Celebrations Include Concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Private Parties and Fundraisers to Benefit Newport Festivals Foundation
When a beloved member of the family turns 90, the major milestone calls for an equally impressive celebration; and celebrating is just what George Wein’s music family will do when the beloved impresario enters his ninth decade on October 3.
George’s fans and friends kicked off the festivities at the Newport Jazz Festival on August 1 when more than 250 music lovers gathered at the historic Breakers for a feast of fine food and wine and entertainment by Jon Batiste & Stay Human, Cassandra Wilson and Michel Camilo.
Throughout October, George’s birthday will be marked with parties around New York, with family in Boston and by sharing his passion for jazz with people who create and love music. For George, “jazz is life” whether it’s playing the piano, listening to up and coming performers or reminiscing about his love affair with the genre and his extraordinary career.
Part Two of the celebration begins on Friday, October 2, the eve of George’s birthday, during a star-studded gathering of friends at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center (Broadway at 60th Street). George will be feted by an all-star line-up featuring bassist Jay Leonhart, drummer Lewis Nash, guitarist Howard Alden, trumpeter Randy Brecker and pianist Frank Kimbrough during sets at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm. While the party honors George, he will no doubt take a turn on the piano. For tickets and more information, go to www.jazz.org or call (212) 258-9595.
On Saturday night, Wein will celebrate his big day with his close friends and colleagues, some of whom have been a part of his festival family for more than three decades.
There is a lot to celebrate since 1954, the year George founded the Newport Jazz Festival and forever changed how fans see and hear their musical heroes. Five years later, George and Folk icon Pete Seeger presented the Newport Folk Festival, which lately has sold out before all the artists are even announced.
Beyond Newport, George is devoted to Carnegie Hall, where he is a lifetime Honorary Trustee. The admiration is mutual. Carnegie Hall will celebrate George turning 90 with an invitation-only party that will highlight some of the momentous jazz events that took place at the venue, including the Newport-New York Jazz Festival, the JVC Jazz Festival, Verizon Music Festival, the Shape of Jazz series at Zankel Hall and numerous other events.
“Those were interesting times when we first brought Newport to New York,” says George. “We were so excited to be able to play Carnegie Hall, the cathedral that every musician dreams of, but we also missed being in Newport. I was so happy when we could do both.” George has produced more than 400 concerts at Carnegie Hall alone.
What do you get a renowned jazz original, oenophile, art collector, gourmet, humanitarian and world traveler for his birthday? The easy answer is a shared passion for jazz by way of the Newport Festivals Foundation (NFF), the non-profit 501 (C) (3) corporation he founded in 2010 to insure the festivals continue in perpetuity. To help do just that, another invitation-only event at City Winery, hosted by NFF Board members Bruce Gordon and Michael Dorf, will serve as a major fundraiser for the festivals.
If you can’t make it to Dizzy’s or other parties, you can still celebrate with George. A contribution to the Newport Festivals Foundation is always welcome. Tax-deductible donations of any amount can be made at www.newportfestivalsfoundation.org.
In addition, if you know George, or simply appreciate his contributions to the music industry, stop by Facebook and Twitter and leave him a message at #GeorgeWein or https://www.facebook.com/georgeweinimpresario.
Sometimes people begin to slow down when they reach a certain age. For George, turning 90 means a six-week European vacation filled with his passions – great friends, jazz, wine and food – followed by a full-speed-ahead schedule to book the 2016 season of the Newport festivals.
“Newport has been my second home for 62 years, and there’s no place I’d rather meet old and new friends than at the Folk Festival July 22-24 and the Jazz Festival July 29-31,” said George.