Jazz Birthday: George Wein (1925)

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Jazz is a business too, and that takes all kinds of entrepreneurs. George Wein started out as a jazz pianist but in 1950 at age 25 he became a jazz and record producer and a jazz club owner by starting Storyville in Boston and Storyville records. The first act he booked there had Bob Wilber (soprano sax) and Big Sid Catlett (drummer) in it. Every top  jazz performer passed through Storyville, such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, Bobby Hackett, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, and Billie Holiday. This was the beginning. Four years later, Wein organized the first Newport Jazz Festival for Louis and Elaine Lorillard of cigarette fame (Old Gold, Kent, Newport brands). In those days, a pack of cigarettes was $0.25. Still later, Wein started the Playboy Jazz Festival. Maynard Ferguson once did a superb album called “A Message from Newport” (1958) from which comes “Frame for the Blues”. But for a 90s Budweiser Newport edition of Maynard with some terrific scat singing and a challenge to recognize bop tunes incorporated into “Bebop Buffet”, try this.

5:06 am on October 3, 2012