Last summer, for the first time since he founded it in 1954, George Wein wasn’t at the Newport Jazz Festival. Traveling from his Manhattan home had simply become too difficult for the fabled 95-year-old impresario. His presence was still felt on the grounds of Fort Adams in Newport, R.I., as he made a couple of announcements remotely, including his introduction of the similarly fabled Mavis Staples on the 2021 festival’s second day. Even so, it seemed likely that the days of seeing the jauntily becapped Wein tooling around the fort in a golf cart labeled “The Lean Green Wein Machine” were gone for good. Wein’s passing just a few weeks later made the likely definite. For 2022 and beyond, Newport Jazz would have to continue without him.
Fortunately, in the hands of a crack team led by artistic director Christian McBride, the fest that Wein built remains in excellent shape. This was clearly demonstrated back at the fort during the three days of its 2022 edition (July 29-31). As one might expect, many tributes were paid to Wein, including a final-day jam session of the type he himself so often put together over the decades—this one featuring such longtime pals as Randy Brecker, Lew Tabackin, Hiromi, and Jon Faddis. Yet the ultimate tribute was, of course, the very existence of the festival itself, expertly carrying on the work that its founder had first undertaken so many years ago.
JazzTimes photographer Joe Allen was present for the entirety of Newport Jazz 2022, and his images, seen below, capture just a few of the many memorable moments its performers and participants experienced over three balmy days by Narragansett Bay, for the love of George and the love of jazz. Which, when you think about it, are basically the same thing.
And oh, by the way, the golf cart is now called “Christian’s McRide.”
Read Bill Beuttler’s full report on Newport 2022 here.
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