March 2, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
WBGO says farewell to NEA Jazz Master Orrin Keepnews, who passed away at 91 on March 1.
The producer's Riverside Records, which he co-founded in 1953, was home to memorable sessions by pianist Thelonious Monk, saxophonist Sonny Rollins and many others.
Keepnews and former Columbia classmate Bill Grauer worked together at Record Changer magazine, then launched Riverside on a shoestring in 1953. At first, they focused on reissues of traditional jazz and blues, but quickly gained interest in modern jazz, signing pianists Randy Weston in 1954 and Thelonious Monk in 1955.
While Keepnews famously insisted a record producer was really a catalyst, rather than a creator, his thoughtful approach quickly earned respect from many of the era's most innovative music makers.
In appreciation, Pianist Bill Evans composed "Re: A Person I Knew" - an anagram of Keepnews' name - and recorded it for Riverside in 1962:
In 2011, Keepnews was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. The nation's highest honor for jazz musician, he is one of only a handful of non-musicians - along with fellow writers Nat Hentoff and Dan Morgenstern - to receive the honor for their advocacy.
Thank you, Orrin!
© 2015 WBGO
February 25, 2015. Posted by Amy Niles.
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Cephas Bowles, the recently retired President and CEO of WBGO-FM, Newark Public Radio.
Cephas was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia approximately 2 years ago and underwent a bone marrow transplant in November of 2013 in hopes of altering the course of the disease.
Cephas was born and raised in Newark, and WBGO could have had no better champion for our city and its music. He loved Newark, and was born of its culture - especially its tradition of organ music.
When he was tapped to return to Newark to assume leadership at WBGO after working at public media station KUAT in Tucson, he joined the board of trustees of NPR and was very vocal in his campaign for diversity within the public radio system.
Cephas was a very private man, but certain elements of his life he wouldn't mind sharing- his commitment to Newark, yes. This music, most definitely. But also his other main passions- his connection to Syracuse University, where he got his start in radio and his love of his family, most importantly his wife Linda.
We can find no better way to honor Cephas than to steadfastly champion his mission to keep WBGO thriving. He would want nothing more than to know that the his work that he began at WBGO has a strong future and lives on through the next generation.
Over the next few days, you will hear dedications of music in his memory and our hope is that we are all able to take a moment to reflect on how fortunate we all are to have been touched by his great spirit.
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.
To read WBGO's press release on Cephas's passing, click here.
© 2015 WBGO
February 22, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.
WBGO says goodbye to trumpeter, educator and NEA Jazz Master Clark Terry, who died from complications of diabetes Feb. 21, 2105.
Born Dec. 14, 1920 in St. Louis, Terry was a key player in the ensembles of Duke Ellington and Count Basie in the 1950s, and he broke barriers by becoming the first African-American staff musician for the NBC television network, and was a longtime member of the Tonight Show Band.
Terry was an exceptional educator, and shared unstintingly of his knowledge with younger trumpeters, including Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. Most recently, Terry took Justin Kauflin, a young, blind piano player, under his wing - Terry's teaching methods and mentorship of Kauflin inspired the 2014 documentary film Keep On Keepin' On, directed by Alan Hicks, which Jones produced.
Jones spoke with WBGO's Gary Walker last year about the film and Terry's legacy. We'd like to share the conversation again with you now:
Kauflin visited WBGO just last month, and also spoke with Gary about what Terry meant to him. Here's that conversation:
Thank you Clark, for your indomitable spirit, which shone like a beacon through your teaching and your music!
Reverend Calvin Butts will lead the service for Clark Terry, Saturday, February 28 at 10am at Abyssinian Baptist Church, located at 132 W 138th St, New York, NY. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to the Jazz Foundation of America which has helped over the years to make sure that Clark's needs were met. Please note when making donations online that they be noted "In Honor of Clark Terry" to help them continue this lifesaving work: http://jazzfoundation.org/memory_honor
© 2015 WBGO