Bob Porter

Host, Portraits in Blue, Saturday Morning Function and Swing Party

New Jersey based Jazz and Blues expert, Bob Porter presides over a weekly radio show, “Saturday Morning Function”, on Newark's WBGO. A feature of his Saturday morning program is a mixture of R&B and Classic Soul as well as Blues. His blues program "Portraits in Blue" has been featured on WBGO for more than 38 years. A third WBGO show, the WBGO Swing Party debuted in 2015.

Porter was honored with the 1986 WC Handy award for Keeping the Blues Alive in public radio. In 1992, he was honored with the Nick Bishop Award for Outstanding Service by the New Jersey Jazz Society. In 1994, he was given the Blues Heaven Award for outstanding service to the Blues community by Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation. He was one of the emcees of the Chicago Blues Festival from 1990-2007. He has served seven different terms on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation. In 2003, he was given the Community Service Award by the Bergen County New Jersey Chapter of the NAACP. He was honored by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2007 with Marian McPartland-Willis Conover Award for Excellence in Jazz Broadcasting. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 2009.

Porter, a discographer, writer and record producer was a member of the GRAMMY national screening committee for Jazz, Folk and Blues for many years. He has five Grammy nominations and is a two-time winner: liner notes for The Complete Charlie Parker on Savoy in 1980 and Re-issue producer for Atlantic Rhythm & Blues - Best Historical Reissue in 1986. Porter has produced more than 175 albums of jazz and blues involving artists as diverse as Big Joe Turner, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Gene Ammons, Arthur Prysock and Illinois Jacquet. He has served as a re-issue producer for Savoy Records 1975 - 1980, and Atlantic Records from 1986 to 1991 producing more than 200 re-issues of Jazz and Blues.

He is a past-member of the nominating committee of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. He has lectured at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame on Robert Johnson and Louis Jordan. He was a guest lecturer at the Detroit Jazz Festival, 2010-2016. As a writer, Porter has written for Jazz Times Magazine, Down Beat, Jazz Journal (London) and Cash Box, among many others. He has contributed to label discographies of Prestige Records, Savoy Records and Clef/Verve Records. He authored the chapter titled “The Blues in Jazz” for the Oxford University Press Companion to Jazz. He recently contributed chapters on Blues history of the 1930s, 1940s & 1950s for The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues (Flame Tree Publishing, London, 2005). He has written liner notes for more than three hundred albums of jazz and blues. His book, “Soul Jazz” was published in 2016 by Xlibris Press.

Ways to Connect

This week I begin my 42nd year at WBGO; I’m the last of the original announcers. For those of you who weren’t around in 1979 (and even those who were), I thought I’d return to those “thrilling days of yesteryear” and give you a feel for what it was like.

I first heard of WBGO before it existed. I was researching something or other at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers when its director, Dan Morgenstern, introduced me to Al Pryor, who was talking about starting an all-jazz radio station. I listened to what he had to say but didn’t pay it much mind. A jazz station in Newark?


WBGO's blues hosts, Michael Bourne and Bob Porter, ring in the new year with their favorite blues tunes of 2018.

Big Jay McNeely, a rhythm-and-blues legend known as “King of the Honkin’ Sax,” died on Sunday, according to multiple sources. He was 91. Bob Porter, the author of Soul Jazz, remembers him here.

courtesy of Delmark

Earlier this month it was announced that Delmark Records, a Chicago blues and jazz institution, had been sold to new owners. WBGO's Bob Porter offers a reflection on the news, and a look back at his friendship with Delmark founder Bob Koester.

Courtesy of the artist

I first met Grady Tate in the fall of 1968 at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Courtesy of Mainstream Records

Mainstream Records, an independent label active in the 1960s and ‘70s, has been revived by a celebrity benefactor.

courtesy of Barney Fields

“Hey Bob Porter, this is Joe Fields. I’ve got a Grant Green album and I need some liner notes.” That phone call was my introduction to one of the genuine good guys in the jazz business.

After Sarah Vaughan moved back to her hometown of Newark, New Jersey in the mid-1960s, she could often be found, on a night off, at the Key Club. She loved to hang out with owner Jean Dawkins, catching up on gossip about mutual friends. There were no pretenses about her; she just wanted to be “one of the guys.”