George T. Wein, the father of the jazz festivals movement, was born October 3, 1925 in Boston. Although his head committed him to pre-med studies at Boston University, his heart led him to a life in music. In 1950, George opened his own club, Storyville, in Boston. He produced the first Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 and the Newport Folk Festival five years later. Both festivals continue to be saluted as cultural icons in Rhode Island and around the globe. Wein founded his renowned production company in 1960 and now, more than five decades later, he and his New Festival Productions continue to present concerts and festivals featuring the world’s greatest artists.
Wein advanced the business of live music and pioneered the concept of sponsor association with music events, including festivals for Schlitz, Kool, JVC, Mellon Bank, Ben & Jerry’s, and CareFusion. Symphony Space partnered with the CareFusion Jazz Festival in 2010, producing a series of concerts featuring Jon Faddis, Roy Hargrove & the Jazz Gallery All-Stars, Evan Christopher, Sheila Jordan/Jay Clayton, and Gretchen Parlato/Kat Edmondson.
George Wein has been honored by heads of state, including two separate White House anniversary celebrations of his Newport Jazz Festival and France’s Legion d’Honneur. In 2005, he was recognized as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts; in 2010, he was honored with the Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts. Wein’s award-winning autobiography, Myself Among Others: A Life in Music has become a major reference on jazz history.
George Wein has a long history of involvement with philanthropy and the arts, including the establishment of the Joyce and George Wein Chair of African American Studies at Boston University, the Alexander Family Endowed Scholarship Fund at Simmons College, and the Joyce Alexander Wein Prize at the Studio Museum in Harlem.
Multiple Grammy nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón represents a select group of musicians who have masterfully balanced and blended the often-contradictory poles of innovation and tradition. Widely considered as one of the most groundbreaking and influential saxophonists of his generation, he has developed a unique voice as a composer and as a conceptualist, concentrating his efforts on perfecting a fine mix between Latin American folkloric music and jazz.
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Zenón studied classical saxophone at the Escuela Libre de Música before receiving additional degrees at Berklee College of Music and Manhattan School of Music. He has toured and/or recorded with Charlie Haden, David Sánchez, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, The Mingus Big Band, and Steve Coleman.
As a composer, Zenón has been commissioned by SFJAZZ, The New York State Council for the Arts, Chamber Music America, The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and Montclair University. He has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, Jazz Times, Boston Globe, Billboard, and Details, and has graced the cover of Downbeat Magazine and Jazz N More. He has also topped the Rising Star Alto Sax category of the Downbeat Critic's Poll on four different occasions.
In 2003, he was chosen by the Kennedy Center to teach and perform in West Africa as part of their Jazz Ambassador program. Since then, he has given hundreds of lectures and master classes at institutions including The Banff Centre, Berklee College of Music, Siena Jazz, Conservatoire de Paris, Manhattan School of Music, and the Brubeck Institute. He is also on faculty at New England Conservatory of Music. Perhaps what best reflects his commitment to education is a program that he founded called Caravana Cultural. The program makes a "cultural investment" in the rural areas of Puerto Rico by exposing jazz of the highest caliber, while getting young musicians actively involved in the concert activities.
In 2008 Zenón was selected as one of 25 distinguished individuals to receive the prestigious and coveted MacArthur Fellowship.
Miguel Zenón Quartet
Miguel Zenón, saxophone
Luis Perdomo, piano
Hans Glawischnig, bass
Henry Cole, drums