• Newark Stories: Reverend Louise Scott-Rountree

    October 25, 2016. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    Perched atop a hill on Martin Luther King Blvd in the heart of Newark’s central ward sits a soaring and powerful remnant of Newark’s rich history as an industrial giant, the famed Kruger-Scott Mansion.

    The 26-room mansion, built in 1887 by German immigrant turned wealthy beer baron Gottfried Kruger, is one of the remaining symbols of the wealth that once permeated throughout the city.

    The mansion, now on the national registry of historic places, was last owned by Louise Scott, a dynamic businesswoman who established a successful chain of beauty salons in Newark, and is believed to have been the city’s first African-American female millionaire. Ms. Scott purchased the home in 1959 and maintained it both as her residence and the location of her Scott College of Beauty Culture until her death.

    Scott’s only daughter, Reverend Louise Scott-Rountree, grew up in the house from the time she was born and recalls what life was like in the now vacant mansion.

  • Joanna Connor Visits the Blues Break With Michael Bourne

    October 24, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    Blues singer and guitar virtuoso Joanna Connor talks to Michael Bourne about her new album and shares stories about making her bones on the Chicago scene with heavyweights like Buddy Guy.

    Joanna Connor Band

  • Newark Stories: Stopping the Newark Nazis

    October 21, 2016. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    In 1933, when Hitler came to power in Germany, there was a place on Springfield Avenue in Newark, called Schwaben-Halle, where Nazis used to gather.

    But Newark had its own anti-Nazi groups along the same time.

    One man, a boxer named Nat Arno was a strongman for one of the anti-Nazi groups. His friends and family - sister Rose Yannick, wife Ann Arno, and fellow boxers Dave Halper and Bernie Callatane - describe how Nat struck a powerful blow for Jewish families in Newark.

    Warren Grover, a former president of the Jewish Historical Society in New Jersey wrote a book called "Nazi's in Newark." These are his recordings, now kept at Jewish Historical Society of New Jersey.

  • Herbie Hancock's Latest Voyage

    October 20, 2016

    Herbie Hancock always seems to be on some kind of voyage. Whether he's improvising in a spaceship surrounded by 11 keyboards or forming new iterations of bands, you can always count on him to push the possibilities and the boundaries of jazz.

    This concert presentation includes the most recent member of the group: Flying Lotus and Terrace Martin on keyboards and alto saxophone. It also features Lionel Loueke on guitar and vocals, James Genus on bass, and Trevor Lawrence Jr. on drums.

    On this radio episode, Jazz Night in America host Christian McBride sits down with Hancock to discuss his technological journey over the years. We'll also hear stories from Herbie's longtime keyboard tech, Bryan Bell, and a testimonial from Paris Strother, keyboard player for the R&B trio KING.


    Herbie Hancock (piano, keytar, vocals), James Genus (bass), Trevor Lawrence, Jr. (drums), Lionel Loueke (guitar, vocals), Terrace Martin (keyboards, vocals, alto saxophone)


    Producers: Alex Ariff, Patrick Jarenwattananon, Colin Marshall, Simon Rentner, Katie Simon; Editors: Colin Marshall, Nikki Boliaux; Audio Engineer: David Tallacksen; Concert Videographers: Colin Marshall, Nick Michael, Olivia Merrion, Chris Parks, AJ Wilhelm; Host, Christian McBride; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundmann, Amy Niles; Special Thanks: Jay Eigenmann, Simon Rentner; Concert Produced By: This Is Our Music/Brice Rosenbloom, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival/Jack Walsh; Funded in part by: The Argus Fund, Doris Duke Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Wyncote Foundation

    Copyright 2016 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • NC350: Newark - The Center of the Poetry Universe

    October 19, 2016. Posted by Steve Williams.

    Add new comment | Filed under: NC350

    This week "The Gateway City" is the site of the 16th Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, the largest gathering of poets and poetry enthusiasts in North America. To celebrate the festival's 16th edition, WBGO is playing jazz interpretations of some of the world's most beloved poems. Here are some of the recordings we've featured this week, during Midday Jazz with Rhonda Hamilton and Saturday Afternoon Jazz with Monifa Brown.

    Strange Fruit -Abe Meeropol/Billie Holiday

    Written by New York City schoolteacher Abe Meeropol as a protest against the lynching of African Americans, the poem was published in 1937 and was soon set to music. Shortly afterwards, Meeropool met Billie Holiday and asked her to record the song, which she did for the first time in 1939. Since then, Strange Fruit has been performed or recorded numerous times, but Holiday's stirring recordings of the poem over the span of her career remain the most memorable.

    Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman/Fred Hersch

    “I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
    And what I assume you shall assume,
    For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” - Walt Whitman (from "Leaves of Grass")

    New York native Walt Whitman never truly finished his epic creation; though first published as a small volume of 12 poems in 1855, Leaves of Grass grew to a compilation of over 400 after 4 decades of revisions, the last of which was completed shortly before the author's death in 1892. In 2005, pianist Fred Hersch recorded several musical interpretations of Whitman's best known works, which add yet another "leaf" to the exultant and groundbreaking collection of poems.

    I Carry Your Heart - E.E. Cummings/Kate McGarry

    Cummings and McGarry grew from Massachusetts roots - he from Cambridge, she from Hyannis - and their works display a common penchant for the eclectic and unconventional.  Before his death of a stroke at the age of 67, Cummings amassed a body of work that includes two novels, four plays, numerous paintings and drawings and nearly 3000 poems, containing some of the most romantic passages in American literature. Such is the case with "I Carry Your Heart", which appears in musical form on Kate McGarry's 2008 release  "If Less Is More...Nothing is Everything. McGarry, who has also sung interpretations of Walt Whitman's poetry, lifts Cummings' words from the page with requisite sweetness and sensitivity. Above is a recording of the author himself reading the poem.