George Wein

2015 INDUCTEE
Concert/Music Festival Producer, Jazz Pianist

GEORGE WEIN
Founder of the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals

In 1954, philanthropists Louis and Elaine Lorillard invited pianist and club owner George Wein to Newport.  What resulted was the Newport Jazz Festival for which Louis Lorillard provided a $20,000 grant. The successful event was the first outdoor jazz festival in the United States. The Newport Jazz Festival became an annual tradition and put Rhode Island on the map as an entertainment and cultural destination for international travelers.

The "Trumpet Players’ Tribute celebrating Louis Armstrong" in 1970 was a historic gathering of some of the greatest players in jazz. Seen here in front are Rhode Island’s Bobby Hackett, Satchmo, George Wein and, in second row between Armstrong and Wein, Dizzy Gillespie.

Recordings from the Newport Jazz Festival have resulted in some of the greatest and most important  live album releases of all time.

Verve Records MGV-8243 (1957)

Atlantic Records 1289 (1958)

Chess Records LP-1449 (1960)

In 1959, he also began presenting the Newport Folk Festival. He is credited with keeping folk, country, bluegrass and blues traditions alive by providing, for many of the performers, their return to the stage after years of waning interest.

This flyer for the 1969 gatherings shows how all-encompassing the lineups for the two festivals had become by the end of the 1960s. The concerts incorporated every major stylistic innovation of the decade and placed the younger artists in the midst of the originators and stars of the previous five decades.

During its initial run (1959-1969), the Newport Folk Festival presented some of the most diverse bills in American music history and featured classic and contemporary artists performing side by side. Production of the Folk Festival resumed in 1985 and the tradition continues with the festival further broadening its scope by bringing in reggae, rock and indie artists.

Vanguard Records VRS-9148 (1964)Vanguard Records VRS-9145 (1964)

The Newport Folk Festival also created a launching pad for future stars including Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, The Kingston Trio, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Arlo Guthrie.

The calm before the storm: Bob Dylan and organist Al Kooper with guitarist Mike Bloomfield and bassist Jerome Arnold of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band at the afternoon sound check for Dylan’s controversial 1965 Folk Festival appearance with backing by electric instruments for the first time.

As a pianist, Mr. Wein has maintained his career as a recording artist through the decades, most often in the company of all-star lineups from the jazz festivals. The Newport All-Stars have embarked on dozens of world tours carrying the message of Newport throughout the world.

Impulse! Records AS-31 (1963)

Smash Records MGS-27023 (1963)

Mr. Wein later founded the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and pioneered the idea of sponsor association with music events. Wein has been honored by heads of state, educational institutions and leading publications. He received a Grammy Trustee award on February 7th, 2015.

On July 31, 2015, George Wein was inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame (RIMHOF) in a ceremony which took place during the 2015 Newport Jazz Festival opening night festivities at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport, Rhode Island.

RIMHOF vice chair Rick Bellaire, Danny Melnick of Festival Productions, John Hailer of festival sponsors Natixis, George Wein and RIMHOF treasurer Jeff Keithline. (Photo credit: Erin X. Smithers)

 

GEORGE WEIN/NEWPORT FESTIVALS LINK & RESOURCES

GEORGE WEIN’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Myself Among Others: A Life In Music by George Wein with Nate Chinen
Mr. Wein’s autobiography is a “must read” for any serious music fan and is readily available in hardcover, paperback and various downloadable formats from bookstores and various online sellers including Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

GEORGE WEIN OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.georgewein.com

NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.newportjazzfest.org

NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.newportfolk.org

NEWPORT FESTIVALS FOUNDATION
http://www.newportfestivalsfoundation.org

GEORGE WEIN WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE WITH DISCOGRAPHY
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wein