NEWPORT, RI – George Wein’s life in music took its most important turn when Newport socialite Elaine Lorillard walked into his jazz club, Storyville, with a Boston University professor in 1953. Lorillard and her husband Louis were interested in bringing some excitement to Newport and the professor thought Wein was just the person to help. From that meeting, Wein developed the idea to present a jazz festival, and now, 61 years later, Wein is bringing Storyville to the Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Global Asset Management.
Storyville, a new intimate festival stage that will be located in the Museum of Yachting at Fort Adams State Park on Saturday, August 1, and Sunday, August 2, will feature piano performances by Frank Kimbrough
, Helen Sung
, Christian Sands
, Aaron Diehl
, Giorgi Mikadze and the 11-year old prodigy, Joey Alexander. In addition, Grammy Award- winning author and music historian Ashley Kahn will curate two seminars each day on renowned trumpet player Miles Davis
, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Davis’ first performance at Newport on July 17, 1955.
“Bringing Storyville to Newport is an exciting concept for me, and I’m looking forward to presenting my two loves – the jazz club atmosphere and the outdoor festivalat Fort Adams, ” said Wein, festival founder and producer. “Each of these pianists has something different to say, and a great way to hear what they’re saying is to spend time with them up close and personal. The 100-seat ‘club’ is the perfect place for intimate piano performances and to interact with Ashley Kahn as he shares his knowledge about Miles.”
George Wein’s Storyville opened in 1950 in Boston’s Copley Square Hotel. A nearly 200- seat room frequently filled with dynamic artists and dedicated jazz fans, the club launched with Bob Wilber and went on to present some of the world’s most renowned jazz artists, including Duke Ellington
, Dizzy Gillespie
, Lester Young
, Louis Armstrong
, Billie Holiday
and Miles Davis
. For a decade, the club was the place to be in Boston. As George wrote in his book about the original club, Storyville at the Newport Jazz Festival won’t have a “bad seat in the house;” and when you leave to go to another stage, the producer hopes you will share his feeling when Satchmo first played Storyville: “Life was very, very beautiful right there and then.”
Don’t miss Joey Alexander when he makes his debut in Newport on the Storyville stage on Saturday. Born in Indonesia and residing in New York, Alexander’s first album, My Favorite Things, was just released. In addition to the Newport Jazz Festival, he is scheduled to perform at concert halls, festivals and clubs in the United States and Europe and has appeared on national television shows and on the front page of the New York Times – all before he has spent a dozen years on earth. The wunderkind performs at Storyville with his trio Russell Hall on bass and Sammy Miller on drums.
Helen Sung also has a gig at Storyville on Saturday, performing with her quartet, featuring John Ellis, tenor saxophone; Ben Williams, bass; and Joe Dyson, Jr., drums. Like festival producer George Wein, Sung’s parents wanted her to go into medicine, but she was introduced to jazz while studying classical music at the University of Texas-Austin. She switched her major and later graduated with the inaugural class of the Thelonious Monk Institute at the New England Conservatory. Since then, she has performed with Clark Terry, T.S. Monk, Steve Turre, Regina Carter, Lonnie Plaxico and Terri Lyne Carrington, among others, and has become a formidable pianist on today’s jazz scene.
Christian Sands, the dynamo who rocked the jazz world when he played a duet with Oscar Peterson on the 2006 Grammy Awards, also plays Storyville on Saturday. In addition to leading his own stellar quartet, which features Etienne Charles, trumpet; Corcoran Holt, bass; and Ulysses Owens, drums, Sands also has performed with Lou Donaldson, Christian McBride and Wycliffe Gordon, all who have their own sets on this year’s festival. Sands takes the Newport stage with McBride on Friday.
With 25 years as a sought-after pianist and composer in New York, Frank Kimbrough has held the jazz chair with the Maria Schneider Orchestra since 1993. On Sunday at Storyville, he will showcase his solo piano chops, but you also will find him on Saturday in his usual spot with Schneider’s big band. Over the years, he has performed with Dewey Redman, Ben Allison and Ted Nash, and has taught and conducted master classes at institutions around the world, from Juilliard to Oxford University.
Aaron Diehl, who will lead his own band with Paul Sikivie on bass and Lawrence Leathers on drums at Storyville on Sunday, also performs regularly with vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant around the world and at Newport Jazz Festival on Saturday. His 2014–15 season highlights include serving as Music Director for the Jazz at Lincoln Center New Orleans Songbook concert series, performing in the New York premiere of Philip Glass’ complete Etudes at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and collaborating with the Spanish flamenco guitarist Dani De Morón in Flamenco Meets. He also has been busy with Space, Time, Continuum, his next CD, which emphasizes the artistic collaborations between generations, including pieces with Benny Golson and Joe Temperley.
Giorgi Mikadze was born in Tbilisi, Georgia where his musical talents were discovered when he was just two years old. He began studying classical music, but discovered jazz in high school and took on a whole new groove. He graduated from the Tbilisi State Conservatoire in 2010, then entered Berklee College of Music on a full-tuition scholarship; he graduated from Berklee in 2014 and landed another full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music. He has performed with Roy Hargrove, Meshell Ndegeocello, Tia Fuller, Patti Austin, Lee Ritenour and others. No stranger to the festival’s presenting sponsor, he has performed on the Natixis Global Asset Management Stage at the Bean Town Jazz Festival, as well at the Montreux Jazz Festival and the Kennedy Center. He takes his turn at Storyville on Sunday with his bassist Tabari Lake and drummer Kenneth Salters.
Storyville also presents the magic of Miles Davis. As previously announced in a release in collaboration with Columbia/Legacy Recording, the festival weekend will feature a number of exciting panel discussions focusing on Miles Davis, created in conjunction with the Miles Davis Estate and curated by Ashley Kahn. Highlights include an interview with George Wein conducted by New York Times critic Nate Chinen (co-author of Wein’s autobiography Myself Among Others: A Life In Music); a celebration of Miles and the St. Louis trumpet tradition with excerpts from the Clark Terry documentary Keep On Keepin’ On (produced by Quincy Jones); and a discussion of Miles’ romance with electric guitars. There will also be a playback of music from the new Columbia/Legacy Recordings box set Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol.4, with co-producer of the collection – Grammy Award-winning producer Steve Berkowitz and consultant Nell Mulderry – and Miles’ nephew, drummer Vince Wilburn, Jr.
The 2015 edition of America’s first annual jazz festival will feature Chris Botti, Cassandra Wilson, Jamie Cullum, Snarky Puppy, Maria Schneider, Arturo Sandoval, Dr. John, Jack DeJohnette: Made in Chicago, Kenny Garrett, Billy Childs, Arturo O’Farrill, Fred Hersch, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Jon Batiste, Kneebody, Hiromi, Michel Camilo, Jon Faddis, James Carter, Christian McBride, Bill Frisell, Mike Stern/Bill Evans Band, Ambrose Akinmusire, Tom Harrell, Pat Martino, Matana Roberts, John Hollenbeck, Ms. Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton and many others.