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2019 Newport Jazz Festival Combines Jazz Greats with New Stars

A mixed bag of jazz greats, generations and genres made the 65th edition of the Newport Jazz Festival one of the most interesting and exciting of recent memory. Jazz Legends such as Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves and Dee Dee Bridgewater mounted the Fort Stage followed by relative newcomers such as Kamashi Washington. The festival concluded with Chicago's very own Oscar and Grammy awards winning superstar Common. The sheer depth and breadth of the event was staggering. The immense size of this year's crowd also reflected the growing popularity of the fest under the freshly minted stewardship of artistic director Christian McBride with founding father George Wein giving his benevolent blessing from the sidelines as he cruised the perimeter of the sprawling stage venues of Fort Mason in his omnipresent 'Wein Mobile.' The festival bestowed upon him a surprise Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his leadership and vision over the past 65 years. Opening Day brought an explosive set from Oscar and Grammy winning icon Herbie Hancock whose resume over his 60 plus year resume reads like an encyclopedia of the history of modern jazz. Name those he didnt play with and you'd have a short conversation indeed. Herbie has been playing jazz for nearly as long as the festival is old, yet his playing and composing show no signs of aging.