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Pianist Fave #1 George Winston

December 10, 2010

When I was an older child my Dad was really into music from the Windham Hill label, and bought a lot of it. He would play it for me if I had trouble sleeping and eventually I’d listen to it every night while going to sleep. I eventually became very interested in George Winston, an artist with Windham Hill . In high school I got a copy of Forests by George Winston, and I really liked it, but didn’t really get what he was up to with alot of the album.

A drama teacher in my junior year made the whole class lay down on the ground, close our eyes and listen to A george Winston composition called lThanksgiving. I was overwheleb by the beauty, simplicity and creativity of it. For the first time I understood what he was doing in terms of improvisation, not to mention a killer case of lthe goosebumps.

During my senior year Gearoge Wintson did a performance at my high school. I went with a couple of friends who were also into music. We sat in the balcony and I was stunned for the length of the performance. I’d seen a couple of big rock concerts before that but they lacked the intimacy, and frankly the mastery of the instrument. I was especially struck by the way he would let a note or two ring out into space and just roll around the space in the auditorium. He was trying to show us the beauty locked in the instrument.

Since I knew the songs so well from the CD, i got to hear the many ways that he changed them live and twisted them, while still being true to the original song. This was the first time i’d been in the presence of a master of improvisation (I’d experience other masters of improv in the future, in variety of genres.)

As i learned his songs and tinkered around with my own composition and improv, I came to love the brilliant simplicity of his music. He was a doorway into my own creativity.

He also introduced me to the work of Vince Guaraldi in his album Linus and Lucy. This would the first time I’d really pay attention to theses jazz harmonies that still sounded so strange to me at that point in my life. I came to really like Vinces’s music.

George was one of my first music role models that I continue to emulate. He’s explored many styles of piano with artistic excellence. Here’s to George! I think I’ll go play some of his music now.

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