Bobbi I. Booker

Jazz Host

Bobbi I. Booker is an award-winning Philadelphia-based, multi-media journalist and radio personality whose velvety voice has been a mainstay in the Delaware Valley for over two decades. In 1981, Bobbi launched her professional broadcast career with WRTI as a news reporter, and in 1999 was named co-host of Ovations.

Ms. Booker has completed two prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fellowships at the Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism (2005) and Arts Journalism Institute for Dance Criticism at the American Dance Festival at Duke University (2008).

Bobbi can be heard on the "Spirit Soul Music" edition of Ovations every Second Sunday from 6 to 9 AM, and daily on Jazz Through the Night, weeknights from midnight to 6 AM.

Ways to Connect

Photo courtesy of the artist

As Philadelphia’s fifth Poet Laureate, Trapeta Mayson merges her love of art with her love of community through words often accompanied by jazz music. Her poems often reflect her life story: born in West Africa, raised in North Philly, and now a licensed clinical social worker residing in Germantown.

Photo Courtesy of Artist’s Website

Kendrah Butler-Waters’ affinity for Philadelphia’s historic musical roots has served as the muse for her creative output as a skilled and imaginative pianist, composer, violinist, and vocalist. “Philadelphia is one of the premier cities for jazz and a lot of other genres of music as well,” Butler-Waters observed.

Gai Terrell/Getty Images

Since its release in 1965, pianist Horace Silver's "Song for My Father" and the celebrated album that shares its name have withstood the test of time and are among the most recognizable jazz songs today. A photo of Silver's father, born around 1900 as John Tavares Silva on the Cape Verdean island of Maio, is featured as the cover art of the Blue Note album.

Museum Without Walls

Today it’s considered the unofficial start of summer, but the final Monday of May was originally known as Decoration Day. It originated in the years following the Civil War and became the official holiday of Memorial Day in 1971. The initial name was derived from the fact that decorating graves was, and remains, a central activity of an ancient folk custom established long before America’s Civil War. Join WRTI jazz as we celebrate this custom throughout the weekend with songs of freedom and patriotism.

Latin jazz master percussionist Arturo Stable has been in motion his whole life, and working and living all over the world has allowed him to seamlessly shift though a myriad of musical traditions. Whether he’s on stage with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra or lightening up a tight Latin jazz quartet, it’s just another border crossing that demonstrates Stable’s rich cultural knowledge.

The word "pivot" has emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic and taken on new meaning as people and businesses found creative ways to thrive during the crisis. Jazz Philadelphia's pivot resulted in the 2020 Virtual Jazz Appreciation Month (VJAM Philly) launch of the popular Hometown Heros profile series, which gives local jazz artists visibility and shines a light on the region's rich music legacy.

Temple University Archives

Poetry. Motion. Sound. For most of the 85 years Sonia Sanchez has existed, she has known and embraced the power of words and music, eventually merging both aspects into her lyrical yet powerful poetry. To hear Sanchez recite poetry is to listen to her sing, all with a distinct musicality and cadence that belies the early challenges she faced as a motherless girl child who stuttered.

Courtesy of Joanna Pascale

Jazz has featured women contributors from its inception. Yet beyond vocalists, female composers and instrumentalists are disturbingly underrepresented across the genre. However, as society evolves, outdated stereotypes are being challenged as more women in music take leadership roles—both on and off the stage.

March 9, 2021. Kendrah Butler-Waters' love for jazz, composition, arranging, and performative musicality shines throughout her debut solo album, Faith Walk.

When most people think of a love song, it’s usually about being in, falling in, or falling out of a romantic relationship. Yet, we know love is not singularly focused on passion and can refer to other matters that stir our hearts, minds, and souls. As host of the “Spirit Soul Music” edition of Ovations on WRTI, Sundays from 6 to 9 AM, I believe that music, like love, should chart an adventurous, yet chilled-out path that opens unheralded gateways to one’s heartstrings.