Paul Winter's historic White House concert
Paul Winter, who’s been synonymous with New Age and World music for over 40 years, began his career as a hard-swinging alto saxophonist in the mold of Cannonball Adderley and Phil Woods. In 1961, his Chicago-based sextet took First Place honors at the Intercollegiate Jazz Festival in Washington, D.C., and in short order he was signed to Columbia Records by John Hammond. Winter played a 23-country State Department tour of Latin America, and upon his return accepted an invitation from First LadyJacqueline Kennedy to play what proved to be the first ever performance by a jazz ensemble at the White House.
Winter celebrated the Sextet's 50th anniversary with concerts in June at the Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington. Three original members, pianist Warren Bernhardt, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Harold Jones, were joined by trumpeter Marvin Stamm and baritone saxophonist Howard Johnson.
I posted a blog entry on Winter's early career in June after speaking with Paul on May 31. The night before, I’d played a set of the Sextet’s classic recordings in Jazz a la Mode, and Paul began our conversation by expressing delight over hearing his music on the radio. Here's the interview.
We'll hear selections from Winter's White House concert in tonight's Jazz a la Mode. The concert has now been released for the first time in the anthology Count Me In, a two-disc set which also includes the Sextet's studio recordings.
The 32nd annual Paul Winter Solstice Celebration takes place at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York on December 13-15. This year, the Winter Consort will be joined by the griot Abdoulaye Diabaté; vocalist Theresa Thomason; the 25 dancers and drummers of the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre; and the reunited Paul Winter Sextet.
WFCR will broadcast highlights from the concert in Jazz a la Mode on Friday, December 21.