Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

George Winston, the pianist and guitarist identified for foundational solo piano recordings on the daybreak of New Age, died Sunday (June 4) after a decade-long battle with most cancers. Over a profession spanning greater than 50 years, Winston launched 16 solo piano albums—together with the Grammy-winning 1994 album Forest—in addition to information from various Hawaiian slack key guitarists on his report label Dancing Cat. He was 73. 

After a profitable bone marrow transplant for Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) in 2013, he continued to report and tour whereas in restoration, however had been pressured to postpone a lot of his 2023 reveals because of declining well being.

Born in 1949 in Hart, Michigan, Winston was raised in Montana, Mississippi, and Florida. He cites the New Orleans pianists James Booker, Henry Butler, and Professor Longhair as early foundational influences; within the early ‘70s he found the stride pianists Fat Waller and Teddy Wilson. Winston launched his first solo piano album, Piano Solos, on John Fahey’s Takoma label. 

After transferring to the Bay space and signing with William Ackerman’s Windham Hill label, Winston had his breakout with three platinum albums: Autumn, Winter Into Spring, and December (which went 3x platinum). He adopted up that run with a collaboration with Meryl Streep, accompanying the actress’ studying of kids’s story The Velveteen Rabbit on piano. 

Later in his profession, Winston recorded extra tributes than unique tunes. He launched two albums of music by Peanuts composer Vincent Guaraldi, and in 2002 he shared an album-length tribute to the Doorways referred to as Evening Divides the Day. Final 12 months’s Evening, his last launch, featured songs popularized by Leonard Cohen, Allen Toussaint, and Laura Nyro.

Whereas on tour, Winston inspired his audiences to carry meals donations to his concert events, raised funds for the nonprofit Feeding America, and donated proceeds from reveals to native meals banks. He additionally donated proceeds from his 2001 album Remembrance to the households of victims of the 9/11 terrorist assaults.

Winston was nominated for 5 Grammys—his solely win coming in 1994 for Forest—and offered greater than 15 million albums. Whereas many take into account his work within the ‘80s and ‘90s to be largely influential within the formation of New Age music, Winston himself resisted the label, referring to his model as “Folks Piano” or “Rural Folks Piano.”

“Another labels, together with something having to do with something philosophical, or non secular, or any beliefs, are additionally not correct, as I’ve little interest in these topics,” he wrote on his web site, in response as to whether his music had ever been mislabeled. “I simply play the songs the very best I can, impressed by the seasons and the topographies and areas, and, sometimes, by sociological components, and attempt to enhance as a participant over time.”

By Admin

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