At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday, the Academy will bestow honorary awards to two men who have played integral parts in the Playboy Legacy.
George Wein, recipient of the Recording Academy’s Trustees Award, was a contributing force in the foundation of the Playboy Jazz Festival, which has been going strong since 1979. Wein produced the first Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 — the great-granddaddy of music festivals, and went on to found the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1970.
Honors and awards have been bestowed upon him by Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, AARP, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the French Legion d’Honneur, Chile’s Order of Bernardo O’Higgins and other organizations around the world. Wein is the recipient of honorary degrees from the Berklee College of Music, Rhode Island College of Music, Five Towns College and North Carolina Central. He is a lifetime Honorary Trustee of Carnegie Hall and a member of the Board of Trustees at Jazz at Lincoln Center — in addition, his autobiography, Myself Among Others: A Life in Music, was recognized by the Jazz Journalists Association as 2004’s best book about jazz.
Wayne Shorter, recipient of the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, is a 10-time Grammy winner and hailed as “probably jazz’s greatest living small-group composer.” As a saxophonist, he played with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and eventually joined Miles Davis as part of his “Second Great Quintet” (so named to distinguish it from the first Great Quintet, which featured John Coltrane on sax). Bandmate Herbie Hancock has said: “The master writer to me, in that group, was Wayne Shorter. He still is a master. Wayne was one of the few people who brought music to Miles that didn’t get changed.”
This year will mark Shorter’s 7th appearance at the Playboy Jazz Festival, held in Hollywood June 13th and 14th, 2015.