George Wein, the inspiration of the worldwide jazz festival movement, has died at the age of 95 in New York. Spokesperson Carolyn McClair announced his death. Wein was a pianist and had run the Storyville jazz club in Boston and became renowned for launching the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 and led it for over half a century. Newport was immortalised in the consciousness of jazz fans globally in the classic documentary Jazz on a Summer's Day.
Wein later promoted at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Grande Parade du Jazz in Nice and his formats became a model for jazz festivals and other genres globally. As a musician he continued to play and released albums such as Wein, Women and Song and was named an NEA Jazz Master (America's greatest jazz honour) in 2005 two years after the publication of his autobiography, Myself Among Others: A Life in Music. In the book he wrote: ''Whether it’s one of the many festival producers throughout the world, or the concert promoters, or the individual nightclub owners struggling night to night – their contributions are essential to the history of this music. I’m glad to have been part of this process: in the development of the jazz festival, the acceptance of this music as art, the efforts to bring jazz to a wider audience worldwide.”