George Winston
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George Winston

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Apr
21
George Winston @ Berea College

Berea, Kentucky, USA

Berea, Kentucky, USA

Apr
11
George Winston @ Tryon Art Center

Tryon, North Carolina, USA

Tryon, North Carolina, USA

Apr
08
George Winston @ Strathmore Theatre

North Bethesda, Maryland, USA

North Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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Music

Press


AUTUMN, WINTER INTO SPRING, DECEMBER and SUMMER are but four of the elegant Winston albums that have depicted seasonal inspiration during the last 25 years. - Knight Ridder (Walter Tunis)


Changing seasons and the landscape are just two of the elements that influence the instrumental offerings of George Winston, whose solo piano CD, MONTANA - A LOVE STORY, calls on his childhood home for inspiration. His exceptional blend of jazz, R&B, and folk elements has drawn audiences for 25 years. - Courier News (Robin Renee)


George Winston's melodic folk-style piano has been his signature sound for more than 30 years. - Oakland Tribune (Richard Freeman)


MONTANA - A LOVE STORY finds Winston applying his signature piano sound - contemplative and evocative, minimal yet emotional - to materials as varied as Canadian waltz (Valse Frontenac) and an American fiddle tune (Billy In the Low Land). - The Record (Brian McCoy)


George Winston is a consummate contemporary instrumental composer, interpreter, and performer who's achieved both commercial and critical success. His lilting, lyrical piano style conjures seasonal images in impressionist, musical paintings. Winston draws on R&B, jazz, blues, pop and folk for his compositions and interpretations, creating a sparse, dynamic and moving blend. - Rhapsody.com


Discography

Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions (2006)
Montana - A Love Story (2003)
Night Divides Day (2002)
Remembrance - A Memorial Benefit (2001)
Plains (1999)
Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi (1996)
Forest (1994)
Summer (1991)
December (1982)
Winter Into Spring (1982)
Autumn (1980)
Ballads & Blues (1972)

SOUNDTRACKS:

The Velveteen Rabbit
Sadako & the Thousand Paper Cranes

Photos

Bio

Windham Hill Records presents George Winston’s new solo piano album, Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions–A Hurricane Relief Benefit.

George Winston, best known for his melodic rural folk piano style, has made no secret of the debt his playing owes to the musicians of New Orleans. Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions–A Hurricane Relief Benefit was inspired by Winston’s desire to support the Gulf Coast after the recent hurricane related devastation. This beautiful and vast region has a mystique all its own and he has been to it many times, from Corpus Christi, to Galveston, to Lake Charles, to New Orleans, to Gulfport/Biloxi/Bay St. Louis, to Mobile, to Pensacola, to Panama City, to the Tampa Bay, to Ft. Myers, to Naples.

Winston cites the pianists of New Orleans as the biggest influences on his own piano playing. He will donate all of his artist royalties from the album to organizations involved in helping those on the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans to rebuild and return – organizations such as Common Ground (www.commongroundrelief.org), ACORN (www.acorn.org), and others. He has also donated all the proceeds of his September and October 2005 concerts to the same causes. In unity with the artist, RCA Records will be donating the bulk of its net profits to benefit musicians in the New Orleans area.

Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions features six Winston compositions inspired by the Gulf Coast as well as pieces written by or influenced by six of the greatest New Orleans pianists: Henry Butler, James Booker, Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, and Jon Cleary. “Much of my work on the piano is studying the musical languages of the great New Orleans R&B pianists,” Winston says. “Especially Professor Longhair, the founder of the New Orleans R&B piano scene in the late 1940s who inspired so many; James Booker, whose language most influences the way I think of playing; and Henry Butler, who is the pianist I have studied the most since 1985. I’m also indebted to New Orleans pianists Dr. John, Jon Cleary, and the eminent composer/pianist Allen Toussaint.”

James Booker’s Pixie lives up to its title with a treatment that features syncopated phrases in the right hand and Booker’s trademark left hand with a moving bass line and partial chords. “James Booker was the first one to take R&B, soul music, the Blues, New Orleans music, and more, to make a solo piano style which encompassed seven different ways of playing,” Winston says.

Henry Butler’s complex composition The Breaks is full of dramatic chords and flurries. Says Winston: “Henry is the pianist I have been studying the most since I first heard him in 1985. In my view he has taken R&B piano to its pinnacle, and he is the only pianist I know of who plays the deep Blues and R&B and mainstream jazz. You need to see him live to fully experience his music.”

Creole Moon, a pensive version of the title tune from Dr. John’s 2001 album, is full of emotions that residents of The Crescent City might have felt in the aftermath of the storm.

Winston’s own compositions for Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions run the gamut from up tempo to melancholy. New Orleans Shall Rise Again, delivered in a style that is inspired by Allen Toussaint, James Booker, and Dr. John, is an ode to The City and its music, a buoyant salute to the rhythms of jazz, blues, and R&B that also tips its musical hat to Henry Butler, and Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton.

Pixie #3 (Gŏbajie) borrows its form from James Booker’s Pixie, but is delivered in a more stately tempo, marked by dancing rippling runs on the high keys. “Gŏbajie was a kitty who loved music,” Winston explains. “She would listen attentively to live playing or recordings; whenever the music stopped she would respond by singing.”

Stevenson is an emotional piece for a friend lost as a result of the hurricane. Says Winston: “This is dedicated to my dear late friend, New Orleans filmmaker Stevenson J. Palfi (1952-2005), who made the wonderful film Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together about Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, and Isidore “Tuts” Washington.”

The centerpiece of Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions is Winston’s epic arrangement of When the Saints Go Marching In, one of the oldest traditional New Orleans songs. The arrangement starts at a deliberately ominous tempo inspired by Dr. John, before breaking into the song’s familiar celebratory melody and variations inspired by James Booker. The festivities are interrupted when Winston’s left hand moves up an octave, inspired by Henry Butler, before returning to the melody. At the end of the tune he breaks into a stride piano section before ending with two hand rolls inspired by the South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (aka Dollar Brand).

The album closes gently with Blues for Fess, Beloved, a eulogy for Professor Longhair that leaves each note hanging in the air reverberating, thoughts offered to fallen friends and a region and a city struggling to