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Salon Sessions: Pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs

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Courtesy of the artist
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Onaje Allan Gumbs

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.

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.