• Farewell to NEA Jazz Master Orrin Keepnews

    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.

    More about Keepnews' storied career, including links to interviews, can be found at his NEA Jazz Masters profile page and in his New York Times obituary by Nate Chinen.

    Thank you, Orrin!

  • Delfeayo Marsalis on AMNH Premiere: Listen Now

    February 27, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    Trombonist and NEA Jazz Master Delfeayo Marsalis talks with Glenn Crespo about "From The African Village To The Urban Village," a work he debuts Sat., Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. at New York's American Museum of Natural History, and his new album, "The Last Southern Gentleman."

    The concert, with youth performers from Harlem and New Orleans, is part of the museum's "Here We Stand: Honor Black History" series. Enjoy!


  • 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.