The Newport Jazz Festival was established in 1954 by socialite Elaine Lorillard and her husband Louis - but the couple's enthusiasm for such a venture failed to ignite a similar response from the well-heeled residents of Newport, Rhode Island. With the Lorillards' financial backing, pianist and impresario George Wein was brought in to organise the event. After one year at the Newport Casino site, a more suitable venue was found in the shape of Freebody Park, a space that became the festival's home for the next few years. Though the festival did not take place in 1961 due to the over-enthusiastic behaviour of some younger elements the previous year. Many singers have figured strongly in the Newport programme; this CD set showcases four who made it to the top of the performing tree. Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone, all very individual stylists, each relished the chance to appear at what quickly became a prestigious occasion, and they did not fail to deliver. May this festival continue for another sixty years producing great jazz and music closely related to the genre.