News

There are many theories as to why jazz is cool again.

Perhaps we’re not giving enough credit to Brainfeeder, the genre-agnostic indie label founded by composer-producer Flying Lotus. Ten years have passed, and one thing is clear: the L.A. based company has been steadily boosting jazz’s prospects and giving the music a healthy makeover. Today we listen back to some of its early recordings, and shine a light on two of its rising stars, Brandon Coleman and Jameszoo.

Agence France Presse / Getty Images

Ang Santos / WBGO

2010 Census statistics show most children under age 5 that weren’t counted live in what’s called “hard to count” areas.  Experts say these are generally majority minority, low poverty municipalities.

“I can say that my wife and I are taking it so seriously, that since the last census count, we’ve had three children,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, who jokes about it but understands that his city has one of the largest populations of undercounted children in New Jersey.  That’s why Paterson created a Complete Count Committee.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

Winter Jazzfest has come and gone, but the afterglow remains.

WBGO had boots on the ground for the full festival sprawl, from Bilal's first yowl on opening night to the late shift by Chris Dave & The Drumhedz in the wee hours of the final Marathon night. And for a decent number of those sets, our in-house photographers were busy following the action. 

During his first State of the State speech earlier this week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy highlighted his administration’s recent audit of the state’s tax break program.

He criticized lax oversight at the Economic Development Authority and said the money could have been better spent elsewhere.

More than just bashing enforcement of the incentives, Murphy criticized the law itself.

“The audit revealed bad policy, badly run, a program more likely to have been drawn-up in a smoke-filled back room than created for New Jersey’s future,” he said Tuesday.

New Jersey’s medical marijuana program swelled during Gov. Phil Murphy’s first year in office, doubling its number of patients to more than 39,000.

The number of doctors also grew, from just more than 500 physicians to nearly 900.

But Murphy wants even more doctors to join, so state officials have been hitting the road to convince medical professionals of the benefits of medical marijuana — and dispel what they say are the myths.

Alexandra Hill / News

While overall crime is down in New Jersey’s largest city, officials say they have seen a spike in rapes and sexual assaults.

Lizette Salas
Jerry Milani for WBGO

2019 will be an exciting tour season for the LPGA and one of it's top players Lizette Salas.  Salas, who is from Azusa, California, was in New York City recently for a special partnership announcement involving the LPGA and Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions.  

Thomas Teal

Darrell Grant released Black Art, his first album on the Criss Cross label, in 1994.

Gov. Phil Murphy looked back in time during his first annual State of the State address to New Jersey voters Tuesday, emphasizing a recent audit his administration released of the state’s generous tax break program that was expanded under his predecessor, former Gov. Chris Christie.

But in a speech short on new ideas, Murphy also reiterated his hopes that the Legislature would send him bills to hike the minimum wage to $15, legalize recreational marijuana, and offer driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Briene Lermitte

Maria Schneider’s acclaimed classical composition Winter Morning Walks began with a scrap of poetry, which reached her ears before she encountered it on the page.

New Jersey charges a 90-cent fee per line on every resident’s phone bill each month, and the revenue is meant to go toward maintaining and upgrading the state’s emergency 911 system.

In 2017, the state collected nearly $122 million from these fees, but only one quarter of it went toward the state’s 911 system, according to a recent report by the Federal Communications Commission.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is set to deliver the annual State of the State address Tuesday, capping off the Democrat’s first full year in control the Legislature and the executive branch.

Murphy said he will outline his plans to make New Jersey affordable for middle-class families, but observers noted that the speech also follows a year marked by some blunders for the first-time politician.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Principal Akbar Cook of Newark’s West Side High School gained national recognition for taking action after noticing students being bullied for dirty clothes.  He installed five pairs of washers and dryers in the school so kids could do their laundry. WBGO’s Ang Santos stopped by West Side High to talk with Principal Cook, who says there’s been no shortage of support since the story aired on NBC’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Ang Santos:  That must have been some moment for you?  The $50,000 check.

Dr. Anthony Munroe
Alfred Bundy for WBGO news

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Essex County College President Dr. Anthony E. Munroe's journey has been an interesting and inspiring one.

Dr. Munroe took over the reins at Essex County College in Newark in June of 2017.  Dr. Munroe has three decades of experience as both an educator and a nationally recognized executive leading urban healthcare and health education institutions. 

A fan of Miles Davis and Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Dr. Munroe sat down this week with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle to talk about the College's programs, initiatives and goals.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka joined WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton to host an hour on January 10, 2019. Listen below!

Playlist:

Michael Woodall

Joey DeFrancesco has spent the last 30 years as a reigning Hammond B-3 organ hero, building on the rich tradition we know as soul jazz. What that means in practical terms is variable: DeFrancesco has led trios and larger combos; worked with his heroes, including Jimmy Smith; and even collaborated with Van Morrison.

The top ethics officer in New Jersey said the state did not launch an investigation into a sexual assault claim because the attack happened before the victim and the perpetrator were state employees.

Renato Nunes

Anniversaries can be a time for reflection, and taking stock of where we’ve been. So in celebration of WBGO's 40th anniversary, this episode of The Checkout dips into the archives, recalling the era when it was hosted and produced by its founder, Josh Jackson.

OKeh Records / Sony Music Masterworks

When we last heard from saxophonist Branford Marsalis, he was touring behind Upward Spiral, a 2016 collaboration with Kurt Elling. That album featured Elling’s vocals out front, with Marsalis and his quartet playing a strong backing role.

The band — a longtime unit with Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass and Justin Faulkner on drums — is poised to reclaim the center spotlight with a new studio album, The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul. Due out March 1 on OKeh Records, it will the first Branford Marsalis Quartet release in nearly seven years, since the rather less loftily titled Four MFs Playin’ Tunes.

N.J. tax-break programs poorly monitored, audit finds

Jan 10, 2019

An audit critical of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s tax incentive programs found a lack of oversight and few policies to ensure that companies make good on promises outlined in their tax break agreements.

The EDA failed to verify that businesses honored their job commitment goals, the audit found, meaning the state could not be sure it was getting the economic benefits it had anticipated.

In a sampling of companies that received tax breaks, the N.J. State Comptroller’s office was unable to verify if 20 percent of the promised jobs had been created.

An audit critical of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s tax incentive programs found a lack of oversight and few policies to ensure that companies make good on promises outlined in their tax break agreements.

The EDA failed to verify that businesses honored their job commitment goals, the audit found, meaning the state could not be sure it was getting the economic benefits it had anticipated.

In a sampling of companies that received tax breaks, the N.J. State Comptroller’s office was unable to verify if 20 percent of the promised jobs had been created.

John Rogers for NPR / johnrogersnyc.com

Kurt Rosenwinkel, the illustrious guitarist and composer, will appear at S.O.B.'s on Friday as part of the lineup for WBGO @ 40

Half-price tickets are available to anyone who purchases online using the code WBGO40. Those with festival passes for the Winter Jazzfest Marathon are also welcome to attend. As we count down to the show, we thought it would be appropriate to revisit a standout Rosenwinkel set from the WBGO archives.

Three current and former employees of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy — who worked for him during his campaign and transition team, as well as in his administration — testified Tuesday that they learned of a rape allegation against a Murphy staffer, spoke to higher-ups about it, but took no further action.

The testimony drew criticism from lawmakers who suggested those officials did not do enough to make sure other employees were safe around the alleged attacker Al Alvarez or that action be taken against him.

De Blasio calls the initiative NYC Care, a program that will give any ineligible city resident access to treatment through public hospitals.

“Get the heath care you need when you need it,” de Blasio said.  “You won’t end up in the emergency room.  You won’t end up in a hospital bed if you actually get the care you need when a disease starts, not when it’s already too late.”

“For those who can afford something, they’ll pay on a sliding scale.  It they can’t afford anything, care will be for free.  No one will be turned away and care will be comprehensive.”

Tuesday, January 22, 7PM  
Manhattan Theater Club
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
261 West 47 Street, New York, NY

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