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.

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
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. 

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.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed four bills Wednesday aimed at reducing the state’s high rates of maternal and infant mortality, which are among the worst in the nation.

“We can and we will make New Jersey the safest place to give birth in the United States of America,” said first lady Tammy Murphy at the Newark bill signing.

The new laws will block Medicaid from paying for medically unnecessary cesarean section deliveries and increase access to doulas, who help expectant mothers through childbirth.

New Jersey will start issuing federally mandated Real IDs next month, according to the head of the state’s motor vehicle agency.

New Jersey is one of a handful of states that has lagged on issuing the IDs, which will be required for commercial airline travel by October 2020.

“I’m confident that everyone who needs a Real ID, who wants a Real ID, will be able to get that Real ID prior to the October 2020 deadline,” said Sue Fulton, chair and chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.

Courtesy of the artist

Pianist and composer Chick Corea isn’t typically slotted into the category of Latin jazz — but he’s had a substantial influence on its sound, and been influenced in turn.

Joan Marcus

Ted Chapin is the president and chief creative officer of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. He handles especially the performance rights of all Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals. He's been a perennial guest on Singers Unlimited. 

Dewey Nicks

Herb Alpert built a unique entertainment empire, especially as a trumpeter and leader of the mega-selling Tijuana Brass. Alpert and his partner, Jerry Moss, founded A&M Records and enjoyed great success with a variety of popular artists, including Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66.

Alpert and that group's lead singer, Lani Hall, have been happily (and musically) married for more than 40 years. They perform together from time to time, and this coming weekend, on May 10 and 11, they'll be at City Winery in Manhattan.

T. Charles Erickson

Actress Joneice Abbott-Pratt is thoroughly enjoying her role as "Sally-Mae Carter" in Too Heavy for Your Pocket, the latest production at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick.

Jireh Breon Holder's Too Heavy for Your Pocket won the prestigious 2017 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award and takes audiences to Nashville in the summer of 1961, when the Freedom Riders are embarking on a courageous journey into the Deep South.

New Jersey could become the first state in the country to require warning labels on prescription opioid medication that identifies it as an opioid and cautions against the risk of addiction.

The legislation’s sponsor hopes that the latest attempt to stem the state’s ongoing opioid crisis will save lives.

“We have to be aware of what this is. We have to be aware of what this is doing to our country. It is truly an epidemic,” said Assemblyman John Armato, D-Atlantic.


Friday, May 12 is the deadline for applications for the New Voices Engagement Fellow. WBGO in partnership with the Free Press look to retain a News Voices Engagement Fellow for a pilot project that has been funded for one year.

The position is a full-time, salaried, exempt, fixed term for 12 months from date of hire.

Alexandra Hill / News

Officials in Newark say a new water treatment process has been implemented in an effort to reduce elevated lead levels in the drinking water that have affected city residents for more than two years 

The city acknowledged the widespread lead problem last October when a study found treatment failures at the city’s Pequannock water plant, that services nearly every part of the city, and sells to surrounding towns, including Bloomfield, Belleville and Nutley.

Norma Miller

Choreographer, actress, author, comedian and Lindy Hop legend Norma Miller, known as the “Queen of Swing,” died at her home in Fort Meyers, Florida at the age of 99.

Longtime manager and caretaker John Biffar made the announcement earlier this week saying Miller was surrounded by loved ones and friends. “Norma overcame every obstacle with love. After twenty-five years in her company, at 99, she was still the coolest friend I ever had.”

Two River Theater for WBGO

Oo-Bla-Dee runs from June 8 through June 30 at Two River Theater in Red Bank.  This Wednesday May 8 at 7pm at Two River, WBGO's Doug Doyle will host a live panel discussion with Ruben Santiago Hudson, Regina Taylor and Diedre L. Murray