WWOZ Hosts' Favorite Recordings of 2023

Published on: December 10th, 2023


Photo by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee


Once again for 2023, WWOZ show hosts are compiling lists of their favorite recordings of the year. Let those-in-the-know point you to the latest great tunes and help you catch up on what you might have missed. NOTE: our hosts will continue submitting lists through the end of the year, so check back for the latest.


T. R. Johnson | Duane Williams | Fox Duhon | Boudin Man | Logan | Jim Hobbs & Charles Laborde | DJ Swamp Boogie | Allan "Alski" Laskey | Old Man River | Carrie Booher | Breaux Bridges | Murf Reeves | Charles Burchell | Slangston Hughes | Andrew Grafe


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

Please note that these recordings are not in rank order, but rather alphabetical by album title.

Alive at Village Vanguard – Fred Hersch and Esperanza Spalding
All One – Ben Wendel
Art of Intimacy Vol II – Jeremy Pelt
Brand New Life – Brandee Younger
Cat Power Sings Dylan 1966 Royal Albert Hall - Cat Power
Come with Fierce Grace – Alabaster deplume
Curly / Fine Tune / Left my Heart in Ladera / Near North Side – Terrace Martin
Drip – Nicholas Payton
Enigmatic Society – Dinner Party
Fire Illuminations - Wadada Leo Smith
In Real Time - Artemis
Keys to the Kingdom – Chris Potter
Lados B – Daniel Villareal
Layers – Julian Lage
Lean In – Gretchen Parlato and Lionel Loueke
Like Minds – Wayne Escoffery
New Blue Sun – Andre 3000
The Omnichord Realbook – Meshell Ndegeocello
Perry Mason Soundtrack Season 2 – Terence Blanchard
Phoenix – Lakecia Benjamin
Pieces of Treasure – Rickie Lee Jones
Pillow Talk -Quiana Lynell
Refract – BlankFor.ms and Jason Moran
Return to Casual – Walter Smith III
Resavoir - Resavoir
Sari Jordan – Sing to the Moon
Short Stories – Vicente Archer
Side by Side – Brad Walker & The Extended Trio
Solar Music – Butcher Brown
Soluna – Martha Kato
This – JD Allen
Uncle John’s Band - John Scofield
Where are we – Josh Redman
Who Are You When No One is Watching – Braxton Cook


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

In no particular order:

Idris Ackamoor and The Pyramids' Afro Futuristic Dreams album was a welcome treat to enjoy. As always Ackamoor delivers.

John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy's Evenings at the Village Gate was another surprise release from the vaults. I kept listening to Greensleeves and Africa as these were the first taste we were given of the studio recordings of these tracks. Like getting that behind the scenes taste of an album before it gets released to the public even though it was recorded nearly sixty years ago.

Joe Krown's Tribute to the piano greats of New Orleans was a great listen. The only thing missing is the history Joe shares when he performs in person. It doesn't detract from the skill of the man on the keys, I've just been spoiled by his history lessons while he plays.

Eva LoVullo's songs about loss album was a good taste of things to come. Her fundraising digital tracks to continue recording in the future. I shared some great calls with listeners who were enjoying her voice added to the airwaves.

aja monet's when the poems do what they do album is the best spoken word album I've listened to in recent memory. Her topics covered everything from the struggle of poverty to the struggle of being a woman. The music carries her voice and message so well throughout the entire album. I was so glad I didn't miss this.

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah's Bark Out Thunder Roar Out Lightning was just a force of nature. One of the best albums released by the artist and I can't wait to see what he brings to the listener next.

Various Artists - Playing for the Man at the Door: Field Recordings from the Collection of Mack McCormick, 1958-1971 is just a fantastic collection of field recordings of names you're all too familiar with. Several give great introductions to their performances, but the sound is incredible.

Mulgrew Miller's Solo in Barcelona is such an inviting piece of jazz that is perfect for a relaxing evening alone.

Pharoah Sanders' double surprise drop of Pharoah and Harvest Time Live 1977 had me doing everything to resist only playing those two albums for an entire show. To hear the man in action all over again and getting a double taste of it was such a thrilling week.


Fox Duhon, substitute show host

In no order:

Cashier - "Beginner"

JaRon Marshall - "earth sounds"

LeTrainiump - "Colors"

Kiefer - "It's OK, B U"

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - "PetroDragonic Apocalypse;..."

Corey Ledet Zydeco - "Médikamen"

Northside Eric and the Southside Playboys - "EGEAUX"

Motel Radio - "Live from the Garden"

Boyfriend - "& Everything Nice"

Dana and Alden - "Quiet Music for Young People"

Kait Dunton - "Keyboards"

André 3000 - "New Blue Sun"

Chief Adjuah - "Bark Out Thunder Roar Out Lightning"

Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band - "King's Highway"

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

Louie Michot - Reve du Troubadour

Corey Ledet - Medikamen

Bombino – Sahel

King Louie Bankston – Harahan Fats (Special Pink Vinyl and Double Cassette editions)

Tav Falco Panther Burns – Nashville Sessions: Live at the Bridgestone Arena Studios

Dusky Waters – Pass It On

Hank Williams Jr. – Rich White Honky

Lucinda Williams – Stories from a Rock N Roll Heart

Clint Maedgen and Kyle Roussel - Roussel Maajon


Digital Releases

Quintron - Ephemeral Ponds

(The 250 numbered and signed Limited Edition “Dusky Gopher Frog” 4gb USB flash drive sold out in 2 hours also included 4 hours of bonus recordings)

Lost Bayou Ramblers and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra – Live at the Orpheum


Logan Schutts, host of World Journey with Logan, Saturdays, 4-6pm.

Follow the Camel; Maude Caillat Quartet
-This is a fully improvised album from a local quartet. Maude Caillat (tenor sax), Moses Eder (drums), Sean Weber (bass), and Luke Palmer (keys, fingerboard) went into the studio, improvised from scratch for a couple hours, then chopped it up into tracks. It’s a fascinating musical journey that deserves many listens - you’ll hear new things every time thru. Follow the camel!!

A Trip to Bolgatanga; African Head Charge
-African Head Charge has been making music for over 40 years. Their spiritual leader, Banjo Iyabinghi Noah, is a Jamaican-born percussionist who relocated many years ago to Ghana. The album title references a town in the northernmost part of Ghana, almost to Burkina Faso. A very cool album that offers us much of what we’d hope to hear from AHC as well as some surprises.

We Famous; Kondi Band
-Kondi Band is a collaboration between American producer DJ Chief Boima, who has ancestry based in Sierra Leone, and Sierra Leonean native Sorie Kondi, who plays a thumb piano instrument, also called “kondi.” The result is a sound that nimbly balances contemporary dance club music with old-school West African roots music.

Jim Hobbs & Charles Laborde, hosts of Lâche Pas! Cajun & Zydeco Show, Sundays, NOON-2:00pm.

Best Cajun, Creole and Zydeco recordings of 2023 by Charles Laborde and Jim Hobbs.

4Horses. Live at La Poussiere - Part One. Swallow.

Corey Ledet Zydeco. Médikamen. Nouveau Electric.

Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers. Live at 2023 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. MunckMusic. Grammy nominated.

Evangeline Playboys. A Tribute To Austin Pitre. Nouveau Electric.

Preston Frank. Seventy-Five. Self-released.

Has Beans. Cookin. Self-released.

Jourdan Thibodeaux et les Rôdailleurs. La Prière. Valcour.

Louis Michot. Rêve de Troubadour. Nouveau Electric.


DJ Swamp Boogie, substitute show host.

Lisa O'neill-All of This Is Chance-Rough Trade (haunting Irish folk-blues)

Louis Michot-Reve Du Trubadour-Nouveau Electric (Experimental Louisiana French swamp brilliance)

Jalen Ngonda-Come Around and Love Me-Daptone (Sweet Soul, danceable, singable, make love-able)

Hiss Golden Messenger-Jump For Joy-Merge (title says it all-folk-alt)

Ane Diaz-Despechada (Venezuelan folk songs)

Esther Rose-Safe to Run-New West (her best release to date)

Ghalia Volt-Shout Sister Shout-Ruf Records (a rock and pop influenced departure produced by Dave Catching)

The D-Vine Spirituals Story Vol.3-Bible and Tire recording Co. (Insanely hot vintage gospel comp produced by sometime NOLA resident Mike Hurtt and Bruce Watson on the Fat Possum imprint)

Allan "Alski" Laskey, host of The Rhythm Room, Fridays, 10:00pm - MIDNIGHT.

Best of 2023 in no particular order

Nitin Sawhney - Identity
Exploring identity thru Hip Hop, R&B and Indian music.

Ekiti Sound - Drum Money
African dance music (Congotronics).

Billy Valentine and the Universal Truth - Billy Valentine and the Universal Truth
Soul Jazz versions of soul classics. Great vocals.

Rhiannon Giddens - You're the One
Her latest leans more into the soul side.

The Sindecut & Ijeoma - Late
British hip hop legends back with chilled out r&b with great instrumental breaks.

Allison Russell - The Returner
Great artist with something to say. Even better live.

Mokoomba - Tusona: Tracings in the Sand
Classic afrosound from this Zimbabwean band.

Tinariwen - Amatssou
Another fine set of desert blues.

Willie Nelson - I Don't Know A Thing About Love: The Songs of Harlan Howard

Aleighcia Scott - Windrush Baby
Lovers rock reggae British style.

Kimi Djabate - Dindin
Laid back Afropop.

Written In Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos
Massive set of unreleased material from Stax.

Raul Malo - Say Less
Frontman of the Mavericks with a surprising instrumental album.

Entoto Band - Entoto Band
Reworking of classic Ethiopian dance music.

Les Mamans du Congo - Ya Mizolé
Collective of female Congolese musicians with a fine new release.

Brennen Leigh - Ain't Through Honky Tonkin Yet
Classic Bakersfield sound with modern lyrics.

Togo All Stars - Spirits
Carrying on the legacy of Fela with inventive arrangements.

Acantha Lang - Beautiful Dreams
Classic soul from local London based artist.


Old Man River, host of Homespun Americana with Old Man River, Sundays, 2:00 - 4:00pm.

I decided to stay close to the Americana genre with my favorites this year. These are in no particular order with the exception of the Dr John album which is by far my favorite recreation of 2023.

I’ll be playing a track from each record on my New Year’s Eve show, so please join me.

Dr John - Things Happen That Way
Allison Russell - The Entertainer
Travis Book - Love and Other Strange Emotions
Various Artists - More Than a Whisper : A Tribute to Nanci Griffith
Various Artists - A Song For Leon : A Tribute to Leon Russell
Various Artists - I Am A Pilgrim : Doc Watson at 100
Turnpike Troubadours - A Cat in the Rain
Willie Nelson - Bluegrass
Tim O’Brien - A Cup of Sugar
Tommy Emanuel - Accomplice Two
Todd Snider - Crank It, We’re Doomed
Billy Strings & Terry Barber - Me And Dad
String Cheese Incident- Lend Me A Hand
Shannon McNally - Live at Dee’s
Sun Volt - Day of Doug
Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley - Living in a Song
Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway - City of Gold
Robbie Fulks - Bluegrass Vacation
Rhiannon Giddens - You’re The One
Betty LaVette - LaVette
Brennan Leigh - Ain’t Through Honky Tonkin Yet
Blind Boys of Alabama - Echoes of the South
Alison Brown - On Banjo
Bruce Cockburn - O Sun O Moon
Charley Crockett - Live From the Ryman
Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country - Reflektor
Darryl Scott String Band - Old Cane Back Rocker
Duane Betts - Wild and Precious Life
East Nash Grass - Last Chance to Win
Louis Michot - Rêve de Troubadour
Lost Bayou Ramblers & the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra - Live at the Orpheum
Esther Rose - Safe to Run
Iris Dement - Workin on a World
Infamous Stringdusters - A Tribute to Flatt and Scruggs
Jason Carter - Lowdown Hoedown
Jim Lauderdale and Po Ramblin’ Boys - Long and Lonesome Letting Go
John Stickley Trio - Meantimes Up
Leftover Salmon - Grass Roots
Lindsay Lou - Queen of Time
Lucinda Williams - Truth From a Rock and Roll Heart
Margo Cilker - From the Valley of Heart’s Delight
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - Sticks and Stones
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives - Altitude
Michael Doucet & Tom Rigney - Roll On
Neil Young with Crazy Horse - World Record
Old Crow Medicine Show - Jubilee
Tin Men - Hit It
Honey Island Swamp Band - Custom Deluxe
Paul Sanchez - Between Friends and Me
Sam Bush - Radio John
Dr John - Solo Piano Live in New Orleans 1984
Colter Wall - Little Songs
Pert Near Sandstone - Waiting Days
William Prince - Stand in the Joy

Carrie Booher, Digital Content Editor and substitute show host.

Louis Michot - Rêve du troubadour
Louis Michot does it again with an innovative and deep LP. Songs with collaborators Leyla McCalla, Bombino, Quintron, and Shardé Thomase are especially rich.

Charley Crockett - Live From the Ryman
Charley was a touring maniac this year but the prolific musician still managed to get a live release under his belt in 2023 (his 14th since 2015). The Ryman is a special place for country music so the vibe of this album ignites off some of that magic.

Charlie & the Tropicales - Presents for Everyone
Anything Charlie Halloran touches is fun and high quality!

James Booker - Behind The Iron Curtain

Secret 6 Jazz Band - Centennial Tribute To King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band

Jon Batiste - World Music Radio

Samantha Fish and Jessie Dayton - Death Wish Blues

Leroy Jones - New Orleans Brass Band Music, Vol. 2 (with Wendell Brunious)

Kyle Roussel - New Orleans a la mode

Smoking Time Jazz Club - Six Blueses, Five Joys & A Stomp


Breaux Bridges, host of The Morning Set, Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9:00am.

Allison Miller – Rivers in Our Veins
Artemis – In Real Time
Arturo O’Farrill – Legacies
Ben Wolfe – Unjust
Bill O’Connell – Live in Montauk
Billy Childs – The Winds of Change
Brad Mehldau – Your Mother Should Know – Brad Mehldau Plays the Beatles
Brad Walker, Oscar Rossignoli, Matt Booth, Brad Webb – Side By Side
Brandee Younger – Brand New Life
Buster Williams – Unalome
Cecile McLorin Salvant – Mélusine
Chief Adjuah – Bark Out Thunder Roar Out Lightning
Christine Jensen – Day Moon
Dave McMurray – Grateful Deadication 2
Dave Stryker – Prime
Emilio Teubal – Futuro
Eric Reed – Black, Brown, and Blue
GEORGE – Letters to George
George Freeman – The Good Life
GoGo Penguin – Everything Is Going to Be OK
Greg Joseph – Drop the Rock
High Pulp – Days in the Desert
Hiromi & Hiromi’s Sonicwonder – Sonicwonderland
Jim Snidero – Far Far Away
Joel Harrison – Anthem of Unity
Joey Alexander – Continuance
John Scofield – Uncle John’s Band
Johnathan Blake – Passage
Johnny Vidacovich – Out Da Box
Julian Lage – The Layers
Kendrick Scott – Corridors
Lakecia Benjamin – Phoenix
Linda May Han Oh – The Glass Hours
Louis Hayes – Exactly Right!
Marianne Trudel & John Hollenbeck – Dédé Java Espiritu
Marike van Dijk – Stranded
Miguel Zenón & Luis Perdomo – El Arte Del Bolero Vol. 2
Orrin Evans – The Red Door
Pat Metheny – Dream Box
Ralph Towner – At First Light
Rickie Lee Jones – Pieces of the Treasure
Vijay Iyer, Arooj Aftab, Shahzad Ismaily – Love in Exile
Walter Smith III – return to casual
Wolfgang Muthspiel, Scott Colley, Brian Blade – Dance of the Elders


Murf Reeves, WWOZ Music Director and host of The New Orleans Music Show, Mondays, 11:00am - 2:00pm.

Hello Ozillians,
Here is my list for 2023. Most of the albums are from New Orleans and moved me in some way. Some are still moving me right now!!

Dr. John - Things Happen That Way

Brad Walker and Extended Trio - Side By Side

Joe Krown - Tribute

Ghalia Volt - Shout Sister Shout

Jason Mingledorff - Start It

New Orleans Nightcrawlers - Too Much To Hold

Kyle Roussel - New Orleans A La Mode

The Rumble - Live At The Maple Leaf

Dean Zucchero - Electric Church For The Spiritually Misguided

Delfeayo Marsalis - Uptown On A Mardi Gras Day

Eric Johanson - The Deep And The Dirty

Cigar Box Serenaders - Spasm

Walter Wolfman Washington - Feel So At Home

Big Chief Donald Harrison - Congo Square Suite

Tin Men - Hit It!

Honey Island Swamp Band - Custom Deluxe

The Iceman Special - Zycordia

Dusky Waters - Pass It On

Leroy Jones - New Orleans Brass Band Music Vol. 2

Louis Michot - Rêve Du Troubadour

Ivan Neville - Touch My Soul

Acantha Lang - Beautiful Dreams

James Booker - Behind The Iron Curtain

Artemis - In Real Time

Tinarwien - Amatssou

Kait Dunton - Keyboards


Charles Burchell, host of Jazz from Jax Brewery, Fridays, 4:00 - 7:00pm.

Antonio Aldolfo Bossa 65 Celebrating Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal AAM

Louis Hayes Exactly Right Savant

Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr Congo Square Suite

Donald Harrison Jr. Tipitina’s Interns Vol. 1 Tipitina’s Found.

Joey Alexander Continuance Mack Avenue

Houston Person Reminiscing At Rudy's HighNote

Don Braden Earth Wind and Wonder Creative Perspective

Diego Figueiredo My World Arbors

Mike Clark, Jon Davis, Leon Lee Dorsey Mike Clark Plays Herbie Hancock Sunnyside

Johnny Vidacovich Out Da Box Paw Maw

Artemis In Real Time Blue Note

Nicholas Payton The Couch Sessions Smoke Sessions

Nicholas Payton Drip Paytone

Jason Mingledorff Start It! Independent

Quinn Sternberg Walking On Eggshells Independent

Samara Joy Linger Awhile Verve

Ed Cherry Are We There Yet? Cellar Music Group

Dave Stryker f/Jared Gold & McClenty Hunter Prime Strikezone

Gregory Lewis The Sweet Life

Diego Rivera Love & Peace Posi-Tone

Judith Owens Unaplogetically Twanky

Eric Alexander A New Beginning: Alto Saxophone HighNote

Sammy Figueroa Busco Tu Recuerdo (Searching For a Memory) Ashé

Delfeayo Marsalis Uptown Jazz Orchestra Uptown on Mardi Gras Day Troubadour Jass

Joe Farnsworth In What Direction Are You Headed Smoke Sessions


Slangston Hughes, co-host of Draw Fo, Thursdays, MIDNIGHT - 2:00am.

Black Thought x El Michel Affairs “Glorious Game”

Curren$y x Jermaine Dupri “For Motivational Use Only, Vol. 1”

Oddisee “To What End”

Danny Brown “Quaranta”

Noname “Sundial”

Killer Mike “MICHAEL”

Mick Jenkins “The Patience”

Black Milk “Everybody Good?”

Nas “Magic 3”

Speaker Bullies “Art of Disrespect”

Danny Brown x JPEGMAFIA “Scaring The Hoes”

Skyzoo x The Other Guys “The Mind of A Saint”


Honorable Mentions:

MIKE x Wiki x Alchemist “Faith Is A Rock”

Daniel Son x Wino Willy “Gris Gris

Che Noir x Big Ghost LTD “Noir or Never”

B. Cool-Aid “Leather Blvd.”


Andrew Grafe, host of Blues Eclectic, Mondays, 2:00 - 4:00pm.

“Playing for the Man at the Door: The Mack McCormick Collection”

Nat Myers “Yellow Peril”

Lydia Loveless “Nothing’s Gonna Stand in My Way Again”

Jason Isbell “Weathervanes”

Bobby Rush “All My Love For You”

DK Harrell “The Right Man”

Robert Finley “Black Bayou”

Christone Kingfish Ingram “Live in London”

Alabama Mike “Stuff I Been Through”

Alison Russell “The Returner”

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers “Live at Jazz Fest”

Buddy Guy “The Blues Don’t Lie”

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