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WWOZ: New Orleans' Best Kept Secret

WWOZ is truly a musical gumbo. It is a delicious mixture of spicy flavors that contribute to this city's beautiful and rich heritage. I've listened to this station for seven years and it is fantastic! To be satirical, I'll describe this station metaphorically.

The main ingredient in this gumbo is a quart of jazz music. Every weekday afternoon dedicated and enthusiastic disc jockeys play the best in classic and modern jazz. You can hear great legends such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald,Billie Holliday, Sarah Vaughan, Ahmad Jamal, Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Unlike some stations that repeat the same songs each day, you can expect to hear new music each time you listen. In addition, you'll hear all kinds of jazz from major and independent labels. No partiality here! The disc jockeys are also humorous and personable. My favorite programmers are Mike Gourrier(Mondays), Mark Hawkins(Fridays)and Michael Dominici(Thursdays). They also specialize in New Orleans artists such as Matt Lemler, Nicholas Payton, Terrence Blanchard and Los Hombres Calientes. For those who can't make it to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, don't worry because WWOZ broadcasts the festival all seven days. What a treat! If that's not enough, you can hear live interviews with today's top jazz artists. This station is an important staple for local jazz enthusiasts.

A cup of blues is also used in this great recipe. If you want commercial, watered-down, polished blues, you've come to the wrong place. This station specializes in raunchy, classic blues although occasionally you'll hear some contemporary blues. You'll hear Muddy Waters, BB King, Koko Taylor, Etta James, Ray Charles, Bobby Blue Bland and Bo Diddley. The programmers even throw in some blues artists you've never of. For you downhome blues fans out there, this station is for you.

There's also a half-cup of Latin music in this gumbo. Programmer Yolanda Estrada entertains you every Saturday afternoon with electrifying and danceable Latin jazz. Although you'll mainly hear a lot of Afro-Cuban sounds and salsa, she throws in a few boleros, cumbias,merengues and funk-influenced sounds. You'll hear legends such as Tito Puente, Perez Prado, Beny More and Willie Colon as well as new artists. This is a treat for Latin jazz fans.

And we can't leave out a third-cup of Brazilian music. Katrina Geenen brings you the best of Brazil every Saturday afternoon and she's very diverse. One week you'll hear bossa nova and the next week you'll hear choros, forros, Carnival music and traditional samba. She's also true to her genre. She doesn't play commercialized music too much and focuses a lot on independent labels, which is good in my opinion. This is also my favorite program on WWOZ.

Every recipe needs soul, and Melissa Weber adds two cups of this every Saturday night. She plays rare and little-known funk grooves from the mid 1960s to the early 1970s. The songs are authentic, danceable and versatile. The main elements of these songs are the bass, organ, guitar and many horns. This is great for those who love soul music.

This recipe also has a fourth-cup of Cajun music. Most of the songs are in French so it may be hard to understand. The music is defined by violins and accordions.

There are a few remaining ingredients, a pinch of African and reggae music. This adds the spice and international flair to this gumbo.

There you have it, a delicious tour through WWOZ. A station that characterizes New Orleans' diversity. For those who have access to the Internet, you can listen to these great sounds at www.wwoz.org 24 hours a day.

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