Click on image to purchase.
From Publishers Weekly
Seventy-eight-year-old pianist, vocalist and jazz impresario Wein is
one of the key figures responsible for polishing jazz's image, as he
charted new directions and gained respect for the music by creating
such vibrant venues as the Newport Jazz Festival. While doing so, Wein,
who is white, also confronted and helped change the face of racist America.
Wein and Chinen present the story of a 50-year career with smooth transitions,
mellow flow and continuity. From his Boston beginnings as a teenage
professional pianist and his WWII experiences, Wein segues into his
postwar nightly gigs and college graduation. In 1950, he opened a Boston
jazz club, Storyville, and soon launched a record label. But why jazz
amid Newport's bygone Gilded Age architecture? It began with wealthy
Elaine Lorillard's 1953 comment to Wein, "Oh, it's terribly boring
in the summer. There's just nothing to do." Wein recalls, "I
didn't even know what a jazz festival would consist of.... I had no
rule book to go by." He juxtaposes his memories of early Newport
triumphs, conflicts, disasters and riots with source material. These
recollections bring the central core of the book to a crescendo, along
with backward glances at other festivals, including New Orleans's JazzFest,
where the "long-lost career" of Professor Longhair, a forgotten
founding father of Big Easy R&B, skyrocketed after Wein brought
him back from total obscurity in 1971. Wein's experiences with musicians,
from Miles to Mingus, make this an important, valuable addition to the
jazz history shelf. It's a fact-filled, melodic memoir, swinging with
emotion and energy.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.