NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — For the first time in its 62-year history, the Newport Jazz Festival will have a musician other than pianist/producer George Wein as its artistic director. Multiple Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride has been named artistic director to work alongside, and eventually succeed, Wein as the festival's music curator, it was announced by Wein, chairman of Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc. and producer of the Newport Jazz Festival since its inception in 1954, and Jay Sweet, the Foundation's executive producer.
Rounding out the production team is Danny Melnick, 25-year veteran of Wein's organization, who will move up to producer from associate producer.
"I am very pleased that Christian McBride is available to join forces with the Festival and Foundation," said George Wein, "I'm looking forward to working with him as the beacon of the future of Newport Jazz Festivals and continuing to collaborate with Danny to produce some of the world's finest music events. When I first met and heard a teenage Christian McBride in 1989, I knew that he was someone special. Little did I know that nearly 30 years later, he would become the special someone to continue my legacy. The Foundation's Board and I feel that the festival is in good hands and these two music mavericks are more than capable to sustain the festival for decades to come."
McBride will begin festival strategic planning with Wein and Melnick immediately, and will take the reins for the 2017 Newport Jazz Festival. He has been a regular at Newport since his days as a young jazz lion and will again take the stage this year with Chick Corea Trilogy on Friday and Saturday.
"I am deeply humbled by my appointment as artistic director of the Newport Jazz Festival – the most storied and legendary jazz festival in history. To be able to work with a legend like George Wein, not only as a musician, but now as an understudy, is a task I will cherish and approach with openness and excitement. I'm also looking forward to working with consummate producers Danny Melnick and Jay Sweet as well as with the entire festival team," said McBride.
The 2016 Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Global Asset Management takes place July 29-31 at historic Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino. Artists include Chick Corea Trilogy with Christian McBride and Brian Blade; Norah Jones; Gregory Porter; Angélique Kidjo; Kamasi Washington; John Scofield/Joe Lovano Quartet; Darcy James Argue's Secret Society; Charles Lloyd New Quartet; Robert Glasper Experiment; Nels Cline; Lizz Wright; Tierney Sutton; Django Festival All Stars; Kenny Barron Trio; Donny McCaslin; Yosvany Terry Quintet; Toshiko Akiyoshi; Steve Coleman and Five Elements; Galactic; Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah; José James; Kneebody; The Hot Sardines; Anat Cohen and many others.