WBGO Champions of Jazz 2018 - May 01

Newark Public Radio


  • Ron Delsener head shot

    Ron Delsener

    Since 1964, Ron Delsener has been at the forefront of outdoor popular music concerts. Starting with The Beatles performance at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, he also presented: Harry Belafonte; Oscar Peterson with The Count Basie Band; Sinatra with Fitzgerald; & Barbra Streisand. In 1966, he created and produced the $1 per ticket concert series at Wollman Ice-Skating Rink in NYC. For 15 years he featured: Louis Armstrong; Jimi Hendrix; Bob Marley; Otis Redding and others. In 1967, Ron began producing the first free major artist music concerts in Central Park, some of which were filmed for HBO Specials. Delsener also produced massive rallies like the No Nukes Concert (500,000) and the Earth Day Celebration in 1990 (350,000). In 1971, he produced the first rock-and-roll prime-time television show, Good Vibrations from Central Park

  • Donald Fagen head shot

    Donald Fagen

    Donald Fagen was born in Passaic, New Jersey in 1948. His mom sang professionally, introducing him to the Great American Songbook. After seeing Chuck Berry on TV, he collected R&B singles until he was exposed to modern jazz and saw the likes of Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus perform in NYC. Fagen started playing the piano at 10, inspired by Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and others. In 1965, Fagen entered Bard College, met guitarist Walter Becker and began collaborating on songs. The rest is history. Steely Dan released 7 iconic albums, with Aja’ and Gaucho, nominated for Album of the Year GRAMMYS, as was Fagen's innovative solo release, 1981’s The Nightfly. Steely Dan’s Two Against Nature, won four GRAMMY Awards in 2001, including Album of the Year. A few months later, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


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