Torch Song
Michael Bourne for WBGO

It’s more of a renewal than a revival.  WBGO theater critic Michael Bourne  reviews the Second Stage production of Torch Song, now back on Broadway.

Click above to hear the review.

Jerry Gant
WBGO archive

A memorial service is set for Monday morning at 9 o’clock at Newark Symphony Hall for renowned Newark visual artist, poet and educator Jerry Gant.

Gant’s friend and business partner Linda Street, who calls herself the chief chick at Pink Dragon Artist Syndicate in East Orange, says Gant lost his battle with liver cancer last Sunday.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Governor Phil Murphy says there were about 1,800 plows and salt spreaders ready to clear the roads, but the snowstorm hit much harder than anyone predicted.

“Unfortunately, the worst of the storm coincided with the early dismissals from schools and workplaces. Meaning that when we needed our road crews and all of that equipment out there the most, they were competing with folks, understandably by the way, trying to get back home at the same time as well,” Murphy said.

Ian O'Connor
Chris Tobin for WBGO News

Ian O'Connor grew up in Englewood, New Jersey as a Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and Roger Staubach fan.  He also graduated from St. Cecilia High School, the same school where the legendary Vince Lombardi coached.

O'Connor is a senior writer at, a nationally-acclaimed columnist and the author of three New York Times bestsellers.  His most recent one is the definitive biography of the NFL's most controversial but successful coach, Bill Belicheck.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The New Jersey Attorney General's office is suing Janssen Pharmaceuticals, alleging the company deceived consumers about the dangers of its opioid painkillers.  It’s the first such case brought by the Office against a pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey.

“We allege that Janssen masterminded a public relations campaign to undermine accepted medical practices.  It used a network of sales representatives to push it’s misleading marketing.  It quietly funded front organizations that peddled it’s bogus theories,” said NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

Alexandra Hill / News

Its official New York City is one of two locations for Amazon’ s second headquarters. The tech giant says the move will bring more than 25,000 jobs to Queens. Amazon says it expects to invest $2.5 billion in its new Long Island City headquarters. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo says the benefits of having Amazon in New York City far out way the more than 1.5 billion dollars the tech giant will receive in tax incentives as part of the deal.

Courtesy of the artist

Although guitarist Django Reinhardt and his violinist friend Stéphane Grappelli formed their Quintette du Hot Club de France back in 1934, there are legions today with a burning desire to join the club and know more about the music, the man and the lifestyle that generated such feverish playing.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Veterans Day 2018 marked the centennial anniversary of the end of WWI. 

“It was 100 years ago today on the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month that guns fell silent and the first world war came to an end,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy addressing dozens of veterans.  “Of course, no one knew then when the bells tolled that it would be the first world war.  It was known only as the great war.  Some called it the war to end all wars.  How we wish they were right.”

Gloria Coino says members of her family served in every American war.  

university of california press

Dexter Gordon was an indisputable jazz legend when he died in 1990, at 67.

Debating Poetry with Newark Author Jasmine Mans, on the New Podcast 'art & isms'

Nov 12, 2018
Photo courtesy of the artist

On this episode of art & isms, Jasmine Mans — an internationally known poet and author from Newark, N.J. — recites and explains a poem, talks about her relationship to the city of Newark, reflects on what she learned on the speech and debate team in high school, and explains one of her most controversial poems, “Footnotes for Kanye.”

Mans is hosting free poetry workshops for teens and young adults at the Newark Public Library through Dec. 5. 

Girl from the North Country
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Dysfunctional families have been a mainstay of playwrights since the Greeks. Parents and children, Husband and wives, and even communities at odds. All of the above are on stage lately.

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews Apologia, The Ferryman, Mother of the Maid, Girl from the North Country.

Andy Biskin
Anja Hitzenberger

The late Alan Lomax was an ethnomusicologist, record producer, radio host and academic. Lomax is credited with bringing Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Lead Belly to a wider audience. 

Andy Biskin, a New York clarinetist who worked for him in the 1970's has taken some of the classic folk songs Lomax documented and re-interpreted them for a brass and woodwind ensemble.  Theresult is something jazz fans will appreciate.

Click above to hear the feature on Andy Biskin.

King Hedley II
Two River Theater for WBGO

The year is 1985. King Hedley II has returned from prison looking to rebuild his life, save some money, plant a backyard garden, and start a family.  This production is the halfway mark of Two River Theater presenting the 10 plays of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle.

WBGO News Director Doug Doyle chats with two of the stars of King Hedley II, Harvy Blanks (Elmore) and Charlie Hudson III (Mister).

Obie Award-winner Brandon J. Dirden (A Raisin in the Sun, August Wilson’s Jitney) directs.

Benoit Rousseau

While the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements have shaped the debate in the United States, our neighbor, Canada, is going through its own cultural awakening and moment of reckoning. Rising stars like Jeremy Dutcher are giving its mistreated indigenous population a voice through music.


Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed a bill he says is the country's strongest ban on so-called ghost guns.  

The law prohibits selling, manufacturing or owning firearms without a serial number.  New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says that includes guns made with a 3D printer, 


James Francies has a love affair with the piano. It’s apparent when you hear him play. We had that opportunity when he visited Afternoon Jazz to promote Flight, his debut album, recently released on Blue Note.  

Ang Santos / WBGO

Many New Jersey voters encountered long lines and malfunctioning machines at the polls yesterday.  

A lot of voters who mailed in ballots in 2016 had to use provisional ballots at the polls this time. That’s because a new law signed by the governor this year that automatically lists them as mail-in voters.  It caused problems at the polls, but Murphy says it expanded voter participation.

“While it may have brought some confusion, four hundred thousand people, over four hundred thousand people voted by mail, a third of them we believe are new voters.”

Associated Press

Democrat Bob Menendez of New Jersey is heading back to the Senate for his third term.

The two-term incumbent faced tough competition from his Republican challenger.

Former drug company CEO Bob Hugin ran against Menendez self-funding his campaign and blanketing the airwaves with T-V ads about Menendez’s corruption trial.

The federal case ended in a mistrial last fall when a jury couldn’t reach a verdict. In his victory speech last night Menendez pledged to win back the support of residents.

Alexandra Hill / News

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is pushing back against reports of elevated levels of lead and other toxins in the city’s water supply amid comparisons to the crisis in Flint, Michigan, by the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

Baraka says Flint's water crisis, which was caused by the city's failure to apply corrosion control treatment is incomparable to that of Newark, adding that they became aware of the issue in October after a self-commissioned report.


Trumpeter and composer Roy Hargrove, who died tragically on Friday at 49,  is best known for his unflappable command in small-group settings, including his sterling quintet. But he was also a connoisseur of the big band — leading his own, on and off, through most of his career.

The Roy Hargrove Big Band released a single album, Emergence, in 2009. Around the time of the album’s release, he brought the 18-piece ensemble to WBGO for a session on Afternoon Jazz. Highlights from that session were later featured on The Checkout, then hosted by Josh Jackson.


The seventh annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival kicks off this weekend at NJPAC in Newark. Alexandra Hill sits down with WBGO’s own Gary Walker for an exclusive preview. You can get more information and

see the entire schedule for the festival here

When the federal corruption trial surrounding Democratic Senator Bob Menendez ended in a hung jury, he sent a shot out against those seeking his seat.

“To those who were digging my political grave so they can jump into my seat, I know who you are and I won’t forget you,” he said during a press briefing after the trial.

Republican Bob Hugin has spent close to 30 million dollars to remind voters that Menendez was on trial.  Still the democrat says that a jury of his peers didn’t find him guilty.

Michael Bourne
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater critic Michael Bourne checked out two new Broadway plays this week, The Lifespan of a Fact and The Waverly Gallery.

Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, Tony Award winner Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale of Third Watch and Boardwalk Empire fame, return to Broadway to star in the world premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact,

Click above to hear his review of both shows.

Marek Lazarski

Andrew Cyrille, a drummer and composer who has stood near the center of the jazz avant-garde since its origins in the 1960s, will be the Vision Festival’s next lifetime achievement honoree. He’s due to receive his honor during the 24th annual edition of that event, at Roulette in Brooklyn next June.

Courtesy of the artist

The Other Side of the Story is drummer Matt Kane’s third release as a leader, but the first to showcase his talent as a composer.

Kane was born and raised in Hannibal, Mo., and since moving to the New York/New Jersey area in 1997, has established himself as a highly accomplished drummer as well as a skillful and effective educator. From the first track here, you know you’re in for a tuneful, upbeat experience.

Flor De Liz Perez
T. Charles Erickson

Flor De Liz Perez makes her George Street Playhouse debut in the world premiere of The Trial of Donna Caine. Perez plays the role of Marine Staff Sergeant Donna Caine.

Perez came into the WBGO studios to talk to News Director Doug Doyle about the show and her career.


For years, Justin Brown has been a drummer in high demand, constantly on the road with the likes of Thundercat and Ambrose Akinmusire. At the same time, he’s been carefully writing his own compositions, and plotting his debut as a bandleader.

He released his debut album, NYEUSI, in June — and heralded its arrival with a show jointly presented by WBGO and Revive Music.