Newport Jazz Festival

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Newport Jazz Festival 2010

The Newport Jazz Festival is a jazz festival held each summer in Newport , Rhode Island . From the 1970s it also took place in New York (among other things under the name Kool Jazz Festival and JVC Jazz Festival ).


The Newport Jazz Festival was started in 1954 by George Wein and later organized with his wife Joyce Wein and Charlie Bourgeois . It usually took place on three to four days in July initially.

The festival was funded in 1954 with $ 20,000 from the couple Elaine Lorillard (1914-2007) and Louis Lorillard, an entrepreneur from the tobacco industry. Both lived in Newport and contacted Wein, who owned the Storyville jazz club in Boston, to organize a jazz festival. They supported the festival financially until 1961. Until 1960 it was also directed by the non-profit organization Newport Jazz Festival Board, headed by Louis Lorillard and which also organized the Newport Folk Festival from 1959 . In 1962, a company took over from George Wein, until the end of the 2000s when he handed it over to a non-profit organization, which he headed. The New York branch of the festival, which later became the JVC Festival, was sold by George Wein in 2007 and was discontinued a year later.

The first Newport Jazz Festival on July 17, 1954 drew 11,000 jazz fans to Newport. It played u. a. Dizzy Gillespie , Gerry Mulligan , Eddie Condon and Oscar Peterson .

In 1957, trombonist Marshall Brown performed there with a school band from Long Island ; he then became a member of the festival organization and was commissioned to travel to Europe with G. Wein and to find members for an international youth band there. This International Youth Band then performed in Newport from 1958 to 1960. In the various editions of the Youth Band , u. a. Eddie Gomez , Dusko Goykovich , George Gruntz , Roger Guérin , Albert Mangelsdorff , Hans Salomon , Erich Kleinschuster , Jimmy Owens , Gábor Szabó and Jan Wróblewski .

Over time, all jazz greats came to the festival, including Louis Armstrong (1956, 1958, 1960–1963, 1970), Ella Fitzgerald (e.g. 1958), Duke Ellington (especially 1956, a great success and revival of the Ellingtons Career), John Coltrane , Miles Davis (who had tremendous success with his solo on Round Midnight in 1955), Cannonball Adderley (e.g. 1957, 1961), and Dave Brubeck (e.g. 1958, 1959, 1961) to name just a few. Most of the early concerts were broadcast on the Voice of America radio.

McCoy Tyner and Ravi Coltrane in Newport 2005

Jazz on a Summer's Day (1960) is a film about the 1958 festival by Bert Stern , in which such famous names as Louis Armstrong , Thelonious Monk , Chuck Berry , Mahalia Jackson , Chico Hamilton , Anita O'Day , Gerry Mulligan and others. a. occurred. There is also a television film from the 1960 festival; in addition, the 1970 film Salute to Louis Armstrong was recorded at the festival, a major birthday party for Armstrong.

In 1960 the festival was broken off ( Newport Riots ) after brawls between alcoholized, dissatisfied young people, who had come in large numbers but no longer received concert tickets, and the police ( Newport Riots ) and stood on the brink. In 1962, however, George Wein was able to continue the festival after it was temporarily (and with less success) directed by Sid Bernstein in 1961, and the residents of Newport voted to keep it in a referendum (with 70% for the jazz festival and 60% for the Folk festival). In 1969 jazz and rock were presented together ( James Brown , BB King , John Mayall , Sly Stone ), with jazz being in the minority ( Sun Ra , Sunny Murray ) and rioting again broke out. In 1971 rock fans rioted and demanded free entry; Wein invited rock bands like Led Zeppelin , Jethro Tull and Blood, Sweat & Tears at the time . In the following years the festival was therefore moved to New York and did not return until 1981, with two parallel festivals from then on in New York and Newport (the New York Festival was called Newport Jazz Festival New York from 1972 to 1979 and thereafter after the sponsors Kool Jazz Festival (until 1985) and JVC Jazz Festival New York, 1984 to 2008).

After the turbulent times in the late 1960s and early 70s, the festival returned to its jazz roots. In 2004 the 50th anniversary was celebrated with a US-wide tour and a CD edition of the highlights of the festival, commented by George Wein. In 2016, Wein handed over the artistic direction of the festival to Christian McBride , who is committed to a careful modernization of the festival.

Newport Rebels

The commercialization of the festival led to disputes in July 1960. Charles Mingus demanded a fee similar to that of the swing veteran Benny Goodman , who however still paid his big band from it. This was not accepted by George Wein, and so Mingus and Max Roach called an alternative counter-festival that they held parallel to the festival in the nearby “Cliff Walk Manor Hotel”. There were encounters with veterans Jo Jones , Roy Eldridge and Coleman Hawkins , but also performances by Jon Hendricks and the avant-garde Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman . Mingus, Kenny Dorham and Abbey Lincoln and others were named after the "Newport Rebels". (An album of the same name with most of these musicians was later released on “Candid”.) However, the concerts only had around 200 listeners and were pushed into the background by the Newport Riots in the interests of the media.

Recordings from the Newport Festival (selection)

See also


  • Burt Goldblatt : Newport Jazz Festival - The illustrated history . Doubleday, 1977, ISBN 0-385-27086-0
  • George Wein with Nate Chinen: Myself Among Others: A Life In Music . da Capo, Press 2004, ISBN 0-306-81352-1 , (autobiography)
  • John Gennari: Hipsters, Bluebloods, Rebels, and Hooligans: The Cultural Politics of the Newport Jazz Festival, 1954–1960, in: Robert G. O'Meally, Brent Hayes Edwards, Farah Jasmine Griffin: Uptown Conversation, Columbia University Press 2004

Web links

Commons : Newport Jazz Festival  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Obituary in the New York Times November 28, 2007
  2. Newport Festival Foundation, History ( Memento of the original from December 8, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ Newport Festivals Foundation
  4. ^ Newport Jazz Festival Begins a New Era, With History as a Guide , New York Times , August 7, 2017