Foundation to fund N.O. Jazz and Heritage group’s music programs

Screen grab provided by Dailymotion.com -- Gia Prima, left, performs 'I Want You To Be My Baby' with her husband Louis. Show caption
Screen grab provided by Dailymotion.com -- Gia Prima, left, performs 'I Want You To Be My Baby' with her husband Louis.

“We are thrilled to partner with one of the country’s most important cultural institutions to provide jazz lessons to the youth of Louis’ hometown and to support those professionals who take the sound of New Orleans around the world.” Anthony Sylvester, managing member of the Gia Maione Prima Foundation

A donation from the Gia Maione Prima Foundation will fund the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation’s programs in music instruction and career development.

The Jazz and Heritage Foundation announced Thursday that it will recognize the donation by naming a room in the soon to be completed George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center in honor of Louis and Gia Maione Prima.

Gia Maione Prima was New Orleans singer-trumpeter Louis Prima’s fifth wife. She died in September at 72 in Pensacola, Florida. Prima, whose best-known songs include “Just a Gigolo,” “Sing, Sing, Sing” and “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” died in 1978.

“Throughout Louis’ life, he always believed in helping young people learn the joy of making music, and in supporting his fellow musicians,” said Anthony Sylvester, managing member of the Gia Maione Prima Foundation. “We are thrilled to partner with one of the country’s most important cultural institutions to provide jazz lessons to the youth of Louis’ hometown and to support those professionals who take the sound of New Orleans around the world.”

The Wein Jazz and Heritage Center on Rampart Street will contain seven classrooms, including rooms dedicated to piano and drum instruction, and a 200-seat auditorium.

The Wein Jazz and Heritage Center is named in honor of George Wein and his late wife, Joyce. Wein launched the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1970 and the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954. The center is expected to open in December.