News

On this month's Newark Today, hosted by NJTV's Michael Hill, we are joined by Mayor Ras Baraka, State Senator Ron Rice, and Founder of Salvation and Social Justice Rev. Charles Boyer to discuss New Jersey's push to legalize recreational marijuana and how it could affect the state's largest city. We'll be taking calls live at 1-844-677-9283

Frank Stewart / Jazz at Lincoln Center

Jazz has always been a music of continuum, its secrets passed down across generations.

Valerie Gay Bessette

BIGYUKI, born Masayuki Hirano in Japan, looks up to the stars. His modern synth-jazz suggests a cosmic aesthetic. And he has aligned himself with other luminous artists, from Meshell Ndegeocello to A Tribe Called Quest. Hirano says he tries to make his music “as accessible as possible,” with the intention of attaining a measure of stardom for himself.


WOS Guest Duane Morgan Connects With Youth

14 hours ago
Write On Sports

Duane Morgan, a professional international basketball player from West Orange, NJ visited Write on Sports and spoke to kids about his coming up story. Morgan, a graduate of Adelphi University, has played professionally in Argentina, England, and Spain. Looking back at his younger days, he did not believe he would reach the success he has reached today.

"When I was a freshman, I was a bit undersized. I always loved the game and I was always so competitive, but I didn't feel like I had what it took as a freshman."

John Rogers / WBGO

The Winter Jazzfest has announced the dates, and a small part of its programming, for its 15th annual edition. Scheduled for Jan. 4-12, 2019, it will unfold according to custom in a range of spaces in and around Greenwich Village in New York City.

Jean Francois Laberine / Courtesy of the artist

He was one of the master crafters of bebop. Beyond that, Dizzy Gillespie’s influence was legendary — an inspiration to countless players, and a magnet bringing new folks to jazz around the world.

To celebrate this legacy, Bill Charlap — Grammy-winning pianist, and artistic director of Jazz in July at the 92nd Street Y — recruited the ideal person, Jon Faddis.

Ask Governor Murphy
WBGO News

The second edition of Ask Governor Murphy aired Monday night on WBGO in Newark, WHYY in Philadelphia and WNYC in New York City.

Ask Governor Murphy hosted by Nancy Solomon is a WBGO News production in collaboration with WNYC and WHYY.

Mummenschanz
Mummenschanz.com

Theater critic Michael Bourne says he enjoyed the return of a show off-Broadway, he just doesn’t know what it is. 

Click above to hear Michael's review of Mummenschanz.

Newark Police Department

Two rookie police officers in Newark are being hailed as heroes for jumping into action and saving a toddler's life, earlier this week. 

The call came in Sunday after a 2-year-old girl was unresponsive after nearly drowning  in a pool in the city's North Ward. 

Jazzheads / Courtesy of the artist

Introspection is the new recording from guitarist Roni Ben-Hur and bassist Harvie S.  Along with drummer Tim Horner, they share an emotional bond, with a call and response that puts us in the sidecar as they explore. 

The fluid nature of their rapport, honed together over the years, sharpens this album’s appeal. But it’s also in the range of compositions on the album — by Billy Strayhorn, George Shearing, Kenny Dorham, Tadd Dameron, Joe Henderson and Thelonious Monk.

mosquito
NJ Department of Environmental Protection

No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in New Jersey so far this year, but it’s been detected in mosquitoes in more than half of the counties in the state.

Scott Crans is the administrator of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s office of mosquito control coordination. He says the hot, dry weather is holding down the number of mosquitoes in many parts of the state, but a continued lack of rainfall could lead to the spread of West Nile virus.

Phil Gregory / WBGO

Restructuring New Jersey’s school funding formula has been a longtime plan for Senate President Steve Sweeney.  His plan increases the total amount of state aid to schools, but also changes the amount of aid districts receive.  

“Trying to find a solution to end the unfairness going on in this state.  Actually, the injustice where you have two classes of kids; the haves and the have nots,” Sweeney said.

Newark International Film Festival Returns For Third Year

Jul 12, 2018
Alexandra Hill / News

The Newark International Film Festival returns in September. Founder Kenneth Gifford made the announcement at city hall. 

The Tate Brothers, Lance Gross, and Kim Hawthorne are among some of the celebrities set to attend. The festival, now in its third year, has garnered global appeal, drawing thirteen-hundred submissions from two-hundred and seventy-eight countries around the world. Gifford says that he wants to make sure the film festival is supporting the arts community, right here in Newark.  

 

An environmental group says public health in New Jersey is at risk from air pollution.

Environment New Jersey director Doug O’Malley says air quality in New Jersey’s metropolitan areas ranks in the top ten in the nation for most elevated levels of ozone and particulate matter.

He says they had an average of 91 days of degraded air quality in 2016, and summer heat waves make ozone problems worse.

New Jersey’s recently enacted state budget includes $2.1 million to pay for legal assistance for immigrants facing deportation.

The State Treasury hasn’t decided yet how the money will be dispersed.

Chia-Chia Wang with the American Friends Service Committee hopes the funds will help immigrants in detention centers who are separated from their family and can’t afford to pay an attorney.

Stella K. / WBGO

 

The first "destination" jazz festival took place in Newport, R.I., in 1954 — multiple days, one stage and gorgeous scenery. These days, Newport is going strong, as is Monterey in California, and the festival model has expanded to multiple stages and far beyond big-brimmed hats and lawn chairs.

Still, Snarky Puppy leader Michael League saw a void and an opportunity. After years of performing at festivals around the world, the 34-year-old bassist founded the GroundUP Music Festival in order to bring musicians and fans together in an intimate setting: the beach. Miami Beach, to be exact.

Newark, NJ – The next "Ask Governor Murphy” program, the statewide, live call-in show produced by public radio stations WBGO in Newark, WHYY in Philadelphia, and WNYC in New York, is scheduled to air on Monday, July 16 at 7:00 p.m. Additional shows in 2018 will air on Monday, September 17 at 8:00 p.m. and Monday, November 19 at 7:00 p.m. The show is hosted by the Peabody-Award winning journalist Nancy Solomon, New Jersey managing editor for WNYC, and is broadcast live from the WBGO studios in Newark.

Courtesy of the artist

Don’t let the heavy African grooves fool you — Photay is pale in complexion.

He’s also a forward-thinking electronic artist raised in upstate New York, where he’s also known by his given name, Evan Shornstein. Photay means “white” in Susu, one of the native languages spoken in Guinea. On a trip to West Africa, the artist fell in love with the balafon, a marimba-like instrument featured on his 2017 album Onism.


After the recent contentious fight over New Jersey’s new state budget, Governor Phil Murphy is now hoping to work with New Jersey legislative leaders to get approval of some of his top priorities by the end of the year.

Murphy says gradually boosting New Jersey’s $8.60 an hour minimum wage to $15 is one of things he wants lawmakers to pass.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has not decided yet whether he’ll sign a bill that would impose a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper shopping bags.

Murphy says he’s still considering the measure that would raise an estimated $23 million

for lead abatement programs.

“There was a sense because we didn’t include it in the budget that we had come out negatively on it. We didn’t include it in the budget because we felt like we had not had the time to assess it and really analyze it.”

Governor Phil Murphy says New Jersey is taking steps to phase out controversial  PARCC standardized testing.

Murphy says beginning in the upcoming school year the New Jersey Education Department will reduce the length of the tests in all grades by 25 percent.

“The Department will also ask the New Jersey State Board of Education to simplify and reduce the assessments necessary for high school graduation from six assessments to two, retaining only Algebra 1 and English Language Arts 10 as the two assessments.”

Benoit Rousseau

Maison Symphonique is like Dr Who's TARDIS. Bigger on the inside.

I remember when the upper right corner of Place Des Arts was a mostly empty and small plateau. There were stairs up from the street. There were amusements for kids. And then they built a large concert hall in that corner.

Blond wood everywhere, wooden seats, wooden slats in the walls, an enormous array of silver-grey organ pipes above the stage. And with acoustics perfect for singers.

John Abbott

Monument-National is about a block from Place des Arts on Boulevard Saint-Laurent. When I first came to Montreal, the corner of the block was virtually red-lighted. Sexy lingerie shops. Sexy porn shops. And actual sex for sale.

Janis Siegel of the Manhattan Transfer and Lauren Kinhan Kinhan of the New York Voices host concerts they call “Vocal Mania” every month at the Zinc Bar. Lauren sings. Janis sings. They welcome friends to sing. 

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
Valeriegay Bessette for FIJM

The Montreal Jazz Festival every year presents awards named for some of the greatest artists who've played at the festival. All of the awards were created to celebrate an artist's life's work.

I couldn't see all of the awards shows this year. Some of the shows were happening at the same time. George Thorogood, honored with the BB King Award for a blues artist, was playing down the hall from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, honored with the Miles Davis Award for an international musician whose work and influence the jazzfest acknowledges as "regenerating the jazz idiom."

The Gesu
David Tallacksen for WBGO

"Gesu" is an Italian name for Jesus. "Le Gesu" is the name of the Jesuit church near Place des Arts in the heart of Montreal.

"The Jesus?" I wondered.

Marc-Andre shrugged and laughed. "The whole name is Le Gesu--Centre de creativite."

He's been a festival friend for years. Now he's the major domo of the arts center at the church -- which includes a theatre down below that seats 240 or so fest-goers -- which includes me throughout Festival International de JAZZ de Montreal.

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