Best of 2017: Our Announcers Share Some Personal Favorites

Dec 30, 2017

We ring in the new year by remembering “Our Favorite Things – 2017,” a review of notable jazz and blues releases as chosen by WBGO announcers:                             

Rhonda Hamilton, host, Mid-Day Jazz:

Arturo O’Farrill and Chucho Valdés, Familia
A “generational salute” to Chico O’Farrill and Bebo Valdés, featuring their sons Arturo O’Farrill and Chucho Valdés and grandsons Adam and Zack O’Farill and Jessie and Layanis Valdés. (“A great example of the “continuum”; “an emotional experience for everyone involved.”)

Andy Narell, Dis 1. 4. Raff 
Dedicated to the memory of pioneering Trinidadian musician Raf Robertson.


Gary Walker, host, Morning Jazz and Music Director:

“This year marks the international flavor of jazz,” says Walker, adding: “It’s a great year for big bands.”

Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge, Whispers on the Wind
A Grammy-nominated release inspired by Owen’s childhood experiences in Nebraska, and authors Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy and Stephen King.

Duchess, Laughing At Life
“If anything speaks to the good time and the joy and the togetherness of a recording, it’s gotta be this release”


Michael Bourne, host, Blues Break and Singers Unlimited:

“It was a great year for the blues,” says Bourne.

David Bromberg Band, The Blues, The Whole Blue and Nothing But The Blues

Catherine Russell, Harlem on My Mind
“She is definitively unlimited.”


Bob Porter, host, Portraits in Blue, Saturday Morning Function and Swing Party:

Monster Mike Welsh & Mike Ledbetter, Right Place, Right Time
“Ledbetter’s voice is otherworldly.”

Taj Mahal and Keb Mo, TajMo
“Each have contributed mightily to our blues enjoyment over the years…”


Sheila Anderson, host, Jazz After Hours and Salon Sessions:

Awilda Rivera’s Farewell Jam Session, Live in WBGO Performance Space
Featuring live performances by more than 20 musicians including Akua Dixon, who sings “Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues” about 10 minutes in to the video below (“a great, bittersweet evening of music”)

Randy Weston Live in WBGO Performance Space
“He walked in with the spirits…when he left the spirits were still there…”


Bill Daughtry, host, Friday Afternoon Jazz

“Just Squeeze Me”; a performance by Sarah Vaughan Vocal Competition winner Quiana Lynell

Dee Dee Bridgewater, Memphis…Yes I’m Ready
“One of the great memories of 2017”


Simon Rentner, host and producer, The Checkout:

Christian Scott a Tunde Adjuah, The Centennial Trilogy
“There are many standout performances on these releases…

Mark De Clive-Lowe, “L+H”
A tribute to Yusef Lateef by multi-instrumentalist Mark De Clive-Lowe


Steve Williams, Director of Programming:

Hudson by Jack De Johnette, John Scofield, John Medeski, Larry Grenadier
“An all-star band that completes the nearly impossible task of creating something that is greater than sum of its parts.”

Lizz Wright, Grace
“Gracefully defies expectations”