George Winston Climbs Aboard his Carousel


Webpage Stereophile has posted a great interview with George Winston. Here he talks about his new album “Spring Carousel“, his recent illness and his association with the New Age music genre.

The interview has this introduction:

“New Age. Most of it was acoustic. While there were vocals here and there, much of it featured instrumentalists playing solo or in groups. Some of it was meant to alleviate stress. Some of it was marginally connected to a similarly named movement in spirituality. Environmentalism and respect for nature were constant themes. Some New Age artists created moody, ambient sounds that were intended as background music, to promote healing and relaxation.

As the genre grew, some might say by attracting marginally talented musicians who were searching for musical direction, record labels specializing in New Age, such as Windham Hill, Narada, and Private Music, appeared on the scene and made stars of such diverse musical talents as harpist Andreas Vollenweider, native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai, saxophonist Paul Winter, keyboardist Kitaro, and guitarist Michael Hedges. Hedges, a huge talent, memorably called his music “Heavy Mental.” In its heyday, New Age sold a lot of records, some of them well-recorded and aimed at the audiophile market. The Wikipedia entry for New Age may have caught the essence of the music best: “intended to promote serenity.”

For a couple of years in the early 1980s, no one was bigger in the touchy-feely, sometimes sleepy, sometimes downright boring musical world of New Age than pianist George Winston. The eastern Montana native’s string of hit albums in that decadeAutumn (1980), Winter into Spring (1982), and December (1982)—all ranked high on the New Age charts, and even climbed into the top 20 of the Billboard U.S. Jazz charts. Depending on who’s doing the judging, each is filled with pleasantly meandering solo-piano explorations that Winston has always referred to as “folk piano.” ”

Read the interview here.