Jacobs
John Fohl Hands on You
Nutria Call To The Air
Bonearama Hot Like Fire
Cyril Neville Endangered Species The Complete Recordings
Spencer Bohren Makin It Home To You
Walter Wolfman Washington My Future Is My Past
The Quickening Begin Again
Chicago Farmer Quarter Past Tonight
Hot Buttered Rum Lonesome Panoramic
Jose James' Lean on Me
John Mooney Truth of the Matter
Charles Lloyd & the Marvels and Lucinda Williams Vanished Gardens
Cha Wa Spy Boy
Gal Holiday Lost & Found
Little Freddie King Fried Rice & Chicken


Duane Williams, host of the What's New with Duane Williams, Sundays, 10pm - MIDNIGHT

This was a fun year in music, but half of the fun came from rediscovered or newly re-released albums.

The best brand new albums were:

Bon Bon Vivant's Live at the New Orleans Jazz Museum came out at the beginning of this year and was just fun the entire way through. There was some good banter, a history lesson, and just a fun time.

Dr. Lonnie Smith gets all in your head with All In My Mind. Just a great album all the way through.

Under The Lake was the best surprise from a new artist. Their Jazz, Groove & Attitude album was good for just sitting back on a rainy night and enjoying the flow.

Joey Alexander has been an absolute pleasure to listen to as he matures. I was fortunate enough to catch a performance of his years ago when he was only twelve. His latest album, Eclipse, continues to show how well he's growing into his seat at the head of the band and still reflect his respect for those who played before him.

The best newly discovered albums were:

John Coltrane Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album (Deluxe Version), recently found with his first wife's things and mastered. It sounds different from the Coltrane you're used to and have in your collection already, but it's always fun to hear the slight changes of practice sessions before an artist makes it big.

Sun Ra made me wonder how much music is just sitting out there waiting to be rediscovered. Of Abstract Dreams, was found randomly in a professor's pile of recordings rescued from school "junk" which could have easily ended up in the trash. The Arkestra just playing between gigs. Everything that makes them great, and an album I had to jump on as soon as I saw it.

The best re-releases or blasts from the past have to go to:

Barbara Dane and the Chambers Brothers re-release from Smithsonian Folkways who also released Barbara Dane's Hot Jazz, Cool Blues & Hard-Hitting Songs. The liner notes give a great history lesson along with the powerful songs.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary came back on vinyl with all of the goodies packed in the original album. Minus a few characters on the cover that no one apparently bothered to get releases to use their images for. But that's how those insects are...I mean Beatles.

Miles Davis & John Coltrane, The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6. let's you pretend you're back in the audience during these two amazing musicians' European tour in the sixties. If you have a day to sit back, pour a drink, and let the world fade away, this is the set that will let you do that and not want to come back to the present.

Charles Mingus Live at Montreux was a big surprise. The Montreux Jazz Festival finally decided to release recordings from their past performances. This is from the 1975 festival. I wasn't expecting it, but can't wait to see what else they release in the future.


Boudin Man, host of the Kitchen Sink with A.J. Rodrigue and A.A., Wednesdays, 10pm - MIDNIGHT

The Wanting, “Dark Road”

Louis Michot, L.E.S. Douze Live at the Stoned Volume 1

Michot's Melody Makers, "Blood Moon"

Walter Wolfman Washington, My Future Is My Past

Dr. Demento, Covered in Punk

Malevitus, Sugar and Salt

Clint Maedgen, CMRADIOTV #3

Weather Warlock, A “Path of Complete Totality 8-21-17 Nashville Tennessee”
B “Microburst Hail Storm 8-25-17 Las Vegas New Mexico”

Keith Frank, “Return of The King”


Louis Michot & the Special Men, A “Ti Fi / King James & the Special Men B “King James”

Alynda Segarra & the Special Men, A “Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over” B King James and the Special Men“

Carbon Poppies, A Rain On My Face & You and I” B How Long & I’ll Meet You There

Lowdon Brass Band Featuring Ricky B & Bigalow, A “You Know Me” B “Ponder This”


Breaux Bridges, host of the The Morning Set with Breaux Bridges, Wednesdays, 6 - 9am

Adam Nussbaum – The Lead Belly Project
Adam O’Farrill’s Stranger Days – El Maquech
Allison Miller & Carmen Staaf – Science Fair
Ben Allison – Quiet Revolution
Ben Wendel – The Seasons
Benito Gonzalez – Passion Reverence Transcendence
Bobby Broom – Soul Fingers
Brad Mehldau Trio – Seymour Reads the Constitution
Buster Williams – Alchemy
Caroline Davis – Heart Tonic
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels + Lucinda Williams – Vanished Gardens
Christian Sands – Facing Dragons
Chucho Valdés – Jazz Batá 2
Counterweight – Counterweight
Cyrille Aimée – Live
Cyrus Chestnut – Kaleidoscope
Daryl Yokley’s Sound Reformation – Pictures at an African Exhibition
Duduka Da Fonseca Trio – Plays Dom Salavador
Edward Simon with Afinidad and Imani Winds – Sorrows & Triumphs
Emmet Cohen featuring Ron Carter – Masters Legacy Series Vol. 2
Francois Moutin & Kavita Shah – Interplay
Fred Hersch Trio – Heart Songs (reissue)
Gilad Hekselman – Ask for Chaos
Gordon Grdina – China Cloud
Harold Mabern – The Iron Man: Live at Smoke
Helen Gillet – Helkiase
Helen Sung – Sung with Words
Jacques Schwarz-Bart – Hazzan
Jamie Baum Septet + – Bridges
Jared Gold – Reemergence
Jason Marsalis and the 21st Century Trad Band – Melody Reimagined: book 1
Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Sound Prints – Scandal
Joey Alexander – Eclipse
John Medeski’s Mad Skillet – Mad Skillet
John Raymond & Real Feels – Joy Ride
John Scofield – Combo 66
Jon Batiste – Hollywood Africans
Jonathan Finlayson – 3 Times Round
Josh Paxton – Standard Deviations
Joshua Redman – Still Dreaming
Julian Lage – Modern Lore
Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth
Kenny Barron Quintet – Concentric Circles
Leni Stern – 3
Luciana Souza – The Book of Longing
Mark McGrain – Love + Time + Divination
Matt Penman – Good Question
Mike McGinnis – Singular Awakening
Miles Davis & John Coltrane – The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6
Monika Herzig – Sheroes
Myra Melford’s Snowy Egret – The Other Side of Air
NOLATET – No Revenge Necessary
Peter Erskine & The Dr. Um Band – On Call
Phil deGruy – Mask and You Shall deCeive
Renee Rosnes – Beloved of the Sky
Sachal Vasandani – Shadow Train
Shamie Royston – Beautiful Liar
Stefon Harris & Blackout – Sonic Creed
Steve Coleman and Five Elements – Live at the Village Vanguard, Vol. 1 (The Embedded Sets)
Terence Blanchard & The E Collective – Live
The Nels Cline 4 – Currents, Constellations
Van Morrison & Joey DeFrancesco – You’re Driving Me Crazy
Walter Wolfman Washington – My Future Is My Past
Yuhan Su – City Animals



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