George Winston

The biggest selling Windham Hill Records artist and probably the best known of all the "new age" pianists, George Winston has sold millions of records with relatively little media hype. His music has been described as impressionistic, folk, blues, jazz and any number of other terms. Winston himself prefers 'folk piano'.

artist:
George Winston

country of origin:
USA

style(s):
Solo piano, folk, ambient, classical

decades active:
70's - 10's

essential releases:

  • Summer (1991, Windham Hill)
  • Forest (1994, Windham Hill)

Reviewed by Mike G

The biggest selling Windham Hill Records artist and probably the best known of all the "new age" pianists, George Winston has sold millions of records with relatively little media hype. His music has been described as impressionistic, folk, blues, jazz and any number of other terms. Winston himself prefers “folk piano”. On more than one occasion the self-effacing Winston has copped flak from the jazz police for his alleged watering down of the leftfield jazz stylings of American contemporary pianist Keith Jarrett. But if he substitutes some discipline and economy for Jarrett’s long bouts of sentimental self-indulgence, then more power to him.

He was at the peak of his popularity in the 80's, but Winston’s best albums actually come from around the middle of his recording career - the 1990's.

Both Summer (1991) and Forest (1994) boast an inspired choice of covers: some well-known (“Corina, Corina”), others gleefully obscure (“Graceful Ghost” by jazz organist Larry Young). Personal, intimate and melodic, Winston’s thoughtful interpretations are interspersed with his own compositions and they provide a perfect foil for the non-original material. Minimalist composer Steve Reich is the inspiration for “Tamarack Pines”; it opens and closes with dampened keys that create a strange percussive effect ala John Cage, in between which he spins fast, repetitive motifs with both the right and left hands.

Share this:
Share