• WBGO Says Farewell to Cephas Bowles

    February 25, 2015. Posted by Amy Niles.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Amy Niles, RIP

    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.

  • Farewell to Trumpeter Clark Terry

    February 22, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Add new comment | Filed under: RIP

    WBGO says goodbye to trumpeter, educator and NEA Jazz Master Clark Terry, who died from complications of diabetes Feb. 21, 2015.


    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

  • Farewell to NEA Jazz Master Gerald Wilson

    September 9, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    WBGO says goodbye to Gerald Wilson, who died Sept. 8 at his home in Los Angeles, four days after his 94th birthday.

    The trumpeter, bandleader and arranger played a key role in the development of West Coast and orchestral jazz over his 75 years as a professional musician. Fresh out of Detroit's Cass Technical High School in 1939, he joined Jimmie Lunceford's band and never looked back.

    Based in Los Angeles, Wilson arranged for Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and dozens of others, as well as his own large and small ensembles. In 1990, he was named an NEA Jazz Master, the nation's highest honor for a jazz musician.

    Wilson visited WBGO many times over the years, and stopped by in 2003 for a heartfelt chat with Morning Jazz host Gary Walker, which we'd like to share with you again now.

    Thank you, Gerald, we will miss you!


  • WBGO Says Goodbye To Violinist John Blake, Jr.

    August 19, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Add new comment | Filed under: RIP

    WBGO says goodbye to  master violinist, teacher, folklorist, and dear friend John Blake, Jr., who passed away Aug. 15 at age 67 from the complications of multiple myeloma.

    He is survived by his wife Barbara Blake, son Johnathan, daughters Beverly Blake Woodson and Jennifer Blake Watson, his two sisters Vivian Carson and Charlotte Blake-Alston, his two brothers Alan and Elliot Blake, and a host of nieces, nephews, in-laws and grandchildren.

    The family thanks John's extended family of friends, students and admirers for their prayers and kind words.

    John visited WBGO in 2010 to play and talk about his recording Motherless Child, which celebrated the history of African-American spirituals. We'd like to share this conversation and solo performance with you again now:


    There will be a public viewing in Philadelphia on Sunday, August 24th at:

    Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services
    7112 N. Broad St.
    Philadelphia, PA 19126
    (215) 549-4700
    1pm-3:30 p.m.

    This will be followed by Going Home Services on Monday, August 25th at:

    Sharon Baptist Church
    3955 Conshohocken Ave.
    Philadelphia, PA. 19131
    (215) 473-3000
    Viewing: 9-11 a.m.
    Service: 11 a.m.

  • Horace Silver Memorial Service: July 7 at 7 p.m.

    July 1, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    A memorial service will be held Monday, July 7 at 7 p.m. for pianist and composer Horace Silver, at the Saint Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church at 290 Henry Street in Manhattan, NY, 10002.

    Attire is casual, and the family requests flowers not be sent to the church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to:

    Horace Silver Foundation

    20 Emerson Point

    New Rochelle, NY 10801

    Silver passed away June 18 at his home in New Rochelle from cardiac arrest.

    Born in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1928, Silver got his first big break in 1950. when saxophonist Stan Getz heard the pianist's group in Hartford and invited them on tour. Moving to New York in 1951, he recorded many memorable sessions for the Blue Note Records and remained with the label until 1980.

    Silver, who was honored as an NEA Jazz Master in 1995, will be remembered for his soulful hard-bop performances and compositions, which include "Peace," "Song For My Father," "Sister Sadie" and "The Preacher."

    WBGO says goodbye to this dear friend and master musician. Our condolences go out to Jemela, Greg, other family members and the countless others he touched over the years.

    Thank you, Horace, and rest in peace!

    Photo by Dimitri Savitski