Many up-and-coming artists (and even some already-there ones, like singer Dee Dee Bridgewater) will be performing at the Newport Jazz Festival for the first time this year. But only one of them can rightly claim to be the winner of the 2019 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. That would be composer and pianist Ben Morris, who received the award earlier in 2019 after being selected by a jury of composers and ASCAP members including Fabian Almazan, Erica Lindsay, and Nate Smith. Morris will perform with his quintet—featuring violinist/singer Zosha Warpeha, multi-winds instrumentalist Juan Gabriel Olivares, bassist Dan Montgomery, and jazz drummer Sam Gautier—on Friday, August 2 at 1 p.m. on the festival’s Storyville Stage.
In an interview on the ASCAP Foundation’s website, Morris recounted his first visit to the festival as a fan in 2012. “Being at Newport was a magical experience,” he said, “and I never imagined I would be performing at the same festival only a few years later. It’s an absolute honor to be invited and to be playing the same day as some of my musical idols.”