The jazz festival that George Wein produced in Newport, R.I., for 54 years looked to be in trouble this year when the production company to whom he'd sold his imprimatur was rocked by the ongoing financial crisis. Instead, it only gave Wein the resolve to retake the reins of his own festival, planning one with a more intriguing and diverse lineup than most in recent memory. NPR Music and partners WBGO and WGBH will present many of the acts from George Wein's CareFusion Jazz Festival 55 in a live broadcast and webcast from Newport on Aug. 8-9.
Fredrik Persson/Scott Gries/Michael Weintrob/Palma Kolansky/Johann Sauty/The California Museum/Getty Images
This year's Newport Jazz Festival, the 55th annual event of its kind, will feature 30 acts in one weekend, plus a special opening concert.
Scheduled to appear is the usual assembly of crowdpleasing legends: Octogenarians Roy Haynes, Dave Brubeck and Tony Bennett will all take the stage. And the lineup is stacked with heralded champions of modern, mainstream jazz: Potent improvisers like Branford Marsalis, Joshua Redman and Christian McBride will all lead their hard-charging bands. But also on the bill this year is a surprising assortment of young artists and postmoderns who delight in pushing boundaries: Rudresh Mahanthappa, Esperanza Spalding, Mos Def, Ken Vandermark, The Bad Plus, Brian Blade, Steven Bernstein, Claudia Acuna, Vijay Iyer, Miguel Zenon. Many, many more artists are scheduled to appear, as well. Keep checking back here and at the Jazz Festival 55 Web site for broadcast and webcast times and more information.