HomeBluesHappy Birthday, Newport Jazz Festival Carl July 15, 2014 Blues This Day in Jazz History says that today is the 60th anniversary of The Newport Jazz Festival. Here is a history of the event. Above is Big Maybelle performing “All Night Long” at the 1958 festival. Be sure to listen carefully…she’s a bit hard to hear. Here is more about Maybelle Louise Smith: Born in Jackson, Tennessee, United States, Big Maybelle sang gospel as a child and by her teens had switched to rhythm and blues. She began her professional career with Dave Clark’s Memphis Band in 1936, and also toured with the all female International Sweethearts of Rhythm. She then joined Christine Chatman’s Orchestra as pianist, and made her first recordings with Chatman in 1944, and with the Tiny Bradshaw’s Orchestra from 1947 to 1950. Her debut solo recordings, as Mabel Smith, came for King Records in 1947, backed by Oran “Hot Lips” Page, but she had little initial success. However, in 1952 she was signed by Okeh Records, whose record producer Fred Mendelsohn gave her the stage name Big Maybelle. Her first recording for Okeh, “Gabbin’ Blues”, was a number 3 hit on the Billboard R&B chart, and was followed up by both “Way Back Home” and “My Country Man” in 1953. In 1955 she recorded “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On”, produced by Quincy Jones, two years before Jerry Lee Lewis’s version. More hits followed throughout the 1950s, mainly for Savoy Records, including “Candy” (1956), one of her biggest sellers. (Continue Reading…) The performance was recorded for the 1960 film “Jazz on a Summer’s Day,” which features fabulous footage of the 1958 festival. Here is Dinah Washington’s performance.