|Dear Friends,The long process of weaving our 50th anniversary anthology album of the 1962/1963 Paul Winter Sextet is finally complete. I hope you’ll have the opportunity to listen to the album, and to read the story of the Sextet’s journey (below).
Meanwhile, the reunited Sextet will be rehearsing for its special guest performance in our upcoming Winter Solstice Celebration along with the Paul Winter Consort, the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and singers Theresa Thomason and Abdoulaye Diabate.
“COUNT ME IN” RELEASED
I’m very happy to announce the release of Count Me In, a two-disc anthology of recordings by my first band, The Paul Winter Sextet. And I’m pleased that we’ve been able to make the album available prior to the upcoming 50th anniversary of our Nov. 19, 1962 concert at the White House.
Revisiting this music has been deeply gratifying. The Sextet was conceived as a kind of little ‘big band,’ and with our instrumentation of three horns and rhythm, it has quite a different sound from that of the Paul Winter Consort, which people have known me for during the last several decades. But on a primary level, it’s all the same lineage: a spirit of celebration, in the democracy of ensemble, aspiring toward a balance between the improvised and the composed.
The album includes 14 previously unreleased tracks, including the White House concert, among many tracks from the Sextet’s five Columbia albums.
“MAN, IT’S JAZZ AT WHITE HOUSE”
The back cover of our 32-page CD booklet features this article from The New York Herald Tribune, Nov. 20, 1962:
WASHINGTON – Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy put an enthusiastic stamp of approval yesterday on the new Latin American dance rhythm—the Bossa Nova—at the hottest jazz concert ever heard at the White House.
Blaring trumpets and the moaning saxophones of the Paul Winter jazz sextet hit a loud, blue note in the sedate, chandeliered East Room.
It was the kind of music that would have thrown a jazz festival into wild stomping and clapping. But the young audience—children of diplomats and government officials—were too polite to abandon all reserve in the hallowed halls of the White House and sat quietly as the combo beat out modern jazz tunes.
The First Lady, hostess at the fifth in her series of concerts for young people, turned out to be a jazz buff. In breathless tones she told saxophonist Winter … “Simply wonderful. There has never been anything like it here before.”
Talking to the 23-year-old jazz sextet leader from Altoona, Pa., Mrs. Kennedy said, “I think it’s so great to see you up there.”
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WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION – DEC. 13-15
The New York Times recently described our Winter Solstice Celebration [ details & tickets ] as “an immersive, multimedia extravaganza, as grand and expansive as its location.”
We’ll be offering more details about this year’s show over the coming weeks. But as it relates to Count Me In, one of this year’s special guests will be the reunited Paul Winter Sextet. Other performers are, along with the Paul Winter Consort, are vocalist Theresa Thomason, African griot singer Abdoulaye Diabate, and the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre.
And as it happens, the dates of this year’s solstice celebration coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Sextet’s last New York performance, at the Village Vanguard, the “Carnegie Hall of jazz,” in December 1962.
“COUNT ME IN” – ALBUM POSTSCRIPT
The three-year journey of our Sextet was graced with many blessings. It was an extraordinary time and place in which to be enchanted with jazz. When I came to Chicago in 1957, the south side was a jazz mecca. I recall seeing hand-lettered cardboard signs on telephone poles in the area of 53rd and Cottage Grove: Pot’s On…Jug & String…McKie’sThat’s all they needed to say to let the neighborhood know there would be swinging music that night by Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt at McKie’s Showboat Lounge.
I loved the exuberant and congenial spirit of the black jazz community and immediately felt a resonance. Not once did I feel unwelcome. This was my first experience of any culture outside the predominantly white one I’d known growing up in Altoona. It was out of this south-side community that our Sextet and its music emerged.
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For living music,
P.S. Earlier this week, Chris Spector of Midwest Record reviewed Count Me In. The light-hearted article included a few gems, such as describing me as a “fresh-faced lad,” and this one:
“Before Winter was running with the wolves and examining nature, long before it was hip, he was a bebopper!”