• WBGO In South Africa 3: In Soweto

    March 25, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    I learned today Soweto is an acronym for South West Townships. It’s a sprawling, culturally rich and economically diverse collection of communities. With well over a million people, Soweto makes up half of the population of Johannesburg.


    “The Soweto Uprising” began on June 16, 1976 when Hector Peterson, only 12 years old, was killed when South African police fired into a crowd of students.

    Over the next two days, perhaps as many as 1200 more black Africans were killed -- 89 under the age of 20 and 12 under the age of 7.

    The students had gathered to protest the State’s declaration that Afrikaans be the official language of instruction in African schools.


    This now-iconic image of Hector being carried by 18-year-old Mbuyasi Makhubo was taken by news photographer Sam Nzima, and provoked an international outcry.

    Both were forced into hiding because of harassment by the police. The young girl is in the photo is Hector’s 17 year old sister, Antoinette.  She later worked at this museum as a guide.


    Our day includes a delicious lunch at Chez Alina, one of the many thriving businesses in Soweto.

    Alina set up the restaurant in her home. The walls are covered in works of art. We dine to the sounds of a jazz trio brought in especially for our WBGO group. Good food, good music – everyone is all smiles.

    Here's Alina with my friend, Brenda Raney, and our tour host from Immersion Journeys, Hema Shah.


    Inside Chez Alina, we enjoy Abudullah Ibrahim’s famous South African jazz anthem “Mannenberg.”

    Outside, we are treated with some traditional African drumming and dancing.

    The littlest ones put on a great show!


  • WBGO Celebrates Blue Note's 75th Anniversary

    October 20, 2014. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    WBGO Presents: Our Point of View in their only East Coast Appearance
    December 12 at Le Poisson Rouge


    To commemorate WBGO’s 35th anniversary year, we are teaming up with Blue Note Records at the close of their 75th anniversary year to present the only East Coast appearance of the supergroup, Our Point of View. With a limited number of engagements in Monterey, Paris, London and New York City, the December 12, 2014 performance in support of WBGO will be the only opportunity for fans in the jazz capital to experience this historic group.

    Created in honor of Blue Note’s anniversary, Our Point of View celebrates the vitality of the label by looking ahead and bringing together the leading young artists on the Blue Note roster who steadfastly continue to move jazz forward. Featuring keyboardist Robert Glasper, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, guitarist Lionel Loueke, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and bassist Derrick Hodge with drummer Kendrick Scott, the band’s repertoire draws from each of these artists’ own remarkable catalogs as well new spins on Blue Note classics.

    The creative young voices of jazz have been the lifeblood of Blue Note Records since its formation in 1939—from Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock, to Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson—all of whom made their debut albums for the legendary label. Since WBGO’s inception in 1979, the station has been at the forefront of many brilliant jazz careers, including the members of this group, each of whom has performed in WBGO’s studio in Newark.

    Our Point of View
    Our Point of View

    December 12, 2014 ι Le Poisson Rouge

    In 2009, WBGO launched an innovative program entitled, The Checkout, which brought each of these musicians into our Newark studios to perform as band leaders and discuss their music. Two years later, veteran record producer and musician Don Was joined Blue Note as Chief Creative Officer and soon became its president, renewing its dedication to the original label vision, articulated by Blue Note founder Alfred Lion that “any particular style of playing which represents an authentic way of musical feeling is genuine expression.”

    Checkout the members of Our Point of View on WBGO:

    Listen Now

    Listen Now

    Listen Now

    Listen Now

    Listen Now

    Listen Now

  • Summer Fun With WBGO: Photo Gallery

    August 18, 2014. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    As summer 2014 winds down, we wanted to take a look back at some of the great many WBGO listeners we had the chance to meet this season at our partner events.

    Thanks to our partners, we made it out to more than 50 concerts this summer, during the Blue Note Jazz Festival, SummerStage (all around NYC), Celebrate Brooklyn, Montclair Jazz Festival, Jazz in the Garden and Sounds of the City (both in our hometown of Newark), Newport Jazz Festival, WBGO's concerts at Gateway 2 and more.

    To get information about these events and others, sign up for WBGO's Jazz-e-News, and visit WBGO.org/events.

    We look forward to seeing you soon!