Afternoon Jazz

Monday - Friday, 4pm - 8pm

As the day winds down we shift gears with a lively combination of classic and contemporary jazz, plus news, traffic and weather updates from Alexandra Hill and NPR. 

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Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

At the center of our #ChickForever celebration, WBGO is proud to present highlights from across a nearly 60-year recording career. Our announcers have selected their personal favorites from the Chick Corea discography — spanning his early work as a sideman, his emergence as a post-bop maverick, multiple phases of his fusion flagship Return to Forever, his later acoustic work and more.

Before I moved from my hometown of Washington, D.C., I would constantly spot New Jersey license plates almost daily as I rode in my car. This went on for about two years prior to the first major move I’ve ever made.

Since moving here in October 2019 to host Afternoon Jazz, so many "firsts" have happened for me. Never would I have imagined spinning at the legendary Apollo Theater, finding myself in The New York Times, or living alone in a new city in the midst of a global pandemic!

George Burton’s concept for Reciprocity is one of honest and intentional give and take — a fluid exchange of musical ideas that create a positive, energy-shifting vibe.

As I listened to the crystal-clear vocals of Alexa Barchini meld with Tim Warfield’s soprano saxophone during this Afternoon Jazz session, any anxious feelings I’d been harboring instantly fell away.


Bassist Dezron Douglas has established himself as a Musician’s Musician.

Since moving to New York several year ago, he has performed and recorded with a staggering array of jazz artists, including drummers Louis Hayes, Al Foster and Michael Carvin; pianists George Cables and Cyrus Chestnut; and saxophonists Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, Kenny Garrett and Vincent Herring. 

Delphine Diallo

Thought provoking. Conscience awakening. A call to action. Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science’s new album, Waiting Game (Motéma), is a direct response to the current sociopolitical climate in America.

Courtesy of the artist

After placing third in the 2017 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, Christine Fawson returns this year with renewed energy and focus.

Courtesy of the artist

Daniela Spalletta is a prime example of music being a universal language. The Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition brings her to the United States for the very first time in her life.

Courtesy of the artist

It’s baffling to know that Samara McLendon only started singing about six years ago, let alone singing jazz within the last two.

Courtesy of the artist

Raised in Harlem, NY, Vivian Sessoms truly “gets it honest.” Her mother was a session and jingle singer. Her father, a former flutist and percussionist for James Brown. Music was always around in her household, and her talent was apparent early on.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

When Pedrito Martínez extended his hand for an introductory shake, I noticed how similar its texture is to the skin of a conga — as if his hands have literally become one with his instrument.

Keanna Faircloth has been a prominent and steadfast voice for jazz in Washington, D.C., her hometown, on both broadcast and digital signals. She begins a new era this week, making her official debut as the voice of Afternoon Jazz at WBGO.

Ab McNeely

Oscar Hernandez is the musical director of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra - but it wasn't his idea to form the band. Producer Aaron Levinson approached the pianist almost two decades ago with the idea of assembling and recording a Latin jazz orchestra. They did just that, but the album sat on the shelf for more than a year and the future of the group was uncertain. When the album finally was picked up and released by Ropeadope records, it quickly garnered attention - and a Grammy nomination for Best Salsa Album.

Gabriel Bertogg

“The purest thing between heaven and earth is love,” says Abdullah Ibrahim, “and sincerity is the gatekeeper.”

This morsel of metaphysical insight — offered casually but with ringing purpose — arrived near the midpoint of Ibrahim’s session on Afternoon Jazz. The venerable South African pianist, long regarded as both a maestro and a sage, was settling in for an engagement at the Jazz Standard, with his longtime band Ekaya.

Bill Daughtry / WBGO

‪In less than 34 years on the planet, trumpeter Theo Croker has accomplished more than most.

Start with seven years as a working musician in Shanghai, China, where says he found real freedom as an artist. There’s also five albums as a leader, the latest titled Star People Nation.

Croker, the grandson of jazz immortal Doc Cheatham, recently brought pianist Michael Hill, bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Shekwaga Ode to play on Afternoon Jazz. I didn’t want the session to end.  


Percussionist and composer Fran Vielma recently brought his Venezuelan Jazz Collective to Afternoon Jazz and the WBGO Performance Studio.

Tendencias, their recent album on Papelón Records, was among the top-rated releases of 2018 by DownBeat and the Latin Jazz Network.

Courtesy of the artist

Pianist Cyrus Chestnut recently brought some holiday cheer to Afternoon Jazz.

Chestnut’s new album, Kaleidoscope, is a departure from what he is known for: jazz tinged with blues, soul and gospel. Although those elements are there, he goes back to his classical roots. The album, released on HighNote Records, features his trio with bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Chris Beck.


James Francies has a love affair with the piano. It’s apparent when you hear him play. We had that opportunity when he visited Afternoon Jazz to promote Flight, his debut album, recently released on Blue Note.  

Nicholas Payton, Sheila Anderson and Kevin Eubanks

Most of America likely recognizes guitarist Kevin Eubanks by his laugh — a prominent part of his 15 years as band leader of the Tonight Show Band, and sidekick to host Jay Leno.

Courtesy of the artist

Radam Schwartz is passionate about “organ rooms” — jazz clubs with a Hammond B-3 or some other type of organ. Schwartz, an organ scholar and a jazz historian, says that on many levels, such clubs are largely forgotten.

Chris Tobin / WBGO

Tenor saxophonist JD Allen’s new release, Love Stone, is a departure from what his fans are accustomed to hearing.

After telling his story on albums ranging from his 1999 debut, In Search of JD Allen to last year’s Radio Flyer, Allen turns here to stories of love.


It’s always a special occasion when artists visit and perform in our studios here in Newark. Every now and then jazz royalty even comes through. Organist Brian Charette brought one of those legends with him when he stopped by to promote his new album, Groovin’ With Big G

Bernie Williams
Chris Tobin

I’ve known Bernie Williams since his early playing days with the New York Yankees.  He was just another young man trying to make his way in the demanding world of Major League Baseball.  What was different about Bernie the ballplayer was the acoustic guitar that he kept in his locker.  Media might hear him play it on the odd occasion they arrived at the ballpark really early on a game night.

In his first live on-air interview, drummer Nate Smith stops by Afternoon Jazz to talk with Nicole Sweeney about being a part of the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program, the making of his new album — Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere, featuring bassist, longtime friend and 2017 NEA Jazz Master Dave Holland —the vibe behind the "Nate Bop," and more.