News

Ang Santos / WBGO

It’s been over twenty years since the state took control of Newark Public School’s because of low graduation rates and overall poor student performance.  It’s been a rocky road for the city’s education system since, and many residents believe not much has changed over the course of time.

At First Avenue School in Newark’s North Ward, about 100 city residents gathered to hear Mayor Ras Baraka’s latest updates on regaining local control of schools.  They had their own concerns.

Indian Head
Luna Stage for WBGO

Indian Head is a provocative play by Obie Award-Winner Nikkole Salter.   Indian Head was commissioned in partnership with the NJPAC Stage Exchange, a program of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  It is currently wowing audiences at Luna Stage in West Orange, New Jersey.

Mark Whitfield and his family band with Gary Walker at WBGO
Isaiah McClain


Guitarist Mark Whitfield’s skillset is so varied. He’s been on the road with Brother Jack McDuff, Dizzy Gillespie, Carmen McRae and Chris Botti. He’s friends with George Benson.

Mark says he’s most proud of his most recent events – his first recording in 7 years was just released, and the fact that it was made alongside his two sons; pianist Davis and drummer Mark, Jr. Both father and sons are Berklee grads - and so is band bassist, Yasushi Nakamura.

UNCF's Vaughn McKoy chats with WBGO's Alexandra Hill about the organization's efforts to address the current crisis in black education, and their ongoing mission to provide college scholarships and opportunities to African-American students. 

His guitar instruction books have titles like "Pentatonic Khancepts", perhaps a place to develop your lines, get inside harmonies, develop spontaneous groove with amazing technique. Steve Khan possesses all these qualities in the highest order, which is why a recording like "Backlog", his latest, immediately draws the listener right into the center of his stage.

New Jersey Statehouse
Phil Gregory

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is moving ahead with a $300 million dollar renovation of the New Jersey Statehouse.

Christie says the building constructed in 1792 is falling apart and workers have covered some of the windows with plywood.

"Those windows are boarded up now because those windows were judged when they were inspected to be ready to fall out of the building. So, we're boarding them up and the fact is that this is an unsafe building for all of us to be operating in it every day."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey judge has ruled a criminal case against Governor Christie involving the 2013 lane closures on the George Washington Bridge can go forward.

Municipal court judge Roy McGeady determined there’s probable cause to believe Christie knew the lane restrictions were more than just a routine traffic study.

The complaint filed by former firefighter William Brennan accuses Christie of failing to stop subordinates from purposely creating traffic jams to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing the governor’s reelection campaign.

Or would the better title be “FACEMELT”? In any case, the tune is an original from  saxophonist Donny McCaslin's recent album Beyond Now. Take a look at this galvanizing, live-wire video, which has its full premiere here, and you be the judge.

Christie signs the legislation at the Statehouse
Phil Gregory

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed legislation intended to curb the opioid addiction epidemic.

The law limits initial opioid prescriptions to a five-day supply and mandates that state-regulated health insurers cover six-months of inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment.

Christie says he's not sure how much that will cost.

"Because you don't know how many people are going to take advantage of this and utilization is going to drive a lot regarding the costs. But the fact is whatever the cost is of this it's certainly less than 1600 lives a year."

Rosemarie D'Alessandro
Phil Gregory

The New Jersey Assembly has unanimously approved legislation that calls for life imprisonment without parole for the murder of anyone under the age of 18 during commission of a sex crime.

The measure expands what's known as Joan's Law, named for a 7-year-old Hillsdale girl who was sexually assaulted and killed by a neighbor in 1973.

Her mother, Rosemarie D'Alessandro, says the denial of parole eligibility now applies to such crimes involving victims under 14.

Entrepreneur Shares Wisdom at Berkeley College

Feb 15, 2017
Ang Santos / WBGO

Dr. Randal Pinkett, CEO of the Newark based national consulting firm BCT Partners won season four of the reality television ‘The Apprentice’.  He visited Berkeley College in Woodland Park to share his experience in business with students for the school’s Black History Month speaker’s series.

So what advice does the CEO of a billion-dollar company give to college students? Pinkett says to find your passion.

MLB Network in Secaucus hosted this month's launch of the 2017 Topps Baseball Card Series.

Through a partnership with the Network, Topps has included a set of cards of several MLB Network personalities and analysts including broadcaster and studio host Greg Amsinger.  Amsinger was thrilled to be included in the new set:

Ted Nash won twice at Sunday's Grammy Awards: for Best Large Ensemble Album and Best Instrumental Composition. His big band album, "Presidential Suite - Eight Variations on Freedom" interprets Presidential speeches across the last century. 

A bill advancing in the New Jersey legislature would require water companies to determine how much water is lost because of leaks and breaks in aging pipes every year.

Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Larry Levin told an Assembly committee such audits can guide efforts to control water loss.

"There are 130 million gallons of treated drinking water we estimate lost each day across the state. And of that about 50 million gallons per day valued at $10 million a year are likely to be cost effective for utilities to reduce to solve that loss."

NJ Association of Counties executive director John Donnadio
Phil Gregory

The Council on Local Mandates hears oral arguments tomorrow on a motion by the state of New Jersey to dismiss a challenge of the bail reform law that took effect in January.

The New Jersey Association of Counties claims the law is an unconstitutional unfunded state mandate because counties have had to spend more than $35 million on personnel and improvements to implement it.

In December the council denied the counties' request for a preliminary injunction to stop the law from taking effect.

Solitude can be a complicated proposition for Keith Jarrett. He’s the most celebrated improvising solo pianist in the world, and has held that distinction for the last 40 years. But he will be the first to inform you that his concert performances are a social interaction — an experiment in which he responds to the mood and psychic energy of a room, like a sensitive instrument.

A New Jersey Assembly committee wants to end a requirement that high school students pass the standardized PARCC test to graduate.

Assemblywoman Mila Jasey says she introduced the measure because she believes regulations adopted by the state Board of Education last year are inconsistent with legislative intent.

"The PARCC exams to my understanding were always meant to assess and inform instruction, not to make decisions about graduation."

Jamie and Christopher Bruesehoff
Phil Gregory

A package of bills advanced by a New Jersey Assembly committee would give transgender residents some protections against discrimination.

The measures help establish a transgender equality task force, provide access to business assistance programs, and prohibit health insurers from denying coverage based on gender identity.

Vernon resident Jamie Bruesehoff has a 10 year-old transgender daughter.

Interview originally aired August 17, 2004.

Late multi-Grammy winning singer Al Jarreau joined Michael Bourne for this chat in 2004. Covering topics including his influences from Jon Henricks and Johnny Mathis to his ability to switch genres, Jarreau enjoys the conversation so much that before it ends he's asking Bourne for a copy so he can hear it again.

John Abbott

Love is a many-splendored thing, as the songbook lyric goes, and as Clifford Brown and Max Roach reminded us just over half a century ago. For this Valentine’s-week edition of our Take Five column, we thought it would be fitting to explore the theme of love and romance — and heartbreak — from a few different angles. Here are five tracks selected by some of the on-air hosts of our popular programs at WBGO.

 

Barbara Carroll was definitive. As an elegant pianist. As a sophisticated singer. As a beautiful lady. And like another great Lady, her good friend Billie Holiday, Barbara Carroll was down-to-earth and always swinging.

Guitarist John Scofield, Snarky Puppy, Gregory Porter, and the late David Bowie are some of the big winners.  The 59th Grammy Awards brought a mix of established artists and up-and-comers. Here are some of the winners.

Jazz Night in America / WBGO and NPR

 

"It can be maddening to deal with a political environment where it seems like the truth has no purchase anymore," says Darcy James Argue, the hyper-literate composer who leads the Secret Society, a postmodern big band. Argue has spent a lot of time recently thinking about that maddening environment — not just as a matter of civic engagement during a chaotic election season, but also because it forms the crux of Real Enemies, his most recent work.

 

Al Jarreau, a nimble, charismatic singer who bridged contemporary jazz and smooth soul in a career that yielded both popular success and critical regard, died on Sunday at Los Angeles. He was 76.

 

His death was confirmed by his manager, Joe Gordon. Jarreau had announced his retirement from touring just last week, after being hospitalized in Los Angeles for exhaustion.

 

Hilary Knight
Fox Sports

The USA Women’s National Hockey team is now less than a year away from the Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea.  The team's goal is clear, WIN THE GOLD MEDAL. Two-time Olympic silver medalists Hilary Knight and twins Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux sat down with me during their media tour of NYC last week…Meghan Duggan was also on the trip.

Detroit native Aretha Franklin sings the national anthem prior to the start of the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings game at Ford Field on Nov, 24, 2016.
GREGORY SHAMUS / Getty Images

 

Al Jarreau and Aretha Franklin announced their plans to slow down or stop their public performances.

Ang Santos / WBGO

When the city of Newark announced the Mulberry Commons Project last month, transforming lot and warehouse space on Prudential Centers Mulberry St. side into a 22-acre park, was it possible for something to outshine the ambitious project.  I guess that depends on if you like music more than shops and recreational activity.  The Grammy Museum Experience will use 8,000 square feet of Prudential Center space to bring its history to New Jersey.  Daniel Cherry is the Chief Marketing Innovation Officer for the New Jersey Devils.  He says they’re a perfect match.

Mark Krasovic
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The 37th annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series is February 18th at the Paul Robeson Campus Center at Rutgers University-Newark.  The series was founded by the late Dr. Clement A. Price and Giles Wright. 

This year's MTW is once again being put together by Mark Krasovic, an assistant professor of history and American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark.  Krasovic is also the interim director of the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience.

The theme of this year's one-day event is City Moves: Black Urban History Since 1967.

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