WBGO Blog
  • WBGO Says Goodbye To Amiri Baraka

    January 9, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Add new comment | Filed under: josh jackson, RIP

    WBGO says goodbye to Amiri Baraka, who died today at 79. The author, activist and Newark native made indelible contributions to literature and music criticism, in particular through Blues People, his groundbreaking 1963 collection of essays which traced the evolution of African-American music.

    "He was one of the most insightful and brilliant observers jazz has ever attracted," said jazz writer Paul de Barros, upon learning of his death. "Part of a time when the context for jazz writing was so much broader and more connected -- in Baraka's case, to poetry, drama, social criticism and politics."

    Many of us at WBGO had the good fortune to know Amiri, and his urbane, incisive and unrepentant wit. Most recently, WBGO's Josh Jackson sat down with Baraka to talk about Blues People on the 50th anniversary of its publication. We'd like to share the conversation with you again now.

    Thank you, Amiri, and rest in peace. WBGO's condolences are with Baraka's family and many friends.

    The Wake
    Friday, January 17, 2014
    4:00pm to 9:00pm
    Metropolitan Baptist Church
    149 Springfield Avenue
    Newark, NJ 07103
    973.642.2267
    www.mbcnewark.org

    The Funeral
    Saturday, January 18, 2014
    10:00am
    Newark Symphony Hall
    1020 Broad Street
    Newark, NJ
    973.643.8014
    www.newarksymphonyhall.org

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  • Glasper & Moran On Blue Note Anniversary: Listen Now

    January 5, 2014. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Listen now to pianists Robert Glasper and Jason Moran talk with Josh Jackson about their Jan. 8 concert at New York's Town Hall to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Blue Note Records, part of the 2014 New York Winter Jazz Festival.

    Jackson will host the Jan. 8 concert, and got the party started early with a hilarious conversation that touched on everything from double octaves to how to play jazz for the hip-hop generation.

    "Just thinking outside the box and saying, 'Ok, this is who we are, and this is our sound,'" says Glasper, "it's opening the doors for so many other artists to do what they naturally want to do."

    They also talked about and played some of their favorite recordings by Sam Rivers, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard.

    Click here to hear Jackson's full hour-long conversation with Moran and Glasper. Enjoy!

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    Glasper and Moran braved the mountains of snow dumped on the tri-state area by Super Storm Hercules, with their three young sons in tow, to reach the WBGO studios in Newark for the interview on Friday.

    The Jan. 8 concert commemorates Blue Note's first recording session, held Jan. 6, 1939, with boogie-woogie pianists Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis. The pianists will be joined at Town Hall by drummer Eric Harland, tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, vocalist Bilal and Alan Hampton on bass.

    The show kicks off a year of celebrations by Blue Note, which over eight decades has recorded artists ranging from from Sidney Bechet and Thelonious Monk to Norah Jones, as well as Moran, who has been with Blue Note since his first recording for the label fifteen years ago, and Glasper, who released his sixth Blue Note album in October.

    "There's not really many labels that will just let you be who you are," says Moran. "They have continued to say, 'Oh, we see where you're going, here's your open canvas, your open palette, and go ahead and make something.' "

    Moran and Glasper both graduated from Houston's High School For Performing And Visual Arts - several years apart - and performed together in January of 2011 as part of WBGO's "Houstonians in NYC" concert at the 92Y Tribeca.

    Click here to hear the full audio of the "Houstonians in NYC" concert.

  • Josh Jackson Named WBGO's New VP of Content

    August 19, 2013. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    NEWARK, NJ, August 19, 2013 - Josh Jackson has been named to the newly-created position of Vice President of Content of WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM, it was announced today by Amy Niles, the station's Acting President and CEO. Jackson, who continues as host of WBGO's hour-long music magazine, The Checkout, was previously Special Projects Producer.

    Josh Jackson
    Josh Jackson, WBGO VP of Content

    "I am pleased to name Josh as our Vice President of Content," said Niles. "This new position reflects the evolving nature of WBGO as both a creator and distributor of content for our communities of Jazz and News. Josh has a keen understanding and respect for the past, present and future of jazz. He is the personification of WBGO's mission to continue the vibrancy of this music as a cultural art form and his enthusiasm for broadcasting is contagious."

    Jackson began his radio career at WWOZ in New Orleans, moved to New York to become the associate producer of Jazz from Lincoln Center with Ed Bradley and joined WBGO in 2001. He has created three multi-platform concert programs, Live at the Village Vanguard, The Checkout: Live at 92Y Tribeca and The Checkout: Live at Berklee, all in partnership with NPR. Jackson has produced award-winning documentaries and hundreds of live concert recordings while at WBGO. He is the co-founder of Joyride Media and the 2010 and 2012 recipient of the Jazz Journalists Association's Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Broadcasting.

    Jackson's recent programming initiative is WBGO Radar - a discovery service for new music. Jackson and WBGO Music Director Gary Walker review new recordings and consider them for exclusive debuts at WBGO.org/RADAR.