Jon Norton | WGLT

Jon Norton

Music Director/Morning Edition Host

Northern Minnesota native and University of North Dakota grad Jon Norton has adapted well to what he considers the warm climate of Central Illinois. He loves waking up at 3 a.m. to prep WGLT content for Morning Edition, and has trained himself to fall asleep before the summer sun falls below the horizon.

He's also tuned into the vibrant Bloomington-Normal music scene. Sound Ideas is where you can hear his interviews with local and nationally touring musicians. They can also be read on the Music Featues page of this very website. If you press him hard enough, he'll tell you WGLT's "Highway 309" is something he's pretty proud of, and possibly the coolest music format in the country.

Norton is also keenly interested in stories revolving around race, including racial disparities and the intersection of race and law enforement. 

Norton pays attention to ISU and Chicago Bulls basketball and Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs baseball. He treasures his time at home with his wife, who makes sure his daily chores have been completed before bedtime. 

As a young girl, Brooklyn native Alexis P. Suter says she listened almost exclusively to gospel music.  That is, until a chance meeting with the Mills Brothers at age 9 opened up a new musical world for her.  She says from there she sang in school choirs and eventually found her way as a vocalist for House and Dance music in the early 1990's. Today she's the leader of the band that bears her name, and has opened for some of the bigger names in blues music.  Her latest album is "Love The Way You Roll." 

To peg San Francisco based Kim Nalley as just a vocalist and songwriter would be selling her short.  She's also an actor, a featured writer in various Bay Area publications, a former club owner, and a PhD candidate in history at UC-Berkeley.  Nalley covers some of that ground with GLT's Jon Norton on this edition of GLT Jazz Next.  She begins by talking about her new album "Blues People," which was inspired by the famous book by LeRoi Jones.

Gary Mitchell

Chris Yakopcic is a young guitarist/singer/songwriter who found himself drawn to acoustic blues at a young age.  He includes blues legends Robert Johnson and Mississippi Fred McDowell as inspirations. But it was a show by a lesser known guitarist that sparked an "a-ha" moment along his musical career path.

Jeff Ziff aka sodafixer / Flickr

Chicago Blues legend Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater celebrated his 81st birthday January 19th.  For his 79th birthday, Clearwater celebrated with a live show at Space Nightclub in Evanston. That show was recorded and produced as his most recent album "Soul Funky."  On this Talkin' Blues encore, Clearwater talks with GLT's Jon Norton about the album, his friendship with fellow blues legend Lonnie Brooks, and a chance  encounter with one of his hero's, Chuck Berry.

New York City area native Frank Kohl was drawn to the guitar at a very young age.  He became proficient enough to be admitted to the prestigious Berklee School of Music in the 1970's, where his fellow students included fellow guitarists Pat Metheny and John Scofield.  On this edition of Jazz Next, Kohl talks to WGLT's Jon Norton about his new album "Invisible Man," how he came to love jazz, and how as a young child he says he had an "a-ha" moment watching The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show.

When Champaign-Urbana based Kilborn Alley plays Jazz UpFront in downtown Bloomington tomorrow night, Virginia based vocalist Jackie Scott will be sitting in with the band.  On this edition of GLT's Talkin' Blues, Andrew Duncanson tells Jon Norton that Scott brings an exciting presence to Kilborn Alley.

Soul singer and Blues Hall-of-Fame inductee Otis Clay died of a heart attack January 8th in Chicago.  WGLT's Jon Norton talked with Clay just last year about his busy work schedule.  That schedule included a solo album, a duet album with Johnnie Rawls, guest vocals on guitarist Dave Specter's latest album, and a soundtrack to the film "Take Me To the River."

School closings as of 7:25AM

Raymond Van Tassel

Recent GLT Jazz Cabaret performer Roberta Donnay says when she found out as a small child that she was white, she got angry.  On this edition of GLT Jazz Next, Donnay talks to Jon Norton about where that anger came from, and about her latest album of prohibition era jazz, titled "Bathtub Gin."

Trish Badger

Jonn Del Toro Richardson spent years playing guitar in the blues bands of Otis Taylor and vocalist Diunna Greenleaf.  He also spends time working with mandolin great Rich Del Grosso.  On this edition of GLT's Talkin' Blues, Richardson talks to Jon Norton about incorporating some Latin sounds into his music, and why it's taken so long to record Tengo Blues, his first album as a leader:

Jon Norton / WGLT

Even if you weren't aware of Motörhead leader Lemmy, you might have become aware of him on social media after his recent death.  GLT's Jon Norton occasionally visits local record stores to hear what's playing on the turntable while customers browse the bins and recently learned more about Lemmy.

Trombone and conch shell player Steve Turre  has been a member of the Saturday Night Live band since 1984.  He also played in the Jazz Messengers, the band led by legendary drummer Art Blakey.  On this edition of GLT Jazz Next, Turre says it was a decade earlier during his time in the Ray Charles Band where he learned the importance of of being a professional, and the importance of "giving your all" every night. 

Yan Pritzker

On this edition of GLT Jazz Next, meet a Chicago based vocalist and composer who just released her second album.  In her own words, Keri Johnsrud explains how the jazz bug found her in her rural Iowa hometown, and how that bug eventually led her to the Windy City.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars shocked the world with a new cultural phenomenon that is returning to the limelight with the release of The Force Awakens. Laura Kennedy talks with Shari Zeck from ISU's College of Fine Arts about the 'force' of Star Wars. Also hear from a candidate for US senate in Illinois, then it's an audio holiday postcard from GLT's Bruce Bergethon.

Jon Norton / WGLT

Every so often we send WGLT's Jon Norton out to local record stores to hear what's playing on the Turntable while customers browse the bins.  This week Norton stopped in at North Street Records in uptown Normal.  With Christmas barely a week away, guess what kind of music was playing on the turntable.

Bengt Nyman

Blues and Cajun singer/songwriter Tab Benoit makes a return appearance at the Castle Theater in downtown Bloomington Thursday. The Louisiana native has won a number of B.B. King Entertainer of the Year awards from the Blues Foundation.  Benoit begins this conversation with GLT's Jon Norton ... talking about the art of entertaining.

Two people have died in a head-on crash near Peoria.  Authorities responded to the scene late yesterday afternoon after a vehicle traveling eastbound on U.S. Route 24 in Bartonville went across the westbound lanes, up an embankment and then across the westbound lanes again before colliding with another vehicle.  

The victim's identities weren't available Monday night.

Second Generation Photography

Philadelphia native Sam Taylor is a talented young tenor player now immersed in the New York City jazz community.  On this edition of Jazz Next,  Taylor talks with GLT's Jon Norton via Skype from his home in New York about absorbing the soulful sounds of his hometown, and about his debut album, My Future Just Passed.

Arborland / WikiMedia Commons

Not even three years out of Bloomington High School, Matthew Curry has been playing his brand of southern inspired blues rock around the USA, Canada and Australia.  For the past year, Curry has been opening shows for now legendary names including the Doobie Brothers, Peter Frampton, and the Steve Miller Band.  He's also been touring as a headliner at smaller venues across the country, including this Saturday night (Dec 12) when Curry headlines the first annual Matthew Curry Fender Bender at The Castle Theater in downtown Bloomington. 

Bob Coscuello

Trumpeter, vocalist, and composer Ginetta M is the leader of the jazzy, funky New York City based Ginetta's Vendetta.  She also records under the moniker Ginetta M.  On this edition of GLT Jazz Next, Ginetta tells Jon Norton her latest album as Ginetta M is Little Big Horn. She says the title is a nod to Native American culture, and a reference to her instrument of choice, the "pocket" trumpet.

United States Congress / Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis says he was hoping President Obama's speech to the nation last night would contain a stronger, more comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS.  In a statement, Davis said "despite the president's claim that ISIS has been contained, it is clear their reach and influence is growing.  But unfortunately, what we heard tonight was much of the same."  Davis says the U.S. needs a plan to destroy terrorists abroad, but that "additional steps need to be taken to protect Americans here at home."

Jon Norton / WGLT News

Occasionally we send Jon Norton out to local record stores to hear what's playing on their turntable while customers browse the bins.  Recently Norton caught a whiff of an album reminiscent of something from two decades prior.

After 27 years with the vocal ensemble New York Voices, vocalist Kim Nazarian has finally released an album under her own name.  On this edition of Jazz Next, Nazarian tells WGLT's Jon Norton that recording with family for her debut release was comforting, and about the joyful feeling she gets when singing with New York Voices.

Jacob Blickenstaff

Hammond B3 master Adam Scone has has been a sideman in a diverse array of settings.  Among others, he's played in the bands of jazz legend Lou Donaldson and roots rocker JJ Grey & Mofro.  The title of Scone's latest album as a leader is "I Scream Scone." 

Damian Battinelli

2010 GLT Summer Concert headlining band Gas House Gorillas  just released their new album.  GLT's Jon Norton caught up with the Gorillas front man and co-leader Rick Fink, who says though the band is quite happy with previous releases, they're thrilled with their latest, titled "Shut Up."

   

Occasionally GLT's Jon Norton stops by area record stores to hear what's playing on the turntable while customers browse the bins.  On the turntable at Reverberation Vinyl was the soundtrack to a classic German horror film.  Store owner John Anderson took Norton through some of the intricacies of the album, and the man behind the music of Popol Vuh.

The director of the Bloomington Public Library has announced her retirement. Georgia Bouda's last day in the office will be December 4. Her official retirement will be this January 8. She had previously served as Library Director in Pewaukee Wis. Bouda was hired in 2006 during a $2.8 million expansion project at the library. During Bouda’s time in Bloomington, the library’s circulation has nearly doubled. She was also involved in designing and purchasing the library’s new Bookmobile which rolled out this spring.

Bloomington Public Library entrance
WGLT file photo / Bloomington Public Library

The director of the Bloomington Public Library has announced her retirement.  Georgia Bouda's last day in the office will be December 4. Her official retirement will be January 8, 2016.    She had previously served as Library Director in Pewaukee Wis.  Bouda was hired in 2006 during a $2.8 million expansion project at the library.

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