George Wein, Founder of Newport Folk and Jazz Fests, Dead at 95Photo by Frans Schellekens / Getty Music News George Wein
George Wein died at his home in Manhattan today at the age of 95, according to his spokeswoman Carolyn McClair. In 1950, the U.S. Army vet graduated from Boston University, opened a jazz club and started the Storyville record label. Four years later, he founded the first outdoor jazz festival in the world, the Newport Jazz Festival.
He would become one of the largest behind-the-scenes figures in both jazz and folk music, establishing the Newport Folk Festival in 1959 and the New Orleans Heritage & Jazz Festival in 1970. The National Endowment for the Arts named him a Jazz Master in 2005, and he was twice honored at the White House for his efforts in supporting music, African-American art and other charitable work.
He was also a musician, singing and playing piano, releasing several albums since his 1955 Atlantic Records debut. Watch him lead an all-star jazz band—and be introduced by Chevy Chase—at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2008.