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George Wein Honored in New York

Last night the National Arts Club, a New York-based group that promotes public interest in the fine arts, gave a Special Medal of Honor to JVC Jazz Festival producer George Wein (pictured). Wein, who is generally recognized as the inventor of the modern music festival (he started it all with the Newport fest in 1954), accepted the award at a dinner held in his honor at the Club.

The medal was given to Wein on the occasion of the publication of his autobiography, Myself Among Others, which was written with help from frequent JazzTimes contributor Nate Chinen and released by Da Capo Press in early May.

Pianists Dick Hyman and George Shearing were on hand to help Wein celebrate, and entertainment was provided by the Purchase Jazz Trio under the direction of Todd Coolman and the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra.

Now word on whether or not Wein showed off his own jazz chops last night (he plays piano), but last September Arbors Jazz reissued an early 1970s album starring Wein at the piano and on the mic, in case you want to know if he can play jazz as well as he can promote it. The album, entitled Wein, Women & Song & More, features late coronetist Ruby Braff and guitarist Howard Alden and also includes nine tracks from a 1992 session Wein led but had never released.

Originally Published