Check out this great interview with 2023 Donald Meade Jazz Griot Recipient Dorthaan Kirk
Dorthaan Kirk—recipient of the 2020 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for Jazz Advocacy—has been a major force at WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM, Newark Public Radio—the only full-time jazz format station in New York and New Jersey—working in various roles for more than four decades. Called “Newark’s First Lady of Jazz,” Kirk has been active as a curator and producer of jazz events primarily in and around Newark, New Jersey, and is an avid supporter of musicians and jazz education for children. More information: https://www.arts.gov/honors/jazz/dort...
Dorthaan Kirk has been named a 2020 NEA Jazz Master for her jazz advocacy…and it’s easy to see why. For more than forty years, Dorthaan has been a major force at WBGO, Newark Public Radio—the only full-time jazz station in the New York/New Jersey area. She had been married to the brilliant jazz multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk who died tragically young. After his death, Dorthaan wondered what her next step would be when a phone call changed everything: someone was starting a jazz radio station in Newark; would she interested in coming on-board? She was, and the rest is history. Dorthaan took on the role of special events and community relations coordinator at WBGO, bringing with her creativity, tenacity, a knowledge of the music business and firm friendships with many musicians. Among the programs she spearheaded at WBGO are its Jazzathons—a live 24 hour musical fund-raiser, the WBGO art gallery which supports local artists and opens the station to the community so they might enjoy the art, and, dearest to Dorthaan’s heart, the WBGO children’s concert series where musicians have been introducing children to jazz through two generations. Dorthaan is a great talker—as she will be the first one to tell you—so it’s a podcast filled with stories, memories and love for the people who make and support jazz.
In April 2018, NJPAC hosted "Bright Moments! Celebrating Dorthaan at 80." A large audience and special guests paid tribute to Newark's First Lady of Jazz and founding employee of WBGO. We captured some of those guests and their stories.
Dorthaan Kirk has been a vital force in jazz for half a century, and has been honored as a NEA Jazz Master in 2020. Through her intimate involvement with WBGO-FM, as well as many other related activities, Kirk has produced innumerable events, and mentored untold musicians and others in the industry. She talk at length about her early years, moving from Houston, Texas to Los Angeles as a young woman, her marriage to Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and many other events that shaped her long and active, inspired life to this day
In this episode, Dana Hilliard has an extensive conversation with Dorthaan Kirk; co founder of WBGO & widow of the late great jazz legend Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
Odds and Ends live stream interview premiered Tuesday 11/23/202 Check out PART ONE.