Friday, 14 September 2018

George Winston - Autumn (1980)

Long overdue a solo piano Friday round here, so here's an absolutely gorgeous one whose time has come, with its titular season setting in.  The second album by Michigan native George Winston, Autumn was recorded some seven years after his 'Ballads And Blues' debut after playing some of his music to Windham Hill boss William Ackerman.  It kickstarted a hugely successful career in solo piano recordings for Winston, and helped make Windham Hill into a New Age household name.

I guess it's debatable whether this this is actually New Age music per se - to my ECM-centric mind, Winston's a more accessible Keith Jarrett/Art Lande than anything else.  This isn't exactly jazz either though, despite strong influences detectable.  But categorizations aside (Winston himself prefers 'rural folk piano'), all that really matters is Autumn's 45 minutes of utterly evocative, stunningly beautiful piano music that suits background listening or full attentiveness equally well.  Its first half features three longer tracks including two 9-10 minute suites, with the four mostly shorter pieces on side two delving deeper into Winston's formative influences of blues and stride piano, and New Orleans R&B piano.  Immersive loveliness par excellence for watching the leaves starting to turn.

mega / zippy

7 comments:

  1. People have been making that Jarrett comparison for almost 40 years now, and I've never heard or understood that at all. If anything, he's more reminiscent at times of some of Ralph Towner's early piano stuff.

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    Meanwhile, Anonymous doesn't hear any Jarrett in George Winston - fair comment, tbh Jarrett is in a league above... well, just about everyone bar possibly Bill Evans. Personally I definitely hear small influences of Köln in Autumn's opening track at least, but could just be the odd coincidental melodic/rhythmic cadence more than direct influence per se. Towner's (always underrated) pianism is a good shout.

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  5. Keith Jarrett has very small hands, you know. Just sayin'.

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    Love the posts and this Winston album is a perfect early morning weekend (digital)spinner.
    One of my favorite Windham Hill Samplers is the 1984 sampler that featured some of the best music from Winston, Isham and Shadowfax and what began my addiction to instrumental music back in the 80s!

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