Newport and the Jazz Festival:
A Symbiotic Relationship
2013 Festival Set for August 2 – 4
at International Tennis Hall of Fame and
Fort Adams State Park
“By bringing together the music, the people and the place,” Wein explains, “you create a festival, a real happening, an experience that is remembered long after the music ends.”
The 2013 festival will kick off at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino, 194 Bellevue Avenue, on Friday, August 2, at 8:00 pm with a concert under the stars. Built in 1880 as the Newport Casino, the grounds of the Tennis Hall of Fame are a portal to an era of Newport elegance and Gilded Age charm. Whether sipping cocktails under the gazebo, or sitting in the stands beneath a cool Atlantic breeze, it’s hard to imagine a better place to see this year’s headliner, Natalie Cole, croon than on the same center court where the likes of Big Bill Tilden once made tennis balls sing.
George Wein suggests that part of what makes Newport and the Jazz Festival so compatible is an unbridled mutual respect. They are both proud of what each has brought to the other, in terms of culture, commerce, and history. But then get Wein to reminisce about Dave Brubeck’s 50-plus appearances, or Ella Fitzgerald closing the festival in ’54, or Duke Ellington’s legendary 1956 performance of “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue.” Glance at the 1965 program, which shows a Friday night listing that reads “Jazz for Moderns,” with Miles Davis’ quintet sharing the bill with the John Coltrane Quartet, the Art Blakey Quintet, the Thelonious Monk Quartet, and Carmen McRae. Listen to the roaring crowds on the famed recordings.
Then you realize that what binds the city of Newport and the Jazz Festival is beyond rational explanation. It’s in the air – a rich breeze of tradition that blows back over the Newport Jazz Festival every August, confirming where it’s been, and reminding where it will go.
For the complete line-up, tickets and more information, visit www.newportjazzfest.org.