|The Newport Jazz Festival is a music festival held every summer in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. It was established in 1954 by socialite Elaine Lorillard, who, together with husband Louis Lorillard, financed the festival for many years. The couple hired jazz impresario George Wein to organize the event to help them bring jazz to the resort town.
Most of the early festivals were broadcast on Voice Of America radio and many performances were recorded and have been issued by various record labels.The Newport Jazz Festival moved to New York City in 1972 and became a two-site festival in 1981 when it returned to Newport and also continued in New York. The festival was known as the JVC Jazz Festival from 1984 to 2008. During the economic downturn of 2009, JVC ceased its support of the festival and was replaced by CareFusion. As of 2012 the festival is sponsored by Natixis Global Asset Management.
The festival is hosted in Newport at Fort Adams State Park, and is often held in the same month as its sister festival, the Newport Folk Festival.
In 1960 boisterous spectators created a major disturbance, and the National Guard was called to the scene. Word that the disturbances had meant the end of the festival, following the Sunday afternoon blues presentation headlined by Muddy Waters, reached poet Langston Hughes, who was in a meeting on the festival grounds. Hughes wrote an impromptu lyric, “Goodbye Newport Blues”, that he brought to the Muddy Waters band onstage, announcing their likewise impromptu musical performance of the piece himself, before pianist Otis Spann led the band and sang the Hughes poem.The 1960 event was notable also for the presence of a rival jazz festival that took place at the Cliff Walk Manor Hotel, just a few blocks away. This was organized by musicians Charles Mingus and Max Roach in protest against the lower pay that the Newport festival offered jazz innovators in comparison with more mainstream performers; the fact that the innovators were mostly black and the mainstream performers mostly white was also an aggravating factor.
- The Dave Brubeck Quartet
- The Cannonball Adderley Quintet, featuring Nat Adderley
- Nina Simone
- The Louis Armstrong All-Stars with Trummy Young and Barney Bigard
- The Dizzy Gillespie Quintet
- Ray Charles
- The Horace Silver Quintet
- Muddy Waters
- John Lee Hooker
- The Bill Evans Trio
- The Jazz Messengers with Art Blakey
Videos from the festival:
Cannonball Adderley Quintet – Del Sasser:
Muddy Waters – Tiger In Your Tank:
Muddy Waters – Got My Mojo Working:
Muddy Waters – Hoochie Coochie Man:
John Lee Hooker “It’s My Own Fault”- “Come Back Baby”:
John Lee Hooker – Maudie:
Ray Charles – I Believe To My Soul:
Ray Charles – Drown In My Own Tears:
Ray Charles – What’d I Say:
Ray Charles – My Baby:
Nina Simone – At Newport (full album – youtube playlist):