WBGO Blog
  • Cephas Bowles Remembered

    February 24, 2015. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Cephas Bowles at the Newark Arts Council's Art Parade
    Cephas Bowles at the Newark Arts Council's Art Parade

    Cephas Bowles, a proud Newark native with a notable reputation in public radio, is being remembered for his 20 years of leadership at WBGO. Cephas passed away on Saturday, February 21, after a lengthy illness. He was 62.

    WBGO could have had no better champion for our city and its music. A graduate of Newark’s Barringer High School, Cephas loved his home town, and was born of its culture - especially its tradition of organ music. All of us at WBGO know that it was jazz in all its forms that sustained him, and throughout the week, our announcers have played and will continue to play musical tributes in his honor.

    A staunch advocate for public radio both locally and nationally, Cephas’ contributions to the viability and growth of WBGO led to the station becoming the leading jazz radio station in the United States, and arguably the world. Under his leadership, WBGO became the primary jazz content producer for NPR. Cephas led the charge for capital improvements to the station’s headquarters in Newark,  as well as the Signal Improvement Project, which involved installing a new transmitter and antenna atop 4 Times Square in New York City.  He significantly grew WBGO’s financial and human resources, and is remembered by all who worked with him as a consummate professional.

    Cephas’ career in radio spanned over 40 years, beginning at CBS News in New York City in 1974 as Assistant Producer for Spectrum.  In 1978, he moved to Tucson, Arizona to work for KUAT, ultimately serving as the Radio Station Manager there from 1983 through 1990, as well as the University of Arizona’s Acting Director of the Division of Media Studies.  Cephas also served on a number of policy and programmatic committees and advisory boards for the City of Tucson, the University of Arizona, NPR, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He was a co-founder of Blacks in Public Broadcasting, and a longstanding committee member of the Tucson Community Foundation. Cephas relocated to Newark in 1993 taking over as General Manager at WBGO, and was named President and CEO in 2009.

    Cephas served on the board of directors of National Public Radio, Inc. where he was the Chairman of the Investment and Administration/Finance Committees.  He served as a longstanding member of the Newark Regional Business Partnership Board of Directors, and was a board member of the Syracuse University Jazz Appreciation Society.  Bowles also offered his expertise to various community Boards, including the Newark Arts Council, Dover Zoning Board of Adjustment, State of NJ Martin Luther King Committee and National Jazz Museum of Harlem.

    Bowles was the recipient of countless other awards including a Jazz Hero Award from the Jazz Journalists of America (2014); the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Ryan Community Service Award (2013); WBGO Champion of Jazz Award, (2013); Syracuse University Jazz Leadership and Alumni Jazz Appreciation Society awards (2012). Other honors included Recognition Award from NPR (2007); Associates in Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Inc. Executive Leadership Award (2006); Newark School of the Arts Shining Star Award (2006); Eller MBA Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Arizona's Karl Eller Master of Business Administration Program (2004). The Star-Ledger named him one of New Jersey's most influential arts leaders (1998) and the City News tapped him as one the 100 Most Influential people (1997).

    Cephas was never far from a radio. "As we spent our last few hours together, Cephas was comforted by the sounds of jazz wafting throughout the room," said Linda Bowles, his wife of nearly 18 years. "He bobbed his head and tapped out the beats with his finger while his beloved WBGO played to the very end."

    Bowles is survived by his wife, Linda Arrington-Bowles, and five siblings: Carey Bowles Jr., Ruth Hall (Jerry), Paul Bowles, Elizabeth Gaskin (Orrett), and Deborah Bowles; and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Carey C. Bowles, Sr., mother, Sarah Rosa Bowles and sister Sarah Wilson.

    Visitation will be held at Fountain Baptist Church, 116 Glenside Avenue, Summit, NJ, on Thursday, February 26, from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. Funeral services will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, February 27, at Fountain Baptist Church with internment immediately following at Evergreen Cemetery, 1137 N. Broad St., Hillside, NJ.

  • Bourne's Mohonk 2015: Better Than Ever

    February 9, 2015. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    This is the first of several highlights from this year's Jazz On The Mountain festival.

    I was afraid I was jinxing myself, as I got ready for this year's JOTM at the Mohonk Mountain House.

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    This year's line-up looked to be one of the best I've emceed, performed at, and "curated" - more like "fantasized" - at Mohonk in 16 years. Almost too good to be true.

    But this year’s JOTM turned out to be, indeed, one of the best.

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    L-R: Amy Niles, Michael Bourne, Guy Davis. Photo: Cynthia Lewis & Byron Smith

    This year’s Jazz On The Mountain was enjoyed by more WBGO’ers than ever before.

    About half of Mohonk’s enormous castle on the lake was filled with folks who'd come on the WBGO trip package, and something like 140 folks attended the Saturday evening dinner with the artists.

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    L-R: WBGO Dinner with Terry Dawson, Rita Annan-Brady & drummer Dennis Mackrel

    Kudos to the indefatigable WBGO travel troupe: Amy Niles, John Newcott, Carmen Balentine, and Jennifer Spiegler.

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    WBGO's Jen Spiegler

    My mantra about the artists I invite to Mohonk is that "they don't come to play a gig, they come to play!"

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    The Butler-Bernstein Hot Nine On Parade

    And the artists who get into the spirit of the jazzfest, in their own shows and often joining in other shows, while also enjoying being with their loved ones in the  Mountain House - we call these artists "Mohonk-y."

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    L-R: Scott Robinson, Martin Wind, Helen Sung, Dennis Mackrel

    And about that Mountain House… it was built in 1869, and it always looks beautiful!

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    Photo: Carmen Balentine

    Coming up: more on our favorite Mohonk-y moments and musicians, including Dave Stryker, Martin Wind, Scott Robinson and Catherine Russell, so stay tuned!

  • Newport Jazz Festival 2015

    January 21, 2015. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Images from the Newport Jazz Festival

    WBGO Travel invites you to enjoy the sun, fun and music at the Newport Jazz Festival, July 31- August 3, 2015.

    Arrive at the Newport Hotel & Marina on Thursday night, rested and ready for the Friday start of the Newport Jazz Festival.

    If a Friday arrival works better for your schedule, join us then. We will greet all our guests on Friday night at a welcome reception at the hotel,  then hop aboard the trolley to take you to/from the concert at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

    Saturday and Sunday mornings, take a short walk to the ferry dock where you will be jetted to a full day of a variety of musical enjoyment at the legendary outdoor Festival inside historic Fort Adams State Park. Before departing back to reality on Monday, join us for a bon voyage breakfast and take in the view from the marina. WBGO will provide you with an insider’s list of the best places to visit when the music isn’t playing, but when it is, you will hear:

    • Christian McBride Trio
    • Cassandra Wilson celebrates Billie Holiday
    • Jon Batiste & Stay Human
    • Chris Botti
    • Dr. John & The Nite Trippers
    • Jamie Cullum
    • Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
    • Jon Faddis: Triumph of Trumpets
    • Cécile McLorin Salvant
    • José James

    Details of Newport weekend package:

    • 3 [or 4] night hotel stay at the recently updated Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina.
    • Welcome Reception at the hotel on Friday evening
    • Two reserved seat concert tickets for Friday night, 8pm at The International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino, , plus round trip ground transportation to/from venue and hotel
    • Two general admission festival tickets for both Saturday & Sunday
    • Bon Voyage Breakfast at the marina on Monday morning
    • Parking at the hotel for 3 [or 4] nights

    Festival Gates open at 10am, Saturday Festival Music Program: 10:45am-7pm, Sunday Festival Music Program: 11am-6:45 pm. Ferry passes to festival site not included. Parking at festival not included.

    Rates & Reservations:
    Double Occupancy:
    3 Night Price: $2,390 includes above detailed package for two people
    4 Night Price: $2,875 includes above detailed package for two people, plus Thursday night stay with Friday day time festival tickets
    Single Occupancy:
    3 Night Price: $1,965 includes above detailed package for one person
    4 Night Price: $2,375 includes above detailed package for one person, plus Thursday night stay with Friday day time festival tickets
    Inquire about family rates. Read our Cancellation Policy.
    To make your reservation call 973-624-8880 x269 or email events@wbgo.org

    Folding Chairs

    Get your WBGO Folding Chair
    If you do not have a chair that meets the regulations of the Festival, we will have some onsite for purchase. If you advise us by reply email or phone that you are interested we will have it for you when you arrive for $30. Should you purchase it onsite it will be $40.
    Dimensions are : 29”H x 19” W x 19” L. Seat to floor is approx. 18” H. Weight limit – approx. 250 lbs. It folds and fits into a carrying case with a strap, they are lightweight and easy to move about. Available in red or blue. There is limited availability!

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