Performance at very first Newport Jazz Festival , the grandfather of all music festivals , took place outside because they had to - there wasn't a room big enough to accommodate the thousands of fans clamoring for news of future legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday . George Wein created the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 at the behest of the wealthy patrons of his Boston jazz club. But the way Wein saw it, thefestival wasn 't just a relaxed weekend disruption for residents of the tony rhode island community - it was a like-minded music lovers paradise, venue to mingle with the day's more inventive music. the outside created that sentiment, he said in a 2015 interview . And the festivals, to this day, even if they are not jazz festivals - that 's the attraction. They are a meeting place for people. Woodstock to Coachella followed the example of Wein 's Jazz Festival. Before headliners included rap stars and rock bands, Wein recruited people like Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. He oversaw the festival - and several others - for decades, refusing to slow down until he turned 90. I always say, I like jazz from 'J ' to 'Z, ' , a- he said in the 2015 interview. His love of the genre and its musicians would define his life. Read more Wein, who received an honorary Grammy in 2015 for pioneering the concept of music festivals, passed away this week, family spokeswoman Carolyn McNair confirmed . He was 95 years old. If you've been to a music festival, you've been influenced by George Wein, Jay Sweet, executive producer of Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, said in a statement to CNN. A Life defined by jazz Wein's musical career began as a little boy in the 1930s, singings standards on the radio while his mother accompanied him on the piano. As a child, he learned classical piano, which he quite enjoyed until his older brother brought home a Louis Armstrong record. His immediate affinity for these early jazz records marked the course of his life, he told Hamilton College in a 2001 interview for its jazz archives. By the time he was in college, young Wein had formed a jazz group that performed in seedy bars in Massachusetts. He and his fellow young musicians, most of whom were not of drinking age at the venues where they performed, were paid meager sums for their performances, he said in the Hamilton College interview. . His experiences as a teenage pianist have been formative, although their performances sometimes recorded beats.agarres in bars. In 1944, Wein joined the United States Army as a combat engineer, and he played the piano to escape punishment - officers in the dances always needed a pianist, says -he. Playing the piano had its advantages, he said in the Hamilton College interview. George Wein performs on stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2012. Pla Playing music in the military was a saving grace for Wein, but when the Second World War ended and as he graduated from Boston University he realized that playing music professionally would not be fulfilling. He had known so many musicians who mastered their craft but whose lives collapsed off the stage, he said. I think seeing them drinking in their room at night, you know, and so lonely and so out of it said, 'I'm not sure this is the life I really want, even though I love to play and I love music, ' he said in the Hamilton College interview. Giving up jazz altogether was never an option, so in 1950, with the limited funds he had saved attending college through From GI Bill, Wein opened the Storyville Jazz Club in Boston. He booked artists whose music he loved - and many of those artists went on to become the most-eaten gr of the genre. I was interested. playing as many jazz greats as possible he said in a 2008 interview with journalist Marc Myers of the JazzWax blog. I haven't really looked at the box office results. Storyville barely hit breakeven every week, but it drew esteemed clientele, including Elaine Lorillard. The wealthy socialite approached Wein to bring jazz to her upscale Newport, Rhode Island neighborhood. Wein didn't know much.got on with organizing concerts that could accommodate a city's worth of guests rather than a few dozen club patrons, but he agreed. I saw this as an opportunity to promote jazz on a large scale and expose people of all ages to this great music, il JazzWax told in 2008. For the first time, people who didn 't go to clubs or could not enter because they were too young could now see and hear the music and musicians live, outdoors, in a relaxed and relaxed setting. George Wein (right) laughs with Louis Armstrong (center) and trumpeter Bobby Hackett at the 1970 Newport Jazz Festival . Wein says he borrowed ideas from medieval festivals, but his first Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 has become the model for future music festivals, with its outdoor setting, range of musicians and annual summer staging. Future editions of the jazz festival included performances by Miles Davis, Duke Ellington - who recorded a live album at the festival in 1956 - and Billie Holiday, among many others. Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald will also release an album together, recorded live at the 1957 festival, before Holiday's death. Subsequent acts included Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Chick Corea. In 1959 - the same year he married black biochemist Joyce Alexander - Wein started the Newport Folk Festival, which hosted artists as disparate as Joan Baez, the Pixies, and Dolly Parton. Although it has since been expanded to include country and indie rock artists, during the 1965 festival Bob Dylan shocked the dedicated people when he started moaning on an electric guitar . As Wein wrote in his 2004 autobiography, the moment ushered in a new era of the genre: Rock and roll was no longer a taboo; if Dylan could cross that line, [folk fans] the might also George Wein poses in his New York apartment in 2004. Over the decades that followed, Wein helped found several other music festivals, such as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Essence Music Festival, via his company Festival Productions . And although he eventually handed over the reins of the Newport Jazz Festival to younger organizers, he remained a key part of the festival's operations. His successor as director artist, Christian McBride, called him the guide for everyone who runs a great festival. Sweet, the producerNewport Festivals executive, said Wein was the epitome of an impresario. He was an icon, maverick, artist, activist, philanthropist, mentor, source of knowledge. 'inspiration and especially my friend, said Sweet. It left an unparalleled legacy and now it 's our job to continue to develop it. Wein barely slowed down at the During the On Joyce's death in 2005, Wein created an award in his name, the Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, which rewards $ 50,000 to innovative black artists through the Studio Museum Harlem. At 88, he gave a concert at Lincoln Center in New York with a cast of Newport All-Stars . In a declaration before the representation , Wein said that jazz is life! - a fitting sentiment for a man who has devoted almost everythinga life in the genre. Jazz has been my whole life he said in the 2013 press release. That says it all. I 've learned so much from jazz that it ' s marked on me ever since. day until today. It's a long time to be influenced by great music.