Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Clash of Jazz Impresarios in New York and Newport

Will New York have a major jazz festival this summer?

It depends on whom you ask. Festival Network, which has presented the JVC Jazz Festival for the past two years, says it will. But concert promoters, booking agents and others in the jazz world say that because of the economy and a rift between Festival Network and the impresario George Wein, it is possible that New York will lack a big festival for the first time in 37 years.

In 2007 Mr. Wein, 83, sold his company, Festival Productions — which produced the JVC Jazz Festival in New York, the jazz and folk festivals in Newport, R.I., and many others — to Festival Network, which continued to employ him as a producer-emeritus.

But Mr. Wein said that he had not been paid since November, and Rhode Island authorities said that they canceled Festival Network’s contract to present events at Fort Adams State Park, the festival’s longtime home, because of late payments.

Muddying the water for jazz fans, Mr. Wein and Chris Shields, the chairman of Festival Network, said they were presenting events in Newport and New York.... Continue reading this article, By BEN SISARIO at The New York Times

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