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WBGO to Honor Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University-Newark

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World’s most popular jazz station turns spotlight on world’s foremost jazz archive.

What do you get when you put together the world’s most popular jazz radio station and the world’s largest and most comprehensive jazz archive? The 2016 WBGO Champions of Jazz Gala! The pioneering jazz station, which also was New Jersey’s first public radio station, will use the venue of its annual extravaganza to put the Institute of Jazz Studies (IJS) at Rutgers University–Newark on a stage befitting its pre-eminence as a repository for jazz past and catalyst of the present and future of this uniquely American art form.

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) will swing into the night of March 16 with live performances by some of today’s and tomorrow’s hottest jazz, soul, and R&B acts, featuring a special dance party celebrating the 30th anniversary of WBGO’s Rhythm Revue hosted by Felix Hernandez. The event also will honor jazz aficionado Steve Adubato, Ph.D., host of the eponymous NJTV show featuring political leaders, CEOs, television personalities, professors, artists, and educational innovators telling their compelling real-life stories.

WBGO President and CEO Amy Niles illuminated the inspiration for the event saying, “WBGO serves the communities of jazz and Newark, and this year’s Champions of Jazz Gala is a strong blending of these two communities in celebration of Newark’s 350th anniversary. We tell the story of Newark’s cultural significance every day on our air through our Newark Arts Calendar and programming America’s classical music, jazz, which has a long and deep connection with Newark. This event gives us the opportunity to honor three entities that have played a tremendous role in the cultural past, present, and future of the city we share.”

“You definitely don’t have to be a ‘jazz head’ like me to know that NJPAC will be the place to be on March 16,” said IJS executive director Wayne Winborne. “The lineup they have in place reflects the collective gravity of the triumvirate of WBGO, NJPAC, and the IJS.” Among those waiting in the wings to perform that night are 2016 Grammy nominees Jamison Ross, winner of the 2012 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, and phenom Joey Alexander, recently featured on the television show 60 Minutes.

Winborne is energized by this collaboration with both WBGO and NJPAC. “WBGO is more than just a long-time partner and neighbor of the IJS, it’s the capital of the jazz airwaves,” said Winborne. “NJPAC is the performing arts capital of the state. And the IJS has vast stores of jazz capital just waiting, begging, to be discovered. We have classic and unique recordings, of course, but also instruments, manuscripts, sheet music, and memorabilia from jazz royalty like Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughn, Count Basie, Ben Webster, Gerry Mulligan, Benny Carter, Mary Lou Williams, Benny Goodman… I’m just thrilled that we’re being honored by WBGO and that the event is being hosted by NJPAC. It will be a night to remember.”

Gala-goers may choose to attend all or parts of the event, including a cocktail hour, dinner, live performance, and silent auction. The dance party starts at 7:30 p.m. featuring the great classic soul Felix's audiences love, with Felix Hernandez and DJ Wimpy Bee spinning, a performance by Jamison Ross plus some special surprises. Tickets are available at www.wbgo.org/events.  

About Rutgers University–Newark
Rutgers University–Newark is a diverse, urban, public research university that is an anchor institution in New Jersey’s cultural capital. Approximately 12,000 students are currently enrolled at its 38-acre campus in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered through the Newark College of Arts and Sciences, University College, the Graduate School–Newark, Rutgers Business School–Newark and New Brunswick, Rutgers Law School, the School of Criminal Justice, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration. At a historical moment when our cities, our state, our nation, and our world desperately need higher education to fulfill its promise as an engine of discovery, innovation, and social mobility, Rutgers University–Newark is exceptionally well positioned to fulfill that promise. It has a remarkable legacy of producing high-impact scholarship that is connected to the great questions and challenges of the world. It has the right mix of disciplines and first-rate interdisciplinary centers and institutes to take on those questions and challenges. It is in and of a city and region where its work on local challenges undertaken with partners from various sectors resonates powerfully throughout our urbanizing world. Most importantly, Rutgers University–Newark brings an incredible diversity of people to this work—students, faculty, staff, and community partners—making it more innovative, more creative, more engaging, and more relevant for our time and the times ahead. For more information, visit www.newark.rutgers.edu.

About the Institute of Jazz Studies
With 150,000 recordings, 6,000 books, assorted research files, and memorabilia, the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University–Newark stands as the world’s largest jazz archive. It is a special collections unit of Rutgers University Libraries that a team associated with noted TV producer Ken Burns spent a year exploring for his 10-part Jazz miniseries. All are invited to explore the IJS in the John Cotton Dana Library where they can listen to and learn about their favorite artists. Arrange tours by contacting the institute at 973-353-5595 or visit online at newarkwww.rutgers.edu/IJS/index1.html.

About WBGO
Founded in 1979, WBGO is a publicly-supported, cultural institution that champions jazz and presents news to a worldwide audience through radio, digital, and events. Within public radio, WBGO is regarded as a leader because of its ground-breaking work in the community and the presentation of jazz. WBGO, Newark Public Radio, is one of the original 12 New Jersey cultural organizations that has been designated a "Major Impact" arts organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and has been awarded this distinction for each of the past 20 years. For more about WBGO, visit www.wbgo.org.

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Photos:
Top: Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University–Newark’s John Cotton Dana Library; photo by Theo Anderson

Left: Wayne Winborne, left, IJS executive director, and Vincent Pelote, IJS director of operations; photo by John Emerson