[Dixielandjazz] Fifties College Jazz was George Wein and The Newport Festivals

doctordubious at verizon.net doctordubious at verizon.net
Wed Mar 4 09:08:47 PST 2009

This possible reemergence of George Wein as the Newport impresario coincides
with my recent viewing of "Jazz On A Summer's Day", the marvelous
documentary film on the 1958 Newport Festival. This news may draw many of us
on this list back to our youth as performers or punters or partyers or all
three and I Googled "Eli's Chosen Six" which was featured in that film in
their youthful exuberance and Dixieland performing. I know that several of
that group are still active in the New York traditional jazz scene; Lee
Lorenz leads the "Creole Cooking Jazz Band" every Sunday night at Arthur's
Tavern; Dick Voigt leads the "Big Apple Jazz Band"; Steve Little is still
drumming; and, I believe, that others in the group developed musical careers
and lives beyond those halcyon days.

"To think, when one is no
longer young, when one
is not yet old, that
one is no longer young,
that one is not yet old, that
is perhaps something."

Source: Samuel Beckett 

It's great to know that many of us not only reminisce about "the Fifties",
but still play the same "college jazz" of those days. Any comments or
remembrances . . . Steve Barbone . . . Craig Johnson . . . Any others?

Best regards,

Tom Duncan
Doctor Dubious and the Agnostics
PO Box 2118      Teaneck, NJ 07666
P   (201)836-6076     FAX   (201)833-4143
Our CD "Hot Jazz" available at venues or through CD Baby

-----Original Message-----
From: dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com
[mailto:dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com] On Behalf Of Stephen G
Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2009 10:31 AM
To: doctordubious at verizon.net
Cc: Dixieland Jazz Mailing List
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] George Wein and The Newport Festivals

Who would have thought the Newport Jazz Festivals might die?  
Especially the JVC form in New York City during the last 2 weeks of June?
(see next to last paragraph) I hope George Wein, at 83, still has"it" and
will be able to resuscitate them.

Steve Barbone

March 4, 2009 - NY TIMES - by Ben Ratliff Wein Seeks to Regain Control of
Newport Festivals

Amid rumors of an uncertain future for the Newport jazz and folk festivals,
the veteran jazz concert producer George Wein - who founded them in the
1950s but ceded control over them two years ago - Tuesday gained permission
to negotiate to regain them.

He said he intended to hold the festivals at Fort Adams State Park, their
usual site in Newport, R.I., but the names of the festivals, the corporate
name that Mr. Wein might use and a corporate sponsor are still undecided.

Mr. Wein is returning as a festival producer in altered circumstances.  
After pioneering the outdoor jazz-festival business and serving as boss for
dozens of international festivals, he has in recent years seemed content to
assume a back-seat position. In 2007 the Festival Network LLC, a new
business under the leadership of the entrepreneur Chris Shields, bought the
assets of Mr. Wein's company, including the trademarks of the Newport Jazz
and Folk Festivals, for a figure in the low millions, while giving him a
salaried producer-emeritus position within the company. Mr. Wein said he had
not been paid since Nov. 15.

Since 2007 the Festival Network aggressively pursued the concept of
mixed-genre destination festivals, in vacation spots like Jackson Hole,
Wyo.; Martha's Vineyard, Mass., and Whistler, British Columbia.  
But The Providence Journal-Bulletin and The Boston Globe have reported
recently that the company lost millions of dollars last year and at least
until January was in debt to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental
Management for last year's use of Fort Adams State Park.  
Mr. Shields was not available for comment. John Phillips, who has helped
produce the festivals for 30 years under Mr. Wein and Mr.  
Shields, said the Festival Network had recently paid off its debts; this was
confirmed by Larry Mouradjian, the associate director of natural resources
for the department.

However, according Mr. Mouradjian, the department declared the Festival
Network's license agreement for running the festivals in Fort Adams Park
null and void because of the late payment. This, according to Mr.
Mouradjian, "opened the door for us to be able to look for an alternative"
producer to hold jazz and folk festivals at the park.

Talks began with Mr. Wein, and on Tuesday, at a meeting of the Rhode Island
State Properties Committee in Providence, Mr. Wein received approval to
negotiate a new music-festival license agreement for the use of Fort Adams
State Park with the state.

Mr. Wein said that he would like to put on his Newport festivals with or
without a sponsor, even though he knows he would lose money without one.

It remains to be seen whether the annual end-of-June jazz festival in New
York - produced for years by Mr. Wein's company and then by the Festival
Network - will be presented at all, or in reduced form.

At the moment, Mr. Wein, 83, said, his ambitions were limited. "The easiest
thing for me would be to run away, but I got a few more years to live," he
said, adding that he's going to go back in business primarily to save
Newport. "In my mind, it's just a matter of preserving my legacy."

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