Jazz Impresario George Wein Donates The Jazz and Blues ArtBox to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Collection includes more than 400 hours of live performances by and 96 exclusive interviews with jazz’s greatest musicians at the International Jazzfestival Bern
NEW YORK, NY, April 24, 2018 — George Wein, jazz producer, promoter and pianist, Founder of the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals and CEO of Newport Festivals Foundation, has donated The Jazz and Blues ArtBox to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library (NYPL).
Offering researchers and jazz lovers unparalleled access into one of the most comprehensive visual records documenting the jazz era, The Jazz and Blues ArtBox includes:
- 230 DVDs of video recordings spanning nearly two decades of the legendary International Jazz Festival Bern in Switzerland
- More than 400 hours of live performances from jazz and blues greats between the years 1983 and 2002
- 96 exclusive and candid interviews with featured jazz and blues artists, filmed as part of the original Swiss Television broadcasts of the Bern Festival
- 20 year books (one for each year in the collection) with photos, set lists, and line-ups for each concert
“It is important for a collection like The Jazz & Blues ArtBox to be available to the general public, and the Schomburg Center is a wonderful institution to present it,” said George Wein, CEO of Newport Festivals Foundation and founder of the iconic Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals. “It was recorded in Switzerland by my friend and jazz aficionado Hans Zurbrugg and is an amazing record of American jazz, which can influence the spread of our unique culture around the world. The ArtBox is a treasure of great music and the Schomburg should encourage any visitors to take the time to listen and watch these magnificent performances. It is also my hope that others will make the purchase and donate to libraries across the US.”
“The Jazz and Blues ArtBox is a significant addition to our jazz holdings at the Schomburg, which include the Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter, Billy Taylor and the Duke Ellington Society collections as well as the interview and outtakes from films such as Jazz on a Summer’s Day, A Great Day in Harlem and Mary Lou Williams: Music on My Mind,” said Shola Lynch, Curator of the Schomburg Center’s Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division. “With performances from 1983 to 2002, what better way to represent the fact that this art form – so unique and vital to African American history and culture, and foundational to American music and culture – is still alive. This collection brings the Schomburg’s jazz archive into a contemporary period, representing a recent passing of the guard from our greying legends to the up-and-comers. Best of all, the price of admission to this concert is free, with your library card.”
The Jazz and Blues ArtBox will be housed in the Schomburg Center’s Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division, and is freely accessible by appointment to researchers and library patrons with an NYPL Library Card.
The result: a front-row seat to hearing and seeing jazz masters such as Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Marian McPartland, Stéphane Grapelli, Sarah Vaughan, Dr. John, and Fats Domino at the peak of their careers. Up-and-comers at the time, such as Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Roberts, Christian McBride, Joshua Redman, Diana Krall, Bill Charlap, Dee Dee Bridgewater, C.J. Chenier, and Shemekia Copeland, are also showcased in the earlier years of their careers.
The limited edition Jazz and Blues Art Box was designed by USM, the Swiss furniture manufacturer renowned for its modular furniture and designs. Legendary graphic artist Roger Pfund decorated the cabinet’s exterior, paying tribute to the lives and performances of jazz greats housed inside, solidifying it as both a historical artifact and work of art. Only 5,000 units of The Jazz and Blues ArtBox have been made.
About the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of The New York Public Library, is generally recognized as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world. For over 90 years the Center has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life, and promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of peoples of African descent. Educational and Cultural Programs at the Schomburg Center complement its research services and interpret its collections. Seminars, forums, workshops, staged readings, film screenings, performing arts programs, and special events are presented year-round. More information about Schomburg’s collections and programs can be found at www.schomburgcenter.org.
About the New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.
About George Wein
George Wein is considered to be as much a legend as his festivals. Through his company, Festival Productions, he has spearheaded hundreds of music events since 1954 when he produced the first Newport Jazz Festival® – an event which started the festival era and advanced the concept of live music. Five years later, Wein and folk icon Pete Seeger founded the Newport Folk Festival® and Wein created the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1970. He pioneered the idea of sponsor association with music events, beginning with The Schlitz Salute to Jazz and the Kool Jazz Festival, followed by titled events for JVC, Playboy, Mellon Bank, Verizon, Essence, Ben & Jerry’s and others. At 92, Wein has as much creative fuel as he did when he started the Newport festivals. In 2010, he founded Newport Festivals Foundation to perpetuate the history of jazz and folk music. As a result of his diverse contributions to jazz and world culture, Wein has been honored by heads of state, educational institutions and leading publications. He is an NEA Jazz Master and received a Grammy® in 2015
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