News

In the liner notes for "Infinitude", the new recording from sisters Ingrid and Christine Jensen, it's called "Nordicity", an organic description of the trumpeter and saxophonist.  I don't know about all that, but our own beloved and well lived Michael Bourne admires the absolute musical creativity which emerges from a seemingly casual environment. "Infinitude" - the state or quality of being infinite or having no limit. What a gift for the jazz musician, and here, they achieve fliight.

The first time I saw guitarist Yotam Silberstein perform he was part of the Jimmy Heath Big Band, and he was just Yotam. Before that, however, the legendary  James Moody had returned from a jazz workshop, telling anyone who would listen about "this young Israeli kid who plays like an old man!" The Moody compliment has depth as listeners have discovered on 4 previous releases comfort with the works of John Lewis, Clifford Brown and Joe Henderson, and a love for Brazil and Latin music, resulting in attention getting performances with Paquito D'Rivera and Monty Alexander.

Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak
Phil Gregory

Some New Jersey lawmakers are proposing legislation they say would balance the responsibility between drivers and pedestrians.

Current law gives pedestrians the right of way, but Assemblyman Bruce Land says some people don't pay much attention when they want to cross the street.

"People up and down the streets, they'll just cross right in the middle of the street without even looking. We're trying to get the onus on you have to cross in certain areas and make sure you look both ways so it's not just put right on the drivers.

Ignition interlock device displayed at  Assembly committee hearing.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are considering changing the state's drunken-driving laws to increase the use of devices that require a breath sample from a driver before allowing a vehicle's engine to start.

Assemblyman Joe Lagana says his bill would cut driver's license suspension times for those convicted of drunken driving, but mandate installation of ignition interlock devices.

Ignition interlock device displayed at Statehouse hearing,
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are considering changing the state's drunken-driving laws to increase the use of devices that require a breath sample from a driver before allowing a vehicle's engine to start.

Assemblyman Joe Lagana says his bill would cut driver's license suspension times for those convicted of drunken driving, but mandate installation of ignition interlock devices.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Recent Quinnipiac University Polls show a split in New York City voters overall approval of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

When it comes to Mayor de Blasio, voters polled by Quinnipiac University are divided evenly, give or take a few percentage points on his favorability, leadership skills, or whether he deserved to be re-elected.  Poll assistant Director Tim Malloy says they’re even 50-50 on de Blasio’s public disputes with Donald Trump.

Tim Raines
Newark Bears

Former Montreal Expos and New York Yankees outfielder Tim Raines got the word this week he had hoped to hear for many years.  He will be inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in July.  Raines will be joined by former Houston Astros star Jeff Bagwell and former Texas Rangers' catcher Ivan Rodriguez who also spent time with the Yankees. 

Many analysts consider Raines to be the second-best leadoff hitter in baseball history behind Rickey Henderson who played for the now defunct Newark Bears in 2003.  Raines, meanwhile, managed the Bears from 2009 to 2011. 

Ang Santos / WBGO

Mayor Ras Baraka says planning and investment is ready to complete Newark’s long awaited park project to revitalize the space in front of Prudential Center.

It’s been talked about for eleven years but now it finally looks like the 'Triangle Park Project' is ready to bring new retail and public open space to the Prudential Center.  Newark Deputy Mayor Baye Adofo-Wilson says there’s been a change in design.

“At one time the project was a triangle, but because of a street and some realignment it became more of a rectangle.  So we ended up changing the name,” said Wilson.

David Sciarra testifies at Assembly Education Committee hearing
Phil Gregory

The New Jersey Assembly has launched hearings to examine how to revise the school funding formula of 2008.

David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, told the Assembly Education Committee the Christie administration has repeatedly failed to provide money in the budget to fully fund the formula.

He says Christie's proposal for state school aid to be based on an equal per pupil amount in every district would turn the clock back 50 years.

David Garten

Political expression isn’t a new impulse for pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill, who leads the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. But he’s taking his most direct action yet with “Musicians Against Fascism,” a concert he has organized at Symphony Space. Scheduled for this Thursday, the eve of the presidential inauguration, it’s an act of protest involving more than a dozen notable jazz artists. 

Dave Douglas performs with High Risk, featuring Shigeto, at the 2017 NYC Winter Jazzfest.
John Rogers / for NPR

Trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas found inspiration for his latest project, Metamorphosis, in the sky: specifically, from star formations and the mythologies that took hold around them.

“Halcyon Days,” which premieres here, is a potent, exploratory track from the session, featuring serious improvisers like Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet, Oliver Lake on saxophone and Andrew Cyrille on drums.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Newark’s Department of Public Safety is introducing its first class of school crossing guards to their ranks.  Twenty-eight vetted and trained residents are being assigned to the most traffic burdened areas of the city.   

“We had a group of people, we went through 500 people to get these 28.  They are the first point of security that these kids will see going to school and out of school,” says Anthony Ambrose, Director, Newark Department of Public Safety.

Mayor Ras Baraka says hiring more crossing guards has been a request from city parents since he took office.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno announces her candidacy in Keansburg
Phil Gregory

The woman who's been New Jersey's Lt. Governor for the last seven years, has kicked off her campaign to replace her boss in 2018.

In her first campaign speech, Kim Guadagno told supporters in Keansburg that she wants to be governor because she believes the state can do better.

"You want your governor to be committed to making New Jersey a place for families, who strives to do better, who answers the phone, who is there in a crisis, who walks in your shoes, who cares fearlessly and without exception about you, and only you."

Scott Pioli
Atlanta Falcons

Scott Pioli's 25th NFL season has been another magical one.  He's the Assistant General Manager of the Atlanta Falcons, a team that has advanced to the NFC Championship Game this Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

Success is nothing new for Pioli.  He has been named NFL Executive of the Year by various national media outlets five different seasons during his career, including honors from the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated and Pro Football Weekly. 

Nat Hentoff during the annual "A Great Night in Harlem" Benefit Concert at The Apollo Theater in New York City.
STEPHEN LOVEKIN / FILMMAGIC VIA GETTY IMAGES

 

The first and most famous book by Nat Hentoff — Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya, co-credited to Nat Shapiro and originally published in 1955 — is an oral history that rings with the authority of scripture. “This is the story of jazz,” it begins, “as told by the musicians whose lives are that story.” 

 

Donny McCaslin
Jimmy King

 

“No plan,” David Bowie muses in the first verse of a haunting new song by that title. “Wherever I may go / Just where, just there / I am.” These existential lyrics are inextricable from their real-world context: “No Plan” was conceived just as Bowie was confronting his own mortality, with a quiet determination to forge the experience into art.

Welcome to the new WBGO.org! Our site is now more flexible than ever, so you can enjoy listening to the music you love and reading our coverage on any device.

We’re excited to introduce a strong new editorial focus, with in-depth features, news, artist interviews and more. There’ll be something new here every day.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Democrats in New Jersey’s congressional delegation staged a rally in Newark against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

The republican majority congress in both houses are already beginning the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, days before the inauguration of Donald Trump.  The president-elect ran on the platform of repealing and replacing Obamacare.  Democrats in Congress find that troubling.

“They don’t have a plan, we know that,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, a point that was made by each speaker at the rally.

Archbishop Tobin
Ang Santos for WBGO

There's a new Archbishop in Newark and he's the first Cardinal to hold the position in the 164-year history of the Archdiocese.  If he wasn’t dressed in the robes of a Cardinal, you might think Joseph Tobin was a bodybuilder.  As it turns out he sort of is.  Tobin and his six foot three frame were a regular fixture at a gym in Indianapolis, where he previously served as their Archbishop.  Late last year Pope  Francis had other ideas for him.  For Tobin that was a surprise.

Nat Hentoff during the annual "A Great Night in Harlem" Benefit Concert at The Apollo Theater in New York City.
STEPHEN LOVEKIN / FILMMAGIC VIA GETTY IMAGES

Lifelong Jazz and Blues fan Dr. Cornel West, the American philosopher, political activist and social critic wished he could have had more conversations with the late Village Voice columnist and jazz critic Nat Hentoff.  Listen above to Dr. West's thoughts on why Hentoff was so instrumental in his work.

Edison Jaquez
Doug Doyle for WBGO

After spending four months in jail for selling drugs six years ago, Edison Jaquez has turned his life around and is now giving back to his community.  Jaquez, of Perth Amboy, New Jersey is the 2016 Berkeley College Alumnus of the Year.  Jaquez created the mentor group B-Men so he could help troubled teenagers.  Listen above to the in-depth interview with the author and WBGO News Director Doug Doyle.

Hidden Figures
complex.com

Silence, by Martin Scorsese, is a good old fashioned art film about selflessness in a Facebook planet. The Jesuit mission to convert Japan to Christianity has failed in 1633, as Buddhist Japan searches out and executes Jesuit priests and their followers. The last priest, Father Ferreira, played by Liam Neeson has sent word back to Portugal that he has apostasized—renounced God and become a Buddhist.

Should you see The Babylon Line?

Jan 16, 2017
The Babylon Line
lincolncenter.org

Theater Critic Michael Bourne reviews one of the new plays of the 2017 season, The Babylon Line.  Listen above to see if Dr. Bourne was applauding at the end of the show.

Danilo Perez is more than a pianist. He’s an educator, urban developer, the proprietor of his own jazz club – Danilo’s Club – in the heart of old Panama City, Casco Viejo. He’s also the Cultural Ambassador of Panama, where he presents his annual Panama Jazz Festival, which just wrapped up for the year.

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker says the explanation of benefits that insurance companies send to patients contain message codes that are difficult for consumers to understand.

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick says it's irritating to get pages and pages of confusing information about why a medical bill hasn't been paid.

"I think it can frustrate people to the point where they don't know what to do. They end up maybe they don't provide the documents that the insurance company needs because they can't quite figure out what they need."

New Jersey Statehouse
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a measure to help make sure people with disabilities are allowed to take a service dog into public places.

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt says her bill calls for fines up to a thousand dollars for denying that access.

“The American Disabilities Act allows for service dogs to be with their owner to various locations, be it a restaurant, be it department store. However, those within the general population don’t always understand where service dogs can reside.”

Victor Provost started his  musical life in the Virgin Islands, steel drumming along with the horn players he heard on his father's Cannonball Adderley, Chick Corea and Joao Gilberto  records. He studied hard, toured with Paquito D'Rivera, came to the U.S. intent on blending his Island Roots with jazz.

His success  is "Bright Eyes", a new recording, alongside pianist Alex Brown, brother Zach on bass, drummer Billy Williams, Jr. There's a most impressive guest list too, including Paquito D'Rivera, vibist Joe Locke, trumpeter Etiennne Charles and saxophonist Ron Blake.

Pianist Art Hirahara has a diverse resume, spending time  with Charlie Haden, Vincent Herring, Stacey Kent, Dave Douglas and Jenny Scheinman, in addition to recordings of his own dating back to 2000. Art has also studied West African drumming , influences that are part of the palette. His sound is clean, techniquely astute but exploring.

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