• Singer Natalie Cole Dead At 65

    January 1, 2016. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    Natalie Cole performs at WBGO's Champions of Jazz Gala, 2011, by Fran Kaufman

    Natalie Cole, the Grammy-award winning singer and daughter legendary entertainer Nat King Cole has died. She was 65.

    According to a statement from her family, Cole passed away Thursday night at a Los Angeles hospital "due to complications from ongoing medical issues."

    (from NPR.org)

    "It is with heavy hearts that we bring to you all the news of our Mother and sister's passing. Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived..with dignity, strength and honor. Our beloved Mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain UNFORGETTABLE in our hearts forever."

    Cole's longtime collaborator Tony Bennett confirmed the news to NPR Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon after speaking with Cole's family:

    ‎"I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Natalie Cole as I have cherished the long friendship I had with her, her father Nat and the family over the years. Natalie was an exceptional jazz singer and it was an honor to have recorded and performed with her on several occasions. She was a lovely and generous person who will be greatly missed."

    Cole recorded her first album in 1975 and quickly found success. That album included one of her biggest hits, "This Will Be," which earned her her first Grammy award.

    Cole struggled with substance abuse and a series of health problems, but re-emerged to deliver the 1991 album Unforgettable ... with Love. The hit song "Unforgettable" blended together recordings of her father and her own tracks, making it sound like the two were singing a duet.

    In a 2013 interview with Scott Simon on Weekend Edition, she spoke about the experience of starting out in the music industry:

    "When I first started to sing, the last thing I wanted to do was sing my dad's music. ... It took 15 years into my career before I felt comfortable and confident enough to even attempt it, singing my father's music."

    -Merrit Kennedy

    WBGO will feature musical tributes to Cole all weekend.

    WBGO's Sheila Anderson remembers Natalie Cole on NBC NY.

  • WBGO's Gary Walker talks about pianist Joey Alexander on CBS' 60 Minutes

    December 29, 2015. Posted by Nicole Sweeney.

    Anderson Cooper & WBGO's Gary Walker
    Anderson Cooper & WBGO's Gary Walker

    A proud moment in jazz is when our music is acknowledged and celebrated in mainstream media. This year, 12 year old jazz pianist Joey Alexander has had the world listening to and watching him closely.  CBS's 60 Minutes followed Joey for several months and the results aired on the program's first episode of the new year, featuring a conversation between Anderson Cooper and our own Gary Walker, host of Morning Jazz. Check out the video here.

    Gary Walker & Joey Alexander
    Gary Walker & Joey Alexander

    Eventbrite - Newport Jazz Festival: 2016 Day Trips

  • Celebrate the New Year with WBGO!

    December 29, 2015. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Celebrate with WBGO all New Year's Eve and into New Year's Day with three specials!

    Thursday 12/31, 6PM & Friday 1/1, 5AMThe Best of 2015

    Join WBGO hosts Gary Walker, Rhonda Hamilton and Michael Bourne as they discuss and play excerpts from their favorite jazz releases of 2015.

    Gary Walker, Rhonda Hamilton, Michael Bourne

    Thursday 12/31, 7PM The WBGO New Year’s Eve Swing Party with Bob Porter

    Bob Porter’s big appetite for rhythm and blues is world renowned. But you may be surprised to find out he also has a sweet tooth for swing; he’ll ring in the new year with a foot tapping mix of his favorites and music influenced by the swing era.

    Thursday 12/31, 9PM & Friday 1/1, 6AM Toast of the Nation;

    A WBGO and NPR tradition every New Year's Eve, Toast of the Nation is the perfect sound track for the occasion. Hosted by our own Rhonda Hamilton, Toast of the Nation brings you jazz that you will party to all night long with countdowns to midnight in all four continental time zones. Spirited, improvised, grooving and swinging, each segment is a stop in a sequence of celebrations, contributing something new to the musical feast. 8 hours of music will start at 9pm EST and continue throughout the night until 5am. Featuring recorded performances by Allan Toussaint, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Snarky Puppy, Wycliffe Gordon, and more.

    Toast of the Nation kicks off with Anat Cohen!

    Anat Cohen
    Anat Cohen

    From all of us here at WBGO, we thank you for a great 2015 and wish you a happy, healthy & prosperous New Year!!

  • Happy Holidays from WBGO

    December 18, 2015. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    On December 24 and 25, WBGO will air holiday music with limited interruption, so you can enjoy the season with the music you love.

    In anticipation, we decided to gather some of great holiday jazz content in one place so you can enjoy it whenever you wish. Bookmark the page, as we will add music as it becomes available.

    courtesy SC Public Radio

    Pink Martini, Photo Credit: Chris Hornbecker
    Pink Martini, Photo Credit: Chris Hornbecker

  • WBGO Celebrates Rosa Parks

    December 1, 2015. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    60 years ago today, on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Following her arrest, a 381 day bus boycott began. The boycott brought a focal point to the Civil Rights movement, and a young pastor, Marin Luther King, Jr. emerged as a national leader in the wake of the action.

    Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. - Creative Commons License
    Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. - Creative Commons License

    Rosa Parks' visit to East Orange, New Jersey school covered on WBGO Journal (1999)