Thursday, October 26, 2017

Paul Winter - 1978 - Common Ground

Paul Winter 
Common Ground

01. Ancient Voices (Nhmamusasa) 3:56
02. Eagle 2:09
03. Icarus 4:09
04. The Promise Of A Fisherman (Iemanja) 3:38
05. Ocean Dream 7:35
06. Trio 1:14
07. Common Ground (Velho Sermão) 3:42
08. Lay Down Your Burden 2:57
09. Wolf Eyes 6:33
10. Duet 0:40
11. Midnight (Minuit) 4:23
12. Trilogy 1:54

Cruz Baca: Vocals
Tigger Benford: Stick
Paul Berliner: Percussion, Maracas Mbira, Vocal
Warren Bernhardt: Piano
Michael Blair: Bells, Cymbals
Ray Brown: Bass
Bill Cahn : Drums, Drums (Steel)
Ben Carriel: Stick
Oscar Castro-Neves: Bass, Fender Rhodes, Guitar
Robert Chappell: Drums, Moog Bass, Moog Synthesizer, Organ, Tamboura, Ugandan Drum
Kwaku Dadey: Stick
David Darling: Cello, Composer, Electric Cello
Laudir DeOliveira: Chimes, Congas, Cowbell, Shaker, Triangle, Water Drums, Wood Block
Steve Gadd: Drums, Grand Cassa, Stick, Surdo, Trap Kit
John Guth: Guitar, Vocals
Michael Holmes: Fender Rhodes, Vocals
Steve Horelick: Cymbals
Janet Johnson: Vocals
Gary King: Bass
Paul McCandless: Flute, Horn (English), Norwegian Selje Flute, Oboe, Soloist, Vocals
Susan Osborn: Vocals
Jim Scott: Guitar, Vocals
Paul Winter: Sax

For the past 50 some years, Paul Winter has been the foremost exponent of integrating sounds from nature into environmental-themed music to espouse an optimistic kinship with Planet Earth's myriad creatures. Fusing animal callings with jazz, orchestral, and choral arrangements, folk, and world music, Common Ground is a cohesive concept album with more than its share of beautiful music. Winter's mimicry and accompaniment of wolf and whale on soprano sax is eloquent, though the human vocal passages sometimes verge on a sanctimonious folkiness. His "best of" collection, Wolf Eyes (which features various versions of about half of Common Ground's selections), is a more consistent introduction to Winter's distinctive music.

Cutting his teeth in jazz, and combining his seemingly endless talent and imagination with his love of the earth and its inhabitants -- human and animal alike -- Winter has, over the years, consistently produced melodic, interesting albums that are challenging and comfortable at the same time. Always surrounding himself with stellar musicians -- a cast that has changed over the years, always first-rate -- he has continuously managed to transform his vision and emotion into some of the finest music of our age.
The ultimate tool that has allowed him to maintain his integrity is, I believe, his honesty. There is absolutely no element of pretense in his art -- he feels strongly and deeply about what he's doing, and it's present in every note. He combines various styles of ethnic music from around the world -- African, Brazilian, Native American and more -- with elements of jazz and classical music and sounds from nature (the wolf, the eagle, the whale) into a mix that comes together in such a way as to be seamless. It's as if they were made to fit together -- an audio metaphor for how we should live with each other and with the planet.
There is a comfort and serenity to this music -- and there is joy and rhythm and life. It's almost like a celebratory prayer -- a prayer of thanks for what we've been given in the form of the natural world and its peoples, and a prayer of hope that we don't throw it all away. It's a breathtakingly beautiful, stunning document.

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