Sheila Anderson

Host, Weekend Jazz After Hours, Salon Sessions and Sunday Night Music Mix

Sheila E. Anderson, whose moniker, “Queen of Hang,” is a mover and shaker in the world of art, most notably in jazz. Much focus is placed upon the artists and rightfully so, yet Ms. Anderson is feeding and affecting the scene in myriad ways. She has always taken on the challenges of creating opportunities for herself, developing formats that exist outside the box. In addition to being an on-air-host she is an author, a writer, emcee and moderator. In 1995, she was hired by WBGO, Newark, 88.3FM to host Sunday Morning Harmony, where she now hosts Weekend Jazz After Hours, Salon Sessions and the Sunday Night Music Mix. Ms. Anderson has learned from the musicians whom she spins, "I feel as though radio programming should function much like a live performance. My best shows happen when I am feeling completely free to move with a certain flow and program according to my emotions," Ms. Anderson explains. These are not the words of some novice who just likes jazz music.

Not one to rest on her laurels and looking to immerse herself further into Jazz culture, that year, Ms. Anderson created The Art of Jazz, a weekly 30-minute TV program for Time Warner Cable in New York City. The show earned her a Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) Award for Community Media. A virtual one-woman production team, she scheduled the guests, wrote the scripts and even edited various shows. The Art of Jazz, which reached some half million viewers, had featured Jazz luminaries like Ron Carter, Eric Reed, Russell Malone, Regina Carter, Javon Jackson, T. S. Monk, Monty Alexander and Benny Golson the late Leon Thomas, Mark Murphy and Attila Zoller.

A native of Buffalo, NY, Ms. Anderson's unique individual career path began in 1973 at the age of 16 when she was elected New York State Youth President of the NAACP, a position she held for four years under the regime of Roy Wilkins. She then continued, in 1977, to be elected to the NAACP's National Board of Directors, staying on until 1981. These fecund years in her young life set the precedent for the leadership and cultural and artistic awareness that she would later unveil in her present career status as a ground breaker in her field.

By 1983, Sheila decided to try her hand in the publishing field, book production, starting with Random House, moving next to Grove Press, John Wiley and Sons, and W.H. Freeman & Sons, Inc. then later entering into the print manufacturing side as a sales rep. Leadership has always been her blood, which explains why she held yet another presidential position at the Bookbinders' Guild of New York from 1995-97. Eventually, she became a New York column staff writer for the Caribbean-based Oceana magazine then a columnist for the Jazz Magazine, Hot House.

Ms. Anderson understands the importance of developing communication skills. To that end, she taught "Public Speaking" at Union County College in Cranford, New Jersey to children between the ages of 11-14 for their Kids in College program. She states, "As a teenager, I had a crash course in speaking when I was in the NAACP, through that experience I was able to build self confidence. In teaching the children I believe that I was giving them valuable information that would help them when they entered the adult world." Ms. Anderson feels a sense of responsibility in sharing her knowledge and experience to as many young people as she can.

She continues to share her deep knowledge and passion for music, all music, not only jazz. Her first book, "The Quotable Musician: From Bach to Tupac" was published in March 2003 (Allworth Press.) Her second book, "How to Grow as A musician: What All Musicians Must Know to Succeed" also published by Allworth Press was released in July 2005. In 2010 Skyhorse Publishing acquired Allworth Press and subsequently repackaged and renamed “The Quotable Musician” to “The Little Red Book of Musicians’ Wisdom.” Ms. Anderson is currently revising, “How To Grow As A Musician.” Pub date to follow. November 2019, the second edition of “How To Grow As A Musician: What All Musicians Must Know To Succeed” (Allworth Press) was released.

In addition to her on air and emcee work, as a freelance professional producer, her producing credits include, since its’ inception, the Somerville Jazz festival, now the Central Jersey Jazz Festival. Ms. Anderson has worked extensively with Jazzmobile, Inc. as an emcee, a programing consultant for their “Saturday Jazz Workshop” and co-producer of the 2013 & 2014 Harlem Jazz Shrines and Jazzmobile’s Summerfest. In 2002, as Manager of Public Programs at the Newark Museum, Ms. Anderson began to produce their Jazz in the Garden Series; no longer on staff, she continues to curate the series.

Sheila E. Anderson a graduate of Baruch College, is a (2017) Columbia University Community Scholar, a inaugural Dan Morgenstern Fellow by the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers-Newark (2020) and resides in Harlem, NYC.

For 33 years I have been a member of WBGO.

I recall the Saturday morning in February 1987 when I arrived at 54 Park Place to answer phones during The Rhythm Revue. Another momentous February morning came in 1995, when I did my first on-air shift on the 13th. Later that year I continued my WBGO journey when I began hosting Sunday Morning Harmony, for almost 10 years. After that, for three years it was Saturday Evening Jazz. Currently I host Weekend Jazz After Hours, Salon Sessions and the Sunday Night Music Mix.


Wallace Roney, who died on March 31 of complications from the coronavirus, paid a visit to Salon Sessions just last fall.

The ebullient Etienne Charles does a masterful job explaining the history of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival that goes back to African enslavement.

His new album, Creole Soul, traces its musical roots — from when the bamboo drum was banned in Trinidad to the development of the steel pan drum. Carnival is a celebration of emancipation as well as a dialogue between a society and its past and present, at the same time.


Rob Crocker, Sheila Anderson and Nicole Sweeney discuss highlights of the past year. 


Helen Sung is a classically trained pianist who discovered jazz and found her passion for writing music when working with master bassist Ron Carter at the Monk Institute. Every day there, she would embark on writing a new piece of music.

Bex Wade

 Shirazette Tinnin is a versatile musician whose next album, Sonic Wallpaper, will highlight her individuality and spotlight her composing, including songs with her own lyrics. 

She’s a jazz-trained drummer whose influences range from Art Blakey to Sheila E. It was after seeing Sheila E. on TV, at age 4, that Shirazette decided that she wanted to play drums.

Vocalist Claudia Acuña discovered the full swing of imagination in music at a young age, growing up in Chile. Early inspiration came from a diverse range of artists: Violeta Parra, Michael Jackson, Mozart. Acuña then found herself drawn to jazz and its limitless freedom of expression. During a recent conversation with Sheila Anderson, the Chilean singer, songwriter and arranger shared her story.

Willerm Delisfort, a pianist and composer born in the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami, has established himself over the last six years as a well-respected musician on the New York jazz scene. He sat down with Sheila Anderson on Salon Sessions to share some of his favorite records, talk about his latest project, and break down the meaning behind his phrase "honest music."

Pianist and composer Helen Sung was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and received rigorous classical training before pivoting to jazz. She has made up for lost time since, working with mentors like bassist Ron Carter, and releasing several well-received albums of her own. 

Sung appears with vocalist Nicole Zuraitis at Mezzrow on Sunday, with the Mingus Big Band at the Jazz Standard on Monday, and at the Caramoor Jazz Festival on July 15. She recently joined host Sheila Anderson in a conversation on Salon Sessions.

Courtesy of the artist

Pianist and composer Onaje Allan Gumbs began playing at age seven, inspired in part by Henry Mancini. A former sideman to aritsts including trumpeters Nat Adderley and Woody Shaw, Gumbs released his own debut album, Onaje, 40 years ago. 

During a recent conversation with Sheila Anderson on Salon Sessions, he reflected on his broad career, his so-called "return" — and the first Bob Cranshaw Community Achievement Award, which he recently received from the Jazz Foundation of America.

WBGO Evening Jazz Host Awilda Rivera has been filling our airwaves with great music for the last 18 years. Today Rivera celebrates her birthday, and tomorrow we'll celebrate her final show as Evening Jazz Host with a star-studded live broadcast. Rivera is retiring from her post as host of weekday evening on WBGO, but will continue as host of the Latin Jazz Cruise.

Sheila Anderson and Rivera have shared a long-time camaraderie - apparent if you've heard the pair asking for your support during a WBGO pledge drive. On this edition of Salon Sessions, the two go back all the way to Rivera's first introduction to WBGO (as a volunteer in 1983!), and her history in broadcasting since.

Drummer Alvester Garnett has worked with Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter and Cyrus Chestnut, among others: Hear him on Ella: Accentuate the Positive, a new Ella Fitzgerald tribute album by his wife, violinist Regina Carter. 

He recently sat down with Sheila Anderson to discuss his years in the Malden Diplomats Drum and Bugle Corp in Boston, and how he learned to tap dance and play piano before the drums.

Davell Crawford and New Orleans Roots

Mar 11, 2017

New Orleans has a long lineage of great piano players. Jelly Roll Morton, Allen Toussaint, Fats Domino, and many more. Such a rich history of culture and music in the Crescent City is bound to leave a prominent imprint on the impressionable youth who hope to follow in their foot steps. Composer, pianist, and vocalist Davell Crawford was one of those kids. 

Tessa Souter at the microphone
Joseph Boggess

The singer joins Sheila Anderson for a Salon Session, taking us from the Wayne Shorter album that first introduced her to jazz to the story of how an attempt to rekindle a romance pushed her to pursue singing.