In the coming months, the city of Newport, R.I., will honor jazz impresario George Wein by erecting a statue in his honor. The campaign, called “Generations of Jazz: A Newport Legacy: A Landmark Tribute to Jazz and George Wein,” is co-chaired by Dave Brubeck and Wynton Marsalis, and is seeking contributions toward the cost of the project.
The Newport Jazz Festival began in 1954, largely due to the efforts of Wein. Born in Boston in 1925, Wein was running the famed Storyville Club when he was approached by cigarette money heir Louis Lorillard about doing something with jazz in Newport. Since Storyville closed in the summer due to slow business, Wein decided he would attempt to put on a jazz festival equivalent to the successful classical summer series at Tanglewood, Mass.