Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

The Hot Sardines play jazz, for want of a better word. Hiply swinging songs and sounds, from Fats Waller to Ray Charles and beyond. Not that they're "retro" about it. Whatever they play is musically happening (and lots of fun) right now. 

Welcome Home, Bon Voyage is a new album of concert highlights, including songs live at Joe's Pub, the downtown bistro that's been a home for the group for a decade.

Eli Johnson / Courtesy of Big Ears Festival

Courtesy of the artist

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is the brightest young artist erupting on the Blues scene today. 

Courtesy of the artist

Reza Khota is a guitarist and composer from South Africa — born in Johannesburg, based in Cape Town — and he joins us for another edition of My Music on The Checkout.

By soaking in the sounds of Igor Stravinsky and John McLaughlin, and combining them with his own rich musical Indian upbringing, Khota gives a voice to the subaltern.

Between 45 and 50 percent of Newark residents are underbanked or have no bank account.

“Either because they’ve never had a bank account, or they don’t trust the bank to keep their money,” said Catherine Wilson, President of United Way of Essex and West Hudson.  She says some residents have been boxed out of opening a bank account. 

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is making a pitch to investors to take advantage of the state’s Opportunity Zones, neighborhoods designated by a federal program designed to drive long-term capital investments into low-income communities.  

Alexandra Hill / News

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Newark this past weekend to rally against the Murphy administartions tentative plan to close two existing youth prisons in the state and open smaller "youth development centers" in northern, central and southern New Jersey. The rally and march , organized by the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice, comes a month after local officials and activists blasted an alleged plan that would've landed one of them in Newark, a city that already has several prisons within its borders.

Kamilah Forbes
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The first major expansion of The Apollo in Harlem is underway, part of the iconic theater's 85th anniversary season. 

The Apollo's Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes spoke with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle about the expansion and the upcoming show Twisted Melodies, a powerful one-man show based on the life of ’70s soul singer and composer Donny Hathaway.

The non-profit is expanding with a new theater, The Victoria, and becoming the Apollo Performing Arts Center.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka testified in Trenton to support the Municipal Land Banking Bill.

The land banking bill would create an online database of properties owned by municipalities making them available for purchase.  

The New Jersey State Assembly has advanced a bill that would restrict the use of isolated confinement in correctional facilities

Erin Patrice O'Brien

Along with the latest from guitarist Will Sellenraad, keyboardist Romain Collin, and trombonist Kalia Vandever.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

It’s been too many years since Vanessa Rubin came on Singers Unlimited with a new album, and her newest is one of her best.

The Dream Is You: Vanessa Rubin Sings Tadd Dameron celebrates the great composer and arranger of the '40s and '50s. Dameron, like Vanessa herself, was born in Cleveland, and her tribute is heartened by her hometown pride.

Pamela Morgan for WBGO

Golden Globe winner Regina Taylor's Oo-Bla-Dee runs from June 8 through June 30 at Two River Theater.

Oo-Bla-Dee follows Evelyn Waters and the Diviners, an all-black, all-female jazz band, as they travel from St. Louis to Chicago in order to set up a record deal following the end of World War II.

Taylor joined Obie-Award-winning composer Diedre L. Murray (orginal music for Oo-Bla-Dee) and Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson on stage recently for a live panel discussion, hosted by WBGO News Director Doug Doyle.

Pete McGuinness — composer and arranger, trombonist and singer — recently stopped by Morning Jazz to chat about Along For the Ride, the third album featuring his big band.

Michael Bourne for WBGO

The Tony Awards soon will be awarded to the best of Broadway on June 7th at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

The Outer Critics Circle award winners were announced earlier this week, and our own Outer, Michael Bourne, actually voted for a few of the winners.

Click above to hear his review of the best and no so good musicals of the season.

The Controversy Over Drug Enforcement Experts in NJ

May 17, 2019
Drug Recognition Face Sheet
Joe Hernandez for WBGO News

Droopy eyelids. Dilated pupils. A racing pulse. More cops in New Jersey will be on the look-out for those symptoms in drivers if the state legalizes recreational marijuana.

State authorities are dramatically increasing the number of police officers trained to spot people under the influence of drugs. But a growing chorus of defense attorneys and criminal justice reformers say the methods these officers use are unscientific and should be banned from the courtroom.

Say you're at a bar … chances are you can spot the people who are drunk.

Courtesy of the artist

Godwin Louis has been on a quest to trace the roots of jazz.

In the last couple of years, the saxophonist has traveled to over 100 countries in study of the African musical diaspora. His findings inspired Global, a far-sweeping and personal debut album, which could also be seen as a manifesto. Louis believes we are all more connected throughout the Americas than we may realize.

Craig Lovell / Courtesy of the artist

If you're even a casually observant jazz fan, you might think you know a thing or two about Joe Lovano. 


A tenor saxophonist with dozens of albums to his name, most of them made during a roughly 25-year tenure on Blue Note Records, Lovano is one of the most instantly identifiable musicians on the jazz landscape and on the New York scene. But he didn't come from nowhere.

New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer is launching a campaign to promote school bus safety.  

Gottheimer is introducing a law that would require buses across the country to install 3-point lap and shoulder seat belts.  

“Seat belts on all school buses, lap and shoulder seat belts on all school buses,” he said.  “Current federal law only requires seat belts on small busses, not the larger one’s children often ride on.  Only eight states require them on the bigger busses.”

The bill also calls for technology in buses to acknowledge that passengers are buckled up.

About a quarter of people polled have weekly interactions with a person with autism.  Three in five less frequent, and another quarter none at all. 

“We broke that down in terms of who they know who has been diagnosed with autism.  When we broke that down by inside or outside of your family and looking at adults versus children, about two-thirds of New Jerseans say that they know a child under the age of 18 that is outside of their family,” said Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling.

Jeffrey Apoian

For a couple of years, before I heard Paul Jost singing, I heard about Paul Jost — from other singers!

Jost sings a residency every last Wednesday at 55 Bar. He came to WBGO to sing with a couple of the players on his new album, Simple Lifepianist Jim Ridl and bassist Dean Johnson.

Silvia Saponaro

Along with new music by Ralph Peterson & The Messenger Legacy, the Mark Dresser Seven, and a supertrio of Dave Douglas, Uri Caine and Andrew Cyrille. 

A former New Jersey State Police Academy cadet has filed a federal lawsuit against the state, claiming an instructor sexually harassed her for months.

Identified as S.S. in the lawsuit because it involves a possible sex crime, the woman said the male instructor fixated on her, repeatedly pulling her aside and making romantic advances.

The harassment was so extreme, the lawsuit said, that fellow cadets began referring to her as the instructor’s wife.

On Newark Today Host Michael Hill is joined by Mayor Ras Baraka to talk about the latest news around the city's civilian complaint review board or CCRB and the push to expunge low level drug offenses as the state moves to legalize marijuana. Special guest former Chief Municipal Judge Victoria Pratt will join us to talk about her work to reform the court system through alternative sentencing, something she pioneered during her time in the Newark Municipal Court.

A grief support center for children recently opened in Newark.  

Imagine started in a Union County church basement in 2011, by a person that understood what it was like to lose a loved one at an early age. 

“I had been a child in grief.  My father died when I was 14,” said Mary Robinson, executive director of Imagine. The organization is now headquartered out of a dedicated center in Mountainside.

Theater Critic Michael Bourne reviews three shows by Sean O'Casey showing at The Irish Repertory Theater.

To hear his review click the link above. 

Check out WBGO's Music Calender for information on an upcoming event to meet Keith and Kathleen at Revolution Books this Saturday May 18 at 5pm for an all-ages reading, discussion and signing.

Birth of the Cool, is a legendary compilation of recordings from Miles Davis. It’s also the title of a new biography on the trumpeter, presented in the form of a children’s book by author Kathleen Cornell Berman.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

When guitarist Dave Stryker visited Morning Jazz to celebrate his new recording, Eight Track III, the nostalgia of musical evergreens of the 1960s and ‘70s was pushed forward with a soulful modern turn.

Sara Anke

Last summer, the Slovenian-born, Amsterdam-based pianist and composer Kaja Draksler was bestowed the Paul Acket Award at The North Sea Jazz Festival — one of the highest honors given to a contemporary jazz artist deserving of wider recognition.

On this edition of The Checkout, Draksler shares new music from her octet of forward-thinking musicians trained in Baroque, new classical, and European free-jazz traditions.