Entertainment

George Wein, Legendary Festival Producer, Dead at 95

George Wein — the legendary pageant promoter who helped flip the Newport Jazz and Folks festivals into fixtures of the American live performance calendar, based the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Pageant, and paved the way in which for the trendy music fest — died Monday at age 95. His spokesperson Carolyn McClair introduced the information.

“It’s with immense unhappiness that we let you already know of the passing of our founder and north star, George Wein,” learn a word posted on each Newport fests’ Twitter accounts. “We have now all misplaced an enormous champion of jazz, artwork, philanthropy, and equality. There’ll by no means be one other like him. Relaxation simple, George.”

“George Wein outlined what a music pageant may very well be with the Newport Jazz Pageant, Newport Folk Festival, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Pageant,” L.L. Cool J mentioned in 2015 when presenting Wein with a Grammy Honorary Trustee Award. “This can be a nice man. Greater than anybody, George set the stage for what nice festivals as we speak seem like; festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo … he made this attainable…”

Wein was employed by pageant founder Elaine Lorillard to ebook the primary Newport Jazz Pageant in 1954. From there, it grew right into a marquee occasion, that includes the style’s greatest names. Bert Stern’s famed documentary Jazz on a Summer time’s Day chronicled the 1958 version of the pageant, which featured everybody from Louis Armstrong to Mahalia Jackson and Thelonious Monk. After being canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic, the pageant bounced again in 2021, presenting up to date stars like Robert Glasper, Yola, and Christian McBride.

Wein began the Newport Folks Pageant in 1959. The occasion would turn out to be an establishment of the American people and roots scenes, serving to to revive the careers of blues legends resembling Mississippi John Damage and launch these of artists resembling Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. He later tailored his Newport mannequin to New Orleans, launching the now world-famous Jazz & Heritage Pageant there in 1970 — after being barred from producing a pageant there in prior years attributable to his interracial marriage — that now options rock icons alongside roots legends.

Born in Boston in 1925, Wein grew up enjoying piano and main his personal band. Within the early Fifties, after serving in World Struggle II, he based his personal jazz membership and label, each known as Storyville.

Throughout the a long time, Wein’s festivals laid the blueprint for the music pageant as a cultural unifier. “I noticed it as a chance to advertise jazz on a big scale and expose folks of all ages to this nice music,” Wein told writer Marc Myers in 2008. “For the primary time, individuals who didn’t go to golf equipment or couldn’t get in as a result of they have been too younger now may see and listen to the music and musicians dwell, outdoors, in a relaxed, laid-back setting.”

Wein missed the Newport Jazz Pageant this previous summer time, however in prior years may typically be seen zooming across the grounds of Fort Adams State Park in a golf cart referred to as the Lean Inexperienced Wein Machine.

“For those who step again and give it some thought, George Wein and Pete Seeger created the phrase ‘pageant’ the way in which that we’re utilizing it,” Newport Folks government producer Jay Candy once told Relix. “Earlier than that there have been simply wine and opera festivals in Europe. The [1967] film Festival! is about Newport as a result of, for 10 years earlier than Woodstock, on this nation, the phrase ‘pageant’ meant ‘Newport.’ Actually, the phrases have been synonymous with one another.”

“I by no means imagined I’d be producing a jazz pageant within the first place,” Wein mentioned in a 2010 interview with Headcount. “I by no means had the motivation. I simply did them, and when something went mistaken, I used to be all the time pondering of one thing else to do. I did name it the ‘first annual’ Newport Jazz Pageant, and I did take my inspiration from the classical music festivals that lasted for thus a few years. So possibly I did have longevity behind my thoughts. However I by no means thought there’d be festivals all over the place like as we speak.”

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/george-wein-obituary-1225450/ | George Wein, Legendary Pageant Producer, Useless at 95

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