Jon Norton | WGLT

Jon Norton

Music Director/Morning Edition Host

Not a hunter, skier, ice fisherman or hockey player, Northern Minnesota native Jon Norton has adapted well to what he considers the warm climate of Central Illinois.

After 20+ years in commercial radio, he's also "adapted" well to programming and playing jazz and blues music for listeners in Central Illinois.  John Lee Hooker and Oscar Peterson are among his favorite artists.

Norton is an ISU and Chicago Bulls Basketball fan, a Minnesota Twins baseball fan and treasures his time at home with his wife and son. 

OC45: A Happy Accident

Apr 21, 2018
OC45, left to right: Nick Tanzi, Adam Femino, Ken Bousquet, Derek Rossi
Bombs Away Photography

On the day before the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, OC45 guitarist Derek Rossi was explaining “Keep Your Guns” from their 2017 album “Happy Accidents.”

John D'earth playing his trumpet
Bob Travis / Wikipedia

It’s odd hearing the director of a university jazz program argue that he is NOT an educator.

Dennis Mackrel at this drumset
Andrzej "Andre" Pilaczyk

From virtually the time he emerged from his mother’s womb, Dennis Mackrel was exposed to a steady diet of jazz.

Chow 4-Piece at Jazz UpFront in Bloomington April 5.
Jon Norton / WGLT

Trombonist Mason Riedel laughed when asked how his Illinois State University Jazz Combo acquired its name. He had just been called by Jazz Up Front owner James Gaston about filling in last minute on a Thursday night.

Billy Strings
Jesse Faatz

Billy Apostol was dubbed "Billy Strings" by his mother for his prowess on a number of stringed instruments at a young age.

Kansas L to R is Richard Williams, Billy Greer, Zak Rizvi, Phil Ehart, Ronnie Platt, David Manion, and David Ragsdale.
Michie Turpin

The words "Congrats you got the job" are likely the five most exciting and terrifying words Ronnie Platt had ever heard.

Tom Gannam / AP

Illinois State University and other Missouri Valley Conference schools are rooting for Loyola Chicago in the NCAA basketball tournament for more than one reason. And some of those reasons are green.

Dexter O'Neal & Funkyard
http://dexteroneal.com/

“When I got to meet Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, I was on ‘10’ because he was my salvation,” said Dexter O’Neal of the R&B legend who passed away in 2013.

Jared Alcorn with the new "Moaning" album at Waiting Room Records
Jon Norton / WGLT

An emerging Los Angeles-based post-punk band has been wearing out the turntable at Waiting Room Records in uptown Normal.

The HillBenders are Mark Cassidy, Nolan Lawrence, Gary Rea, Chad “Gravy Boat” Graves, and Jim Rea.
HillBenders

The marriage of rock and bluegrass might seem an odd combination, but for the bluegrass group the HillBenders, it works.

Nightshop during daytime
Jon Norton / WGLT

Longtime local musician and promoter Chris Golwitzer realized a dream this month when he opened Nightshop on the north end of downtown Bloomington.

Ike Reilly (in spotlight)
ikereilly.net

“My connection to Bloomington-Normal is pretty crazy,” said Ike Reilly from his home in Libertyville.

He was referring to guitarists Tommy O’Donnell and Phil Karnats, who will be at his side March 15 when the Ike Reilly Assassination returns to the Castle Theatre.

Dr. Cara Rabe-Hemp in her classroom
Ralph Weisheit

Despite slightly declining numbers in this decade, Illinois State University Criminal Justice Sciences professor Cara Rabe-Hemp says female police officers have made gains in numbers and respect since entering policing in larger numbers in the 1980s.

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas
Abe Lincoln (by Alexander Hesler) and Stephen Douglas: / Library of Congress

For all practical purposes Illinois embraced slavery at its founding in 1818, despite entering the Union as a non-slave state.  For example, Illinois' first governor, first lieutenant governor, and president of the state's first constitutional convention were all slaveholders.

In the middle of a field just north of Heyworth, Illinois State University professor Logan Miller and his students this summer will continue unearthing ancient tools, ceramic bowls and even elk bones.

Jazz vocalist and international cabaret star Spider Saloff agreed jazz artists would be wise to incorporate a more theatrical style into their performances.

Redbird Athletics

When Illinois State University women’s basketball coach Kristen Gillespie paces the sideline Sunday afternoon at Redbird Arena, her former college coach will be alongside during the Play4Kay game to benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

Jon Norton / WGLT

Owner James Gaston was sitting at a four-chair circular table in his club on Front Street across from the McLean County Law and Justice Center in downtown Bloomington. It’s been nearly three years since Jazz UpFront opened, and despite the immense pressures of running a live jazz club anywhere in America, jazz is still a staple in his club every Friday and Saturday night.

Gabby Bozeman / WGLT

In 2016 streaming services became the primary way Americans listened to music. But Bloomington-Normal still has three independent record stores, where physical music, mostly vinyl, makes up the vast majority of their sales. Indeed, record stores in the Twin Cities have bucked the current, rising in popularity from a low point about 15 years ago.

The BraziLionaires

The seven-piece Latin-fusion group The BraziLionaires add 50+ pieces to their sound when they merge with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra for their annual Romance Concert.

Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited Illinois State University on Friday as the featured speaker at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Dinner.

Courtesy

The Feudin’ Hillbillys. It's a name that conjures both a kind of music and an attitude.

Tom Becker library

Tom Becker graduated from Stanford (IL) High School. That alone will date him.

Illinois Wesleyan University Athletics

When Illinois Wesleyan head women's soccer coach Dave Barrett accepted the same job at Division 1 Fairfield University in Connecticut last week, he said the opportunity was a perfect storm.

Kevin Schertz

What would life be without music for Chris Corkery?

“I can’t … ” said Corkery softly, pausing to consider the implications. “Wow … good question. It’s hard for me to even conceptualize that. Music … saved my life in a lot of ways for many years.”

Jon Norton / WGLT

McLean County Museum of History Librarian Bill Kemp's new book is his second collection of stories written for The Pantagraph. The 77 stories in this edition reveal issues from the county's past that still reverberate today, albeit in different form.

Illinois State University Athletics

Mid-major basketball coaches including Dan Muller at Illinois State University are speaking out against a proposed NCAA rule change that would make it easier for players to transfer.

Rebirth Brass Band

If you grow up in New Orleans, you’re going to absorb the musical legacy of that city.

Illinois State University Athletics

The Illinois State University men's basketball team had high expectations going into this season.

Emmy Holmes-Hicks

Emmy Holmes-Hicks caught the fiddle bug by age 4.

“An older cousin would visit from Thunder Bay, Ontario,” said Holmes-Hicks. “She played Canadian-style fiddle. There was something that just drew me to that music, so much I was just glued to her and I think my parents noticed that.”

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