The Newport Jazz Festival 2021 – Back live!

George Wein and Christian McBride © Kevin R. Mason

From July 30 to August 1, 2021, the Newport Jazz Festival (NJF) returns live, having been closed in 2020 due to the pandemic. One of the oldest in the world, the “Grandfather of Jazz Festivals” will once again be held at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island.

Andra’s Day © Kevin R. Mason

As always, the NJF presents a star lineup that includes: Kamasi Washington, Andra Day, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Mavis Staples, Christian McBride, Makaya McCraven, Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science, Ledisi, Robert Glasper, Charles Lloyd, Catherine Russell, The Chris Potter Circuits Trio, Cory Wong, The Arturo O’Farrill Quintet and The Jazz Gallery All-Stars with Jaleel Shaw, Morgan Guerin, Joel Ross, Charles Altura, Gerald Clayton, Ben Williams, Marcus Gilmore, & Renée Neufville, and more to be announced.


George Wein © Kevin R. Mason

The NJF was first organized by impresario George Wein and funded by Elaine and Louis Lorillard in 1954. By 1958, the NJF had grown in popularity to the point that it was the subject of a documentary film, Jazz on a summer day. Over the years, many jazz icons and rising stars have appeared there including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Mann, Buddy Rich, Dave Brubeck, Benny Golson, Herbie Hancock, Jon Faddis, Dianne Reeves, Art Blakey, Bill Evans , Miles Davis, Sonny Stitt, Chick Corea, Anita O’Day, George Benson, Ray Charles, Sun Ra, Freddie Hubbard, Oscar Peterson, Lee Konitz, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone, Esperanza Spalding, Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé , Tito Puente, Pat Metheny, Cassandra Wilson, Frank Sinatra, Roy Hargrove, McCoy Tyner, Norah Jones, Dexter Gordon, Diana Krall, Joey Alexander, James Carter, Harry Connick, Jr., Dr John, Wynton Marsalis, Carmen McRae, Wayne Shorter, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bill Charlap, Jon Batiste, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Vijay Iyer, Ambrose Akinmusire, Anat Cohen, Jazzmeia Horn, Gregory Porter, Helen Sung, Horace Silver, Emmet Cohen, Ravi Coltrane, Christian Sands, Joshua Redman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Hiromi, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Jane Bunnett & Ma queq ue, Ingrid Jensen, and many more!

Numerous classical jazz albums have been recorded at the NJF, including Earl Basie in Newport, Ellington to Newport, Nina Simone in Newport, and Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday in Newport.

Two of the most famous performances in Newport history are Miles Davis’ 1955 solo on “Round Midnight” and the Duke Ellington Orchestra’s long and renowned rendition of “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue”, which included a saxophone solo extended by Paul Gonsalves.

Festival efforts

In addition to the upcoming NJF, the Newport Festivals Foundations have many other initiatives, including being a recipient of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Leadership Grant. On the site, it is written:

“Over its six and a half decades, the Newport Jazz Festival® has been committed to providing artists with a platform to showcase their mastery and innovation to audiences, students and educators.

Kamasi Washington © Kevin R. Mason

The Jazz Festival preserves and extends the legacy and impact of jazz by arousing the interest of new generations of jazz enthusiasts through their Jazz Assembly programs and educational initiatives. From now on, the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Festivals Foundation will be able to continue their work as recipients of a leadership grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “As a foundation that believes in and invests in the vitality of jazz, the Newport Jazz Festival is an important partner for us,” said Ed Henry, President of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF). “For more than 65 years, the festival has showcased jazz legends, provided platforms for promising emerging artists and created an artistic space that presented to the global audience the deep roots and evolution of this music. The DDCF is pleased to provide this grant to recognize the leadership role that the festival has played in the field and to help it continue to support artists and music in the future. “

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue © Kevin R. Mason

Since its inception, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s arts program has recognized that substantial support for exemplary arts organizations plays a critical role in supporting the creative lives and livelihoods of artists. The Leadership Fellowships have been designed to enhance the capabilities of organizations to adapt to a complex and changing environment that often hampers their ability to plan and achieve institutional goals and long-term business plans. The grant will expand Newport’s jazz-specific music education programming through content capture and program development, and provide artists with additional revenue streams.

“Doris Duke, who had a home in Newport, was a frequent guest at the Newport Jazz Festival,” says founder George Wein. “I’m sure Miss Duke would be happy to see the DDCF provide such meaningful support to the Newport Festivals Foundation and what it means for the cultural life of Rhode Island, America and the world.”

In recent years, the Newport Festivals Foundation has been involved in several community outreach efforts, including Instruments for Puerto Rico, Guitars for Vets, Commitment to Newport Schools, and Instruments for Portland.

Terri Lynne Carrington © Kevin R. Mason

The NJF brings in artist ambassadors to connect, share and inspire students. This includes the traveling Newport Jazz Assembly Bands which present jazz history assembly programs for schools in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Michigan. The organization also identifies and funds after-school programs across the country. The Newport Festivals Foundation established the Newport Festivals Musician Relief Fund, to provide financial assistance to musicians in folk and jazz communities who are experiencing loss of income due to COVID-19.


Sponsors for the Newport Jazz Festival 2021 include the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Cox Business and Conn-Elmer Division of Education.


This year, for the safety of all participants, individuals will be required to present either proof of vaccination, showing that you were fully vaccinated at least two weeks before the event, OR a negative Covid-19 test administered within 72 hours prior to the event. your participation . The Newport Jazz Festival website has instructions on how to complete the short application for the screening process, and ticket buyers will receive an email with instructions. You will need to do this in advance, and this will result in a Crowdpass, which will allow you to enter the NJF.

For more information on ticket sales and discounts, Covid protocols, where to stay and what is allowed to be brought into the NJF, visit

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.