News

For Lewis Porter, the lifelong excitement of jazz exploration has yielded spirited contributions on many platforms: as an author, writing fascinating books on the lives of Lester Young and John Coltrane; as a founding member of the Graduate Program in Jazz History at Rutgers University; as a pianist, ready and able to share discoveries in the moment; and as the mind behind Deep Dive, here at WBGO.

Legislative leaders in New Jersey canceled a scheduled vote Monday on a plan to legalize recreational marijuana, citing a lack of support from members.

State Sen. President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said the Senate specifically did not have enough votes to pass the legislation, but the Assembly also called off its planned vote.

“I might’ve underestimated the challenge in getting this passed,” Sweeney said. “We’re postponing today. But that does in no way mean that we have failed or that we’re walking away from it.”

Tom Brady. NyQuil. Blue Magic.

New Jersey law enforcement authorities are urging heroin users to ditch their drugs if they see any packages stamped with these logos.

“Please, please, stay away from it. Your next fix could very likely be your last,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal at a Thursday press conference.

The unusual warning followed what authorities said was a major bust of a heroin production facility at a luxury apartment in Harrison in North Jersey.

Officials estimated it was churning out 15,000 doses of fentanyl-laced heroin every day.

Fiddler
Playbill.com

One revival is less than perfect but better than all the new shows he’s seen this season, and a very different revival is the best show he’s seen (so far). 

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews Merrily We Roll Along, and Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish.

Click above to hear both reviews.

Film Critic Harlan Jacobson Reviews Jordan Peele's "Us"

Mar 22, 2019
Jordan Peele
Harlan Jacobson for WBGO News

Ever since The Blair Witch Project in 1999, the indie art-house horror film has been making a steady comeback. Get Out in 2017, by actor turned director Jordan Peele, was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, Director, leading actor, and won Best Original Screenplay. Peele’s back. Our Film Critic Harlan Jacobson went to the SXSW Fest in Austin to see his new film, US, which opens this weekend. 

Lynne Arriale
Chris Tobin

Milwaukee-born pianist Lynne Arriale studied as a classical pianist into her twenties, until one day she had a notion - an inner voice, suggest to her she should study jazz. There she found a new freedom she didn't know she'd been seeking.

She went on to tour Japan with the likes of Cedar Walton and Kenny Barron, and spent time in New York as well as the Thelonious Monk Institute in Aspen. For more than a decade she's taught at the University of North Florida, and has had a consistent output with 11 albums as a leader.

It’s been a little more than seven years since New Jersey’s Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment law, or POSLT was signed by former Governor Chris Christie, empowering patients to work with their preferred medical professional to create advance directives.  But still people end up in hospitals with no living will.  The Governor's Advisory Council Report on End of Life Care says more than a quarter of adults, including seniors, have no documentation available if they're not able to make healthcare decisions for themselves.

Advocates on either side of New Jersey’s school funding debate made their views clear in Trenton Wednesday, as legislators kicked off their first round of public hearings on the next fiscal year’s budget.

Although the meetings are open to anyone who wants to speak, testimony was dominated by those weighing in on recent changes to the state’s school funding formula, which reduced aid to some districts and increased it to others.

The New York State Legislature has passed a bill to expand the use of speed cameras in New York City school zones.  

The bill would add roughly 600 school zone speed cameras across New York City, while increasing the enforcement period time, 6am to 10pm.

New Jersey has become the second state to ban “cashless” businesses. Proponents characterize it as an attempt to ensure that consumers without credit cards can participate in the economy.

It comes at a time when retailers such as Amazon are rolling out cashless stores that only accept credit cards in the name of efficiency.

Ang Santos / WBGO News

Host Michael Hill of NJTV will be joined by Mayor Ras Baraka, talking State of The City 2019 on the heels of the Mayor's address. We'll be exploring key aspects of Mayor Baraka's agenda including Universal Basic Income, establishing a Co-Op Company Owned by Reentry Employees, the push to expunge all marijuana convictions as part of the state's legalization legislation, and the newly announced $75 million program to replace lead service lines throughout the city.

Two key committees in the New Jersey Legislature have approved bills to legalize recreational marijuana and allow past offenders to expunge their criminal records.

Gov. Phil Murphy and top Democrats in the Legislature have long agreed on legalization in principle but had been negotiating the details of such legislation for months.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee held votes on the two bills late Monday night, following hours of delays and last-minute amendments to the legislation.

Law enforcement officials in New Jersey have announced the first criminal charges filed under the state’s new “ghost gun” law.

Signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in November, the law bans manufacturers from selling partially assembled guns that can be built into fully functional, untraceable firearms.

Arne Reimer

And a premiere by bassist André Carvalho, whom you should get to know.

Cory Booker
Joe Hernandez for WBGO News

At a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Friday, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., all but confirmed he would pick a woman as his vice president if he won the Democratic nomination for president.

“No matter what — I’m looking you in the eye and saying this — there will be a woman on the ticket,” Booker told the crowd at the Salt Hill Pub in Lebanon.

“I don’t know if it’s in the vice president’s position or the president’s position, but if I have my way, there will be a woman on the ticket,” he added.

Mary Lane
www.icanonlybemarylane.com

The 10th annual Women In Media-Newark Women's History Month Film Fest runs from March 27 through April 5.  WBGO News Director Doug Doyle spoke with the directors of two of the festival's outstanding films.

Being Gladys will be screened March 27 at the Newark Museum.  I Can Only Be Mary Lane will be shown at WBGO on April 5.

Cher
thechershowbroadway.com

Theater critic Michael Bourne enjoyed "The Cher Show" on Broadway, mostly because he thinks Cher was an interesting person.  He wasn't as impressed as the teenagers were beside him while watching "Be More Chill."

Click above to hear both reviews.

Stella K

The GroundUP Music Festival, which just wrapped its fourth edition in Miami, aims to dissolve the barrier between musician and fan.

With a scarcity of VIP badges, famous artists mingling with festival goers, and jaw-dropping curation of unfamiliar international talent, this annual musical gathering cultivates an ethos of inclusivity.

Courtesy of the artist

"When I was younger," Sherrie Maricle says, "it was almost a mission to blend in with all the men I was playing with. Not to be viewed as female in any way."

But Maricle, a drummer inspired by the precision and power of Buddy Rich, found her calling as a leader of women — specifically, as leader of The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, which recently marked 25 years as a proving ground, a pipeline and a rejoinder to any lingering bias that this music is a masculine domain.

Nat King Cole’s centennial falls this Sunday, March 17.

Gregory Porter spoke with Gary Walker in advance of his Valentine's Day Concert at the Beacon Theater.

Ask Governor Murphy
WBGO WHYY WNYC

The latest edition of Ask Governor Murphy focused on several issues, including the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey, why some school districts are seeing drastic cuts in funding through the proposed state budget and what is being done to improve NJ Transit.

Ask Governor Murphy is a WBGO News production in collaboration with WNYC and WHYY.  The show is hosted by Nancy Solomon.

Click above to hear the entire show.

The man at the center of a hiring scandal in New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration said Tuesday he did not know who approved him for a job in state government months after a colleague accused him of rape. He has denied the allegation.

'Ask Governor Murphy' Returns Tonight

Mar 13, 2019

Tune in tonight at 7 p.m., on WBGO 88.3FM and here at WBGO.org.

WBGO, in collaboration with WNYC and WHYY, presents the latest edition of Ask Governor Murphy, a live call-in broadcast with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. 

Submit your questions in advance here.

The show will feature the Governor as well as topical guests from our partners. WNYC's Nancy Solomon will host.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The City of Newark is set to replace up to 1,500 lead service lines over the next year. 

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe says the state will work with Newark to replace roughly 15,000 lead service lines.  The Lead Service Line Replacement Program is expected to cost about $75 million over eight years.

“At his point our infrastructure is decaying, and these pipes need to be replaced with newer, safer, and more reliable materials, but that’s expensive,” she said.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka delivered his first State of the City address since being reelected last May, with a message highlighting investment in the city and its children, while defending an increase in development.

Amazon passed on Newark as a location for its new headquarters, but Baraka says the consideration was a major victory and believes opponents were wrongheaded for being skeptical. 

New Jersey’s perennial quest to find new sources of revenue has returned to a familiar idea: selling ads on state government websites.

A proposal in the state Legislature would allow the New Jersey Lottery and the state Economic Development Authority to sell ad space on their sites to raise money for the state budget.

“We struggle with funds as a state being dedicated and not having enough money in the till,” said Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter, D-Passaic, one of the bill’s sponsors.

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