Continuing the tradition of celebrating music education and fulfilling a key mission of Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc. by showcasing outstanding student bands, George Wein and Christian McBride are pleased to announce the Fifth Wave of artists for the 2017 Newport Jazz Festival® presented by Natixis Global Asset Management, which is set for August 4-6 at Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino.
See the next generation of jazz unfold through the following student performances:
Friday, August 4
*Berklee Global Jazz Institute Workshop Ensemble
Saturday, August 5
*Jason Palmer’s Berklee Septe
*Herb Alpert ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer David Leon
w. Leo Genovese, Josh Allen and Francisco Mela
*RI Music Educators Association Senior All-State Jazz Ensemble
Sunday, August 6
*University of Rhode Island Big Band
*Newport Jazz Assembly Band featuring Ben Marcoux, Joshua Bruneau, Jimmy O’Connell, Tony Davis, Noah Barker, Alex Tremblay & Mike Camacho
*MA Music Educators Association All-State Jazz Band
In addition to presenting concerts by students, Newport Festivals Foundation’s mission also includes educating young people about jazz music as presented at the Festival through the establishment of partnerships with schools and colleges/universities. Since its inception in 2010, the Foundation has hosted workshops and master classes with local jazz musicians and internationally-acclaimed performers including Jon Faddis, Jon Batiste and Danilo Perez in conjunction with Salve Regina University; sponsored the music program at Boys and Girls Club of Newport County; provided scholarships for the Berklee Global Jazz Institute Workshop; and produced free school assemblies featuring the Newport Jazz Assembly Band at elementary schools in RI, MA and CT. Each year, the Foundation provides free Festival tickets and artist interaction to youth groups.
“There’s no better learning experience for a music student than to take the stage in front of a live audience. It is also an equally thrilling encounter for young people to be given the opportunity to see live concerts. When that stage is at the Newport Jazz Festival, they are not just at a venue; they are witnessing history at the pinnacle of the Jazz world,” said Artistic Director Christian McBride. “With the Festival performances, these students have already reached a mark to which many musicians twice their age aspire. I can still remember my first time at the Fort when I was 19, as well as every other band that I was a part of. I hope our student musicians and concert attendees cherish this experience and carry it with them for years to come.”
George Wein, who, at 91, still remembers the impact that a Dixieland band performance at his elementary school had on him, is a major supporter of the Foundation’s education mission.
“Something I’ve dreamed of for years is being able to present jazz to young people in the elementary school system,” said George Wein, Chairman of Newport Festivals Foundation. “Our Director of Education, Deborah Ross, along with saxophonist and RI native, Ben Marcoux, have organized a touring band. In cooperation with the Rhode Island Department of Education, we have been able to present the Newport Jazz Assembly in 35 schools to over 10,000 students. It’s been a total success.”
Colleges and universities have played an ongoing role at the Newport Jazz Festival over the years, and this year offers some special treats.
Wein said, “I’ve been over to the University of Rhode Island, and the faculty and students are dedicated to the music. If having their band at our Festival has helped their department, then I’m very proud that it has happened. It can only help jazz.”
The Festival’s relationship with Berklee goes back a long way. “Larry Berk, its founder, was a friend,” said Wein. “I spoke to Roger Brown two years ago about Berklee having a summer workshop at Salve Regina University, under the flag of the Newport Jazz Festival. He was quick to accept our idea. The Berklee Global Jazz Institute Workshop at Salve Regina was an instant success and has doubled its number of applicants in one year, with aspiring students coming from all over the world. It’s always nice to have the talented faculty playing with students at the festival.”
American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers – ASCAP – also holds an important place in the history of Newport Jazz, with some of the world’s greatest composers making their mark at Newport. “One of the thrills of my life in recent years was when ASCAP put my name on their Jazz Wall of Fame in their office,” said Wein. “There were over 100 artists mentioned, including Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Louis Armstrong, and any other great name you could think of. To see my name there meant a lot to me. More than that, out of the 100 names listed, I had personal relationships or contact with over 95 of the geniuses honored. That night we heard some talented musicians who had received the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. We made arrangements immediately to present one of the winners at the Festival each year, and this year it is saxophonist David Leon.”
Newport Jazz Festival opens doors for students of all ages in the audience, through its low priced student tickets and on the stage, and George Wein always makes it a point to see the high school bands. “Once again, as part of the Festival’s commitment to education, we will be presenting the all-state high school bands from Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Newport Festivals Foundation first invited the Rhode Island Music Educators Association Senior All-State Jazz Ensemble to the Festival in 2012, followed in 2013 by the Massachusetts Music Educators Association All-State Jazz Band.”
Over the years, Natixis Global Asset Management has presented scholarships to outstanding high school musicians; last year that award was named the George Wein Jazz Ambassador Scholarship.
The 2017 Newport Jazz Festival lineup, including all five waves, features:
Friday, August 4 (Fort Adams State Park)
*Béla Fleck & The Flecktones
*Cécile McLorin Salvant
*Leslie Odom, Jr.
*Joey DeFrancesco + The People
*Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith
*Amir ElSaffar’s Rivers of Sound Orchestra
*Christian Sands Quartet w. Gilad Hekselman, Yasushi Nakamura
& Jerome Jennings
*One for All: Jim Rotondi, Steve Davis, Eric Alexander, David Hazeltine,
John Webber & Joe Farnsworth
*Evan Christopher Clarinet Road & New Orleans Brass
*Jimmy Greene Quartet w. Kevin Hays, Ben Williams & Otis Brown III
*George Burton Quintet w. Tim Warfield, Jason Palmer, Pablo Menares
& Wayne Smith Jr.
*Berklee Global Jazz Institute Workshop Ensemble
Friday, August 4 (International Tennis Hall of Fame at Newport Casino)