Paul Winter, who’s been synonymous with New Age/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; played a 23-country State Department tour of Latin America; and accepted an invitation from First LadyJacqueline Kennedy to play at the White House in what proved to be the first ever performance by a jazz ensemble at1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Winter is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sextet with concerts on June 6 and 7 at the Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington. Original members pianist Warren Bernhardt, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Harold Jones will be joined by trumpeter Marvin Stamm and baritone saxophonist Howard Johnson.
Tom Reney spoke with Paul Winter on May 31. The night before, he’d played a set of the Winter Sextet’s early ‘60’s recordings in Jazz a la Mode, and Winter began his conversation with Tom expressing delight over hearing his music on the radio.