Of all the jazz festivals, past and present, the Newport Jazz Festival must be the most famous, the most storied. From Ellington in ’56 to Miles and Monk in ’55 to (my personal fave) Basie in ’57 to Miles again in ’58, Newport, R.I. has played host to so many classic performances over the years that listing them all here would probably crash your computer. This year marks the festival’s 50th anniversary and, to celebrate, the Preservation Society of Newport County will hold a black-tie benefit gala with stars aplenty, including Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis and Bill Cosby.
The event will benefit the Preservation Society itself, a non-profit
dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes and decorative arts. The Breakers, an opulent mansion in the area, will host the event to take place on Thursday, August 12. That’s a long time from now but something tells me that tickets for the gala, expensive as they’re likely to be, will disappear quickly. What jazz fan with the necessary means wouldn’t want to attend?
George Wein (pictured), head of Festival Productions and the man who founded the Newport Jazz Festival, seems tickled about the idea of the gala. “It is wonderful that the 50th anniversary of our festival will be honored by the Preservation Society of Newport County,” he said. “It is a privilege to be celebrating this historic evening at The Breakers. This will be another first in the long history of our festivals and I’m grateful to our sponsor JVC, who has helped us bring the festival into the 21st Century.” Gotta talk up the sponsors to put on more festivals-George knows what he’s doing.
We’re without any further information on either the gala or this year’s Newport fest, but you can click here to access Festival Productions’ Web page for Newport, which ought to be updated with further info in the near future.