Thursday, October 26, 2017

Moonlyte - 1974 - Better Late Than Never

Better Late Than Never

01. Better Late Than Never         3:03
02. Magic Stencils                 6:15
03. Stone Phase                 5:04
04. Redemption                 3:06
05. In Memory Of One Who Left 6:19
06. Mr. Amor Se Apago         3:24
07. Nina                         4:28
08. Hasta Luego Amor         3:42
09. Sentado Junto Al Mar         2:50
10. Funky Epilog

Miguel Fanego (keyboards),
José Battle (bass),
Pedro Pino (guitar),
José Luis Toledo (vocals, percussion),
Juan Merida (vocals),
Juan Soto (percussion),
Edgar González (drums),
Frank Garcîa (drums),
Juan González (drums),
Felix Toledo (drums),
Enrique García (drums),
Frank Schuckert (saxophone),
Manuel Diaz (saxophone),
Félix Marrero (saxophone)

Also Known As:
The Moonlytes, The Moonlights, Los Moonlights

The band had traditional instruments (guitar, bass, drums, organ) plus horn section and latin percussion. On their album, Better Late Than Never released in 1974, they recorded Spanish Boleros (ballads) as well as rock which at the time was very funky

Talent oozes from this group.  Sounds of Santana, Chicago, Pink Floyd, et. al on side 1 and last song of side 2.  Spanish ballads on the rest of side 2.  Horn section (sax, trumpet) is superb, strings (fuzz/wahwah) as well as keyboard (Hammond sound) are "out-a-site", percussion blends in gracefully.  Band is composed of Cuban musicians from North Hudson County (Union City, West New York) in New Jersey, who attended high schools such as Union Hill High School and Emerson High School in Union City, New Jersey. They played many gigs over a 6 year period throughout Norther Jersey (1969 through 1974).  
There's a Facebook page (see Fans of Moonlyte or just search for Moonlyte ) where two of it's original members can be seen and a ton of pictures and newspaper clips.

Funk oddity that has power to put a smile on faces for Santana lovers with a few songs in it, there are some nice moments and overall a good atmosphere, makes this album need to be remembered

Ritchie Francis - 1971 - Song Bird

Ritchie Francis
Song Bird

01. Song Bird (7:05)
02. Dizzy Sycamore (4:53)
03. I'm Not Alone (4:40)
04. It Will Last (4:17)
05. My Music (1:48)
06. Don't You Ask Me Why (5:03)
07. There's A Time (8:03)
08. Yet To Come (6:07)
09. Friends (4:01)
10. You're Never Gonna Make It (4:21)
11. To Follow You (3:26)

Ritchie Francis: Piano, Vocals
Mike Kellie: Drums
Barry Morgan: Drums
Will Malone: Drums
Paul Curtis: Bass
John Rostill: Bass
Taff Williams: Guitar
Jim Sullivan: Guitar

Eyes Of Blue - 1969 - In Fields Of Ardath

Eyes Of Blue 
In Fields Of Ardath

01. Merry Go Round
02. The Light We See
03. Souvenirs (Tribute To Django)
04. Ardath
05. Spanish Blues
06. Door (The Child That Is Born On The Sabbath Day)
07. Little Bird
08. After The War
09. Extra Hour
10. Chances

Ray Bennett Bass
Melvyn Davies Guitar
Rick Francis Guitar
Ritchie Francis Bass, Piano, Vocals
Gary Pickford-Hopkins Guitar, Vocals
Wyndham Rees Vocals
Phil Ryan Keyboards, Organ, Piano
John Weathers Drums, Vocals
Raymond "Taff" Williams Guitar

Formed in Neath, Wales, Eyes of Blue initial line up consisted of guitarist Ritchie Francis, singer Gary Pickford-Hopkins, keyboardist Phil Ryan, drummer Wyndham Rees, and bassist Ray Williams.  The quintet apparently started out as a soul-oriented cover band, eventually attracting the attention of Decca’s progressive-oriented DERAM label, which signed them to a recording contract and releasing a pair of hard-to-find singles:   

- 1966’s ‘Heart Trouble’ b/w ‘Up and Down’ (DERAM catalog number DM 106) 
- 1967’s ‘Supermarket Full of Cans’ b/w ‘Don’t Ask Me’ (DERAM catalog number DRM 114).   

The band’s big break came when Mercury’s London based A&R man Lou Reizner played one of the group’s tapes for American producer Quincy Jones.  Jones was in London starting work on a score for the film “The Toy Grabbers” (renamed “Mother” when released in the States).  Deciding he needed a more contemporary sound for the movie, he subsequently recruited the band to help score the film.  The resulting publicity led Mercury to sign them, resulting in the release of 1968’s “The Crossroads of Time”.   

Following another movie project; they scored music for “Connecting Rooms” and even had a brief role in the film, they returned to the studio for the second album.     

Following a series of personnel changes that saw Rees and Williams replaced by drummer John Weathers and bassist Ray Bennett, the band released 1969’s “In Fields of Ardath”.  Produced by Reizner (Quincy Jones furnished the liner notes), the album was apparently meant as a concept piece, the title track and several of the songs built around the theme of reincarnation.  To quote the liner notes:   

“The title of the album stems from the interest of Eyes of Blue in the supernatural and the occult.  Ardath is the title of a book by Marie Corelli published in 1897.  The theme of the novel is based on the story of reincarnation.  According to the book the field of Ardath is located near the ruined city of Babylon. Corelli’s characters find evidence for this presumed location in the Book of Esdras.”     

Featuring a mixture of covers and original material, material like ‘Ardath’ and ‘Door (The Child That Is Born On the Sabbath Day)’ found the band exploring a more progressive and keyboard dominated sound.  Not particularly focused, this time around they attempted to broaden their horizons adding a host of influences including country-rock (‘Chances’), English blues (‘After the War’), pop (‘Little Bird’), and even a scratchy tribute to jazz guitarist Django Renhard (‘Souvenirs (Tribute To Django)’).  As lead vocalist Pickford-Hopkins raspy voice remained an acquired taste, though to be perfectly honest, he was frequently all but drown out by the elaborate arrangements.  While nowhere near as much fun as the debut, the collection wasn’t a complete wash out.  Perhaps not a big surprise, they were at their best when sticking with more mainstream rock oriented material – in this case ‘The Light We See’ (featuring a killer backward guitar solo), their cover of Graham Bond’s ‘Spanish Blues’, and the closing instrumental ‘Apache ‘69’ (with some nice Francis lead guitar) serving as the LP highlights.  Elsewhere the leadoff track ‘Merry Go Round’ was lifted from their earlier “Toy-Grabbers” soundtrack.  Pleasant but hardly a forgotten classic. ..   

Wyndham Rees was eased out of the Eyes Of Blue before the spring of 1969, having reputedly contributed little to the band. He was present during most of the Chappell Studios early recording sessions for the group's second album 'In Fields Of Ardath' but was gone by the time they gravitated to more modern eight-track facilities. It was released in November and is generally regarded as the more successful and 'progressive' of the two albums released under the Eyes Of Blue name. Quincy Jones supplied the sleevenotes this time, and commented; "All the ethnic qualities which I had recalled about the people of Wales were manifest in that tape. There was a native sensuality in their playing. Eyes Of Blue was musically curious." The record has also been described as having "Pop, R&B jazz, classical, psychedelic and Eastern influences." A fair sprinkling one must admit.

Eyes Of Blue - 1968 - Crossroads Of Time

Eyes Of Blue 
Crossroads Of Time

01. Crossroads of Time 5:00
02. Never Care 3:18
03. I'll Be Your Friend 3:48
04. 7 + 7 Is 2:32
05. Prodigal Son 5:27
06. Largo 3:14
07. Love Is the Law 5:16
08. Yesterday 4:22
09. I Wonder Why 3:13
10. World of Emotion 2:48
11. Inspiration for a New Day 3:09

Ritchie Francis (guitar),
Gary Pickford Hopkins (vocals),
Phil Ryan (keyboards),
Windham Rees (drums),
Ray Williams (bass),
R. Bennett (bass),
Jign Weathers (drums).

By rights, The Eyes of Blue should have an exalted place in the pantheon of art-rock and progressive rock bands. They were around before almost all of them, and doing film work and making music in a jazz-rock fusion idiom before the latter had been understood, and they were signed to two major labels in succession, Deram and Mercury. Instead, except for drummer John Weathers, who later joined Gentle Giant, The Eyes Of Blue are scarcely remembered at all. The Eyes of Blue started out as a jazz and rhythm-and-blues oriented outfit (Graham Bond wrote the notes for their first album), doing songs in that vein as well as less well suited material such as "Yesterday." The group was initially signed to Decca's progressive rock imprint Deram Records, and cut a series of excellent but neglected singles, and then moved to Mercury, where they concentrated on albums, enjoying greatest musical if not commercial success. They were taken seriously enough to collaborate with Quincy Jones on the score of the movie Toy Grabbers, and the group actually managed to appear in the movie Connecting Rooms. Their early strength lay in r&b-based material, including Bond's "Love Is The Law," "Crossroads of Time," and "7 and 7 Is," but even on their first album The Eyes of Blue showed some Eastern influences Their second album had some tracks off of the first film score as well as one Graham Bond song, but is more experimental, with extended instrumental passages and some classical music influences. In late 1968, The Eyes of Blue backed Buzzy Linhart on a self-titled album. The Eyes of Blue rated a supporting act spot at the Marquee Club in London in 1969, but the group's days were numbered, given the lack of their success as a recording outfit. Phil Ryan later played in Man, and John Weathers joined Pete Brown and Piblokto! on the Harvest label, before jumping to Gentle Giant.

The Eyes debut album 'Crossroads Of Time' was eventually released early in 1969. It included two Graham Bond R&B songs (Bond also wrote the sleevenotes) 'Love Is The Law' and 'Crossroads Of Time' which was especially written for the band. It also included an interesting version of Love's '7 + 7 Is' while The Beatles' 'Yesterday' is given a treatment suggesting something of a jazz hymn. Ritchie Francis claimed the remaining songs of which 'Inspiration For A New Day' is noteworthy and 'Prodigal Son', which features some psychedelic guitar work from Ray 'Taff' Williams. 'Largo' is an arrangement of the Handel piece by Ritchie Francis and he claimed this was indicative of the way the group were going.
Following on from their earlier collaboration with Buzzy Linhart, the Eyes also worked with Quincy Jones when they contributed to the unreleased 'Toy Grabbers' film score. Later they also appeared in the film 'Connecting Rooms' as well as playing on the soundtrack, but the film wasn't given a general release in the UK.

The Eyes of Blue's debut album is a rather typical bottom-drawer late-'60s psychedelic effort, going over much of the musical map without charting new territory or doing especially interesting songs. Chunks of British harmony pop, soul, trendy Eastern-tinged psychedelia, and early progressive classical-dipped melodies and arrangements all bump around in the mix, though they don't cohere too memorably. The Welsh group did have a more organ-based sound than many of their U.K. peers, and the band's keyboardist, Phil Ryan, has admitted that Graham Bond was a big influence on his style on this album. Bond's input wasn't limited to this; he also wrote two of the songs, "Crossroads of Time" and "Love Is the Law" (though they were credited to "D. Stewart," aka his girlfriend, Diane Stewart), both of which Bond himself would record slightly later on his 1969 album Love Is the Law. The Eyes of Blue's version of "Love Is the Law" sounds more like the early Bee Gees than Graham Bond, though it's actually one of the better songs on the record. "Crossroads of Time" is likewise one of the relative highlights, starting off with an atomic explosion and Phantom of the Opera organ, though its lyrics are pretty blatant hippie sloganeering. It's an indictment of the weakness of the group's original material (by guitarist Ritchie Francis) that the most notable other track is one of the most eccentric covers of the Beatles' "Yesterday" you'll hear, arranged to sound almost like a classical hymn.

Paul Winter / Winter Consort - 1972 - Icarus

Paul Winter / Winter Consort 

01. Icarus 3:02
02. Ode To A Fillmore Dressing Room 5:32
03. The Silence Of A Candle 3:22
04. Sunwheel 4:52
05. Juniper Bear 3:10
06. Whole Earth Chant 7:42
07. All The Mornings Bring 3:48
08. Chehalis And Other Voices 5:26
09. Minuit 3:06

Paul Winter - soprano sax, vocals
David Darling - cello, vocals
Paul McCandless - oboe, English horn, contrabass Sarrusophone, vocals
Ralph Towner - classical guitar, 12-string guitar, piano, Regal, bush organ, vocals
Herb Bushler - bass
Collin Walcott - conga, tabla, mridangam, surdos, traps, kettledrums, bass marimba, sitar

Andrew Tracey - resonator guitar, voice ('Minuit')
Billy Cobham - traps ('Sunwheel', 'Whole Earth Chant')
Milt Holland - Ghanaian percussion ('Whole Earth Chant')
Larry Atamanuik - traps ('Icarus')
Barry Altschul - random percussion ('Chehalis and Other Voices') Janet Johnson, Paul Stookey, Bob Milstein - voices ('Minuit')

This 1972 classic captures saxophonist Paul Winter and his ensemble at the height of their improvisational powers. Winter was one of the first artists to incorporate such exotic instruments as the sitar and tabla into his music and the result was memorable chamber jazz-folk played in the wonderfully experimental, post-hippie way only Winter and his merry band could. The title track, one of guitarist Ralph Towner's compositions, became famous for its pensive melody and soaring soprano sax. "Whole Earth Chant" is a piece that foreshadows New Age artists like Loreena McKennitt with its echoing tribal drums interwoven with ominous distorted guitar. And "Minuit" downright borders on what today some would call world music--it features a choir of voices singing a simple, sauntering melody taken from a Guinean folk song. Classic early '70s Winter.

This superb album was not widely known in the seventies in my part of the world, yet these brilliant musicians captivated me with this wonderful music played almost entirely with acoustic instruments, & I have never tired of this album. To this day I do not know anything of their backgrounds, or their previous & later works. My appreciation of this record has remained pure & simple. This work is dated 1972, a year of shining musical inspirations.
When we think of acoustic, we tend to picture acoustic guitars, but just look at the line-up of instruments. Soprano saxophone,cello,oboe,English horn,contrabass Sarrusophone,classical guitar,12-string guitar,Regal,bush organ,Fender bass,conga,tabla,mridangam,surdos,traps,kettledrums,bass marimba,sitar,resonator guitar,& Ghanaian percussion.
The first track titled "Icarus" immediately carries the listener aloft on the air currents & has him/her sailing amongst clouds. One doesn't really come down again until the final track of this album. Next a track with a peculiar title "Ode to a Fillmore Dressing Room" has the unusual combination of sitar,classical guitar,& jazz bass playing in harmony, with tabla drums also,a remarkable performance. Then a simple but deep song with piano accompaniment,"The Silence of a Candle" reflects one man's journey within himself, followed by more soaring sensation from tracks with titles such as "Sunwheel","Whole Earth Chant",& "All the Mornings Bring".
I find the use of soprano sax,oboe,& cello as lead instruments rather refreshing in a music market dominated by electric rock.
The album ends with a truly beautiful West African folk song "Minuit", which just might remain in your head,& in your heart, for evermore. For me this music always seems like a celebration of the Earth, of Nature, & of Humanity. What more can one say? If you seek just one album of acoustic instrumental music for your collection,"Icarus" may very well fulfill that need wonderfully.

The Winter Consort - 1970 - Road

The Winter Consort 

01. Icarus 4:30
02. Fantasy, Fugue & Ghost Beads 7:05
1 Fantasy
2 Fugue
3 Ghost Beads
03. Um Abrace (A Big Hug) 4:20
04. Ave Maria Stella - Andromeda 8:14
1 Ave Maria Stella
2 Andromeda
05. General Pudson's Entrance 5:50
06. Come To Your Senses 6:41
07. Requiem 7:30
08. Africanus Brasileiras Americanus 8:10
1 Kalagala Ebwembe
2 Asa Branca (White Wing)

Paul Winter - Sax
David Darling - Cello
Ralph Towner - Classical and 12-String Guitar
Paul McCandless - Oboe, English Horn
Collin Walcott - Tabla, Conga, Surdos, Traps, Tambourine
Glen Moore - Bass

Recorded in concerts at Royce Hall, U.C.L.A.; Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY; Whiskey a Go Go, Hollywood.

Paul Winter, a pioneer in playing world music and what would become new age, is a bit underrated as a talent scout. This version of his Winter Consort consists of cellist David Darling (a future ECM star) and four musicians who would soon break away to form Oregon: guitarist Ralph Towner, Paul McCandless (heard here on oboe and English horn), bassist Glen Moore, and Colin Walcott on tabla and percussion. With what was arguably his finest group on this CD reissue, Paul Winter takes some fine spots on alto and soprano and leads the colorful folk-oriented ensembles. It is a pity he could not have kept this band together longer.

Paul Winter And The Consort - 1969 - Something In The Wind

Paul Winter And The Consort 
Something In The Wind

01. Love Theme From Romeo And Juliet 3:21
02. Cantata 127 4:27
03. Mr. Bojangles 3:54
04. The Indians 1:32
05. Poorvi (Free Improvisation On Poorvi Raga) 4:40
06. Jenny 2:37
07. Everybody's Talkin' 2:36
08. Theodora Is Dozing 2:57
09. Le Tombeau De Couperin 2:40
10. My Hourse Knows The Way 3:33
11. Ayre On A G-String 2:28
12. Point, Counterpoint 4:30
13. Famous Pirate 2:52

Paul Winter: Sax
Paul McCandless: English Horn
Richard Bock: Cello
Virgil Scott: Alto Flute
Steve Booker: Drums
John Beal: Bass

Gene Bertoncini: Classical Guitar
Karl Herreshoff: Baroque Lute
Paul Prestopino: Steel-Strings Guitar
John Stauber: Classical Guitar
Sam Brown: Classical & 12 Strings Guitar
Chuck Green: Tap Dancer
Hal McKinney: Voice

Something In the Wind is the second of Paul Winter Consort's albums on A&M (SP 4207)--the first was The Winter Consort (SP 4170)-- both before the David Darling and Ralph Towner days. 1969. Thankfully, I have all the A&M lps. The first two never made it to cd, and apparently there are few lp copies. As an Old Guy I get to see all the musics I loved and enjoyed drifting off into the mists even though technology exists to retain them. There are two Bach pieces: Cantata 127 and Ayre On a G-String. Also, Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin and Charles Ives' The Indians. And, period piece that it is, Fred Neil's Everybody's Talkin' and Love Theme From Romeo and Juliet by Nina Rota. The personnel on this record included Paul McCandless who played with the Consort for years and went on to Oregon with Towner et al. One of my favorite songs here is My Horse Knows the Way by Sam Brown. There are a couple of more challenging listens: Point, Counterpoint and Poorvi. The album was produced by Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul & Mary) and Paul Winter. The Paul Winter Consort is heading into its sixth decade--it is interesting to see where they started. I'll admit that in today's Go Big mentality this record is somewhat quaint and quiet--that's why I still like it.

Being their 2nd album, it doesn't seem to totally fit the arc the group later took. Their first album was called The Winter Consort, and it already had the signature Paul Winter/PWC 'sound'. This one, while mostly serene and beautiful, doesn't. It is more like an easy-listening cover of the popular songs of the time, with some splendid classical pieces and a couple more experimental/world-type explorations thrown in (but they seem tentative to me, whereas the first album was bolder). Still beautiful, still totally worth having in your collection - But, not the music you might anticipate if you're an 'early' Paul Winter /Consort fan. It's almost as if they got a little unsure of themselves before boldly heading down their eventual paths.

I popped my (new used) Paul Winter Consort record on the stereo again after playing this a couple times, and there is a definite difference in the energy and focus. It's almost like this isn't quite making the statement. Maybe it's a matter of being such a fan - A fresh set of ears with no expectations might really love this smooth, more subdued sound - love it with no reservations.

With all that said, is it worth it? Absolutely! Something in the Wind is definitely worth having in your sound library, and I am pleased as punch to now have a perfect, excellent-quality used one to listen to again at last - because, neither this or the excellent PW/PWC, has been issued on CD

The Winter Consort - 1968 - The Winter Consort

The Winter Consort
The Winter Consort

01. Allemande 3:20
02. Ballad In 7/8 (Hungarian Peasant Song) 8:00
03. Canta Canta Mais (Dedicated To Brazilian Singer Lenita Bruno) 4:26
04. The Little Train Of The Caipira (Bachianas Brasileiras #2) 2:32
05. Koto Piece (Free Improvisation On A Koto Scale) 4:15
06. Both Sides Now 3:05
07. Choral Dorien 2:32
08. Herresy 4:08
09. Spring 3:03
10. Marilia 5:30
11. Forlorn Hope 2:52
12. Trotto (Anon. 13th Century Italian Dance) 1:44

Bass – John Beal
Cello – Richard Bock
English Horn – Gene Murrow
Flute – Virgil Scott
Goblet Drum [Darbuke], Marimba – Ruth Ben-Zvi
Guitar – Gene Bertoncini
Lute, Guitar – Karl Herreshoff
Percussion – Jim Kappes, Jose Cigno, Leon Rix
Saxophone – Paul Winter
Tambourine – Howard Vogel

Winter first came to public prominence in 1961 as the winner of a collegiate jazz festival held at Notre Dame University; one of that event's judges, John Hammond, subsequently signed the group to a Columbia recording contract. In 1962, the band was sent on a State Department tour of Latin America. That venture planted the first seeds of change in Winter's concept. In 1967, he abandoned traditional jazz format in favor of a lineup that featured non-Western instruments. The Paul Winter Consort, as the band was renamed, became one of the earliest exponents of world music, combining elements from various African, Asian, and South American cultures with jazz. Members of the Consort interested in extending the music's experimental component -- guitarist Ralph Towner, oboist Paul McCandless, sitarist and percussionist Collin Walcott -- broke away from Winter's leadership in the early '70s to form the group Oregon. Meanwhile, Winter became increasingly involved with environmental issues. He participated in activities with the Greenpeace organization, and worked towards a successful integration of music and nature. Winter recorded his attempts at communication with whales off the coast of California, and used the tapes as the foundation of his 1977 album, Common Ground. Since 1980, Winter has headed a non-profit group dedicated to increasing public awareness of music's relationship to spiritual and environmental health. He continues to perform in support of his organization, frequently in settings conducive to the production of (and interaction with) ambient sound, such as the Grand Canyon, or New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine; in 1998, he also teamed with Oscar Castro-Neves to record Brazilian Days. Celtic Solstice followed a year later; Journey with the Sun appeared in early 2001.

Winter Consort emerged from Paul’s jazz sextet, which came out of Chicago during Paul’s years at Northwestern University. After winning the 1961 Intercollegiate Jazz Festival, the Sextet was signed to Columbia Records by legendary producer John Hammond. In 1962 the Sextet recorded its first three albums, and, on recommendation from Festival judges Dizzy Gillespie and Hammond, was sent by the State Department on a six-month tour of 23 countries of Latin America.?The success of this tour led to an invitation from First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to play at the White House. The Sextet’s performance in the East Room on November 19, 1962, happened to be the first-ever jazz concert in the White House. The group continued to tour and record throughout 1963, and made their final album during the week of President Kennedy’s assassination. Then, numbed by that tragedy, and discouraged by what they felt was the end of that optimistic era, the Sextet disbanded and the players went on to other pursuits – the drummer eventually to Count Basie’s band, the bassist to Ahmad Jamal’s trio, the trumpet player to medical school, the baritone saxist to teach at Michigan State, and Paul to Brazil, to resume his exploration of the world’s music.

Touring with his jazz sextet, close contact with the musical community of Brazil, and a growing interest in the natural world and voices of the earth awakened in Paul the desire to move into a broader realm of music and explore a richer texture of sound. To this end, he formed the Paul Winter Consort. The group incorporated a very different instrumentation from the Sextet, but continued in the same lineage: a spirit of celebration, in the democracy of ensemble, aspiring toward a balance between the improvised and the composed.”

Paul  borrowed the name “consort” from the ensembles of Shakespeare’s time, the housebands of the Elizabethan Theater, which adventurously blended woodwinds, strings and percussion, the same families of instruments he wanted to combine in his contemporary consort.

The group became one of the earliest exponents of world music, combining elements from various African, Asian, and South American cultures with jazz.

The early Consort recorded four albums for A & M with producers Paul Stookey and Phil Ramon, and one for Epic produced by George Martin, Icarus, which was recorded in the summer of 1971 in the unhurried, unpressured atmosphere of a rented house near the sea. Martin said Icarus was “the finest record I ever mande.” That landmark experience underscored the importance of establishing a place where Paul could nourish his music and his community.

Paul Winter Consort became a forum for the whole range of musical genres Winter had come to love – from Bach to African music –including as well notable voices from the symphony of nature (as the whale, wolf, and eagle). Winter took the name from Elizabethan times and the house bands of Shakespearean Theatre, which adventurously blended woodwinds, strings and percussion—the same families of instruments he wanted to combine in his ‘contemporary’ consort—and allowed the players to embellish on the written parts. With this group, Winter became one of the earliest exponent’s of world music.
The Consort recorded twelve albums for major labels during the 1960s and 1970s. Four albums for A & M were produced by Paul Stookey and Phil Ramone, and one for Epic, named Icarus that bridged small-combo jazz and world music. This was produced by Beatles mentor George Martin, who claimed in his autobiography it was ”the finest record I ever made.” Astronauts of Apollo 15 took the Consort’s album Road to the moon with them and named two craters after the songs “Ghost Beads” and “Icarus.”
In 1972, with cellist David Darling, Winter organized a new ensemble, while original band members Ralph Towner, Paul McCandless, Collin Walcott and Glen Moore launched their experimental jazz band Oregon.

The first album starts off with a bang, with its mix of chamber music, classical composition (like Oregon as usual) mixed with acoustic ethnic elements, guitars, strings, and saxes.  Some stunning compositions appear early on, like the Choral Dorien (not clear who composer is).  Unfortunately the second release, Something in the Wind, from 1969, is marred by quite a few 'karaoke' cover versions of pop songs (e.g. the horrific Mr. Bojangles-- someone please stop his jangling) but here and there appear the shiniest pearls, like a Charles Ives composition called The Indians.  I don't think I could offhand name another rock/fusion/jazz record that has Ch. Ives on it, and usually that's a good thing.  But here, his appearance is a sublime thing, with the chamber instrumentation which I think includes a graceful flute plus varied reeds absolutely raining beautiful music from heaven on down.

The first Winter Consort blends jazz with Renaissance era music, modern avant garde classical and world music in a manner that would have been quite progressive for 1968. I invite those who have dismissed Paul Winter as just another new age musician to take a listen to this LP back when he was very much a jazz saxophonist. Most of this LP is rich and compelling with the exception "Both Sides Now" which, despite the attractive arrangement, smacks of pandering to the current pop-jazz trends of the late 60's.

Paul Winter - 1986 - Wintersong (Tomorrow Is My Dancing Day)

Paul Winter 
Wintersong (Tomorrow Is My Dancing Day)

01. Tomorrow Is My Dancing Day 3:35
02. Swedish Song 3:06
03. The Cherry Tree 3:29
04. Little One 3:10
05. Peasant Revels 4:10
06. Dance Of The Golden Bough 5:45
07. Beautiful Star 4:26
08. Wintersong 3:41
09. Joy 4:07

Recorded July, 1986, in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City. Additional recording with Effanel Music remote truck. Mastered at Masterdisk, New York City.

Dan Carillo: Guitar, Guitar (Steel), Strings
Oscar Castro-Neves: Guest Artist, Guitar, Guitar (Classical), Slide Guitar
Neil Clark: Bells, Drums, Percussion, Talking Drum
Guilherme Franco: Drums, Drums (Snare), Flute
Eugene Friesen: Cello, Producer
Paul Halley: Harpsichord, Organ, Piano, Pipe Organ
Ross Landau: Bass, Engineer
Rhonda Larson: Flute
Ted Moore: Bells, Hand Percussion, Orchestra Bells, Percussion, Surdo
Nancy Rumbel: Horn (English), Oboe
Marcio Sapel: Cuica, Whistle (Human), Whistle (Instrument)
Paul Winter: Sax (Soprano)

Since I first listened to this album years ago I knew it would rank up there with "Icarus" as one of my favourite Paul Winter albums of all time (also one of my favourite of anybody's music). Recorded in one of his favourite places to play, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC, and joined by his long-time friends and collaborators Paul Halley and Eugene Friesen (and others) the songs have that lightness-of-being and beauty that any fan of Paul Winter's has come to expect and will always appreciate. I have to confess that I don't just listen to it in the winter-time; winter just gives me an excuse to play it more often! If you enjoy consummate artistry, music that is uplifting without making you giddy, and want to listen to music that you can never be ashamed of and will want to share with others then get this. This CD goes with me whenever I travel. This year I am purchasing a few to give away as gifts.

Dedicated to the spirit of giving and forgiving, this fine musical work from 1986 includes traditional songs from Sweden, Italy, England, France, Germany, the Appalachians as well as Bach's "Joy," plus "Beautiful Star" by Odetta. Instrumental in its entirety, Wintersong is music for dancing, loving, and being alive, full of joy and lyricism.

Paul Winter - 1983 - Sun Singer

Paul Winter
Sun Singer

01. Sun Singer Theme 0:44
02. Hymn To The Sun 4:19
03. Dolphin Morning 4:22
04. Reflections In A Summer Pond 2:23
05. Dancing Particles 5:21
06. Winter's Dream 5:23
07. Heaven Within 4:03
08. Big Ben's Bolero 5:11
09. Sun Singer 3:56

Recorded At – Cathedral Of St. John The Divine

"The Bendir drum used in these recordings produces a characteristic buzzing sound. Please know it is not distortion in the disc or in your speakers."

Bendir, Drums [Pandereta] – Glen Velez
Piano, Organ [Pipe Organ By Aeolian-skinner], Harpsichord [Eric Herz] – Paul Halley
Saxophone [Selmer Soprano Sax], Producer – Paul Winter

We often dismiss music that is calming or peaceful as "Adult Contemporary Music", "Easy Listening" or "New Age." I think that this is a misnomer and a cruel and thoughtless compartmentilization of an eloquent artist such as Paul Winters. There is nothing simple about this music nor is it something to be pushed aside as " Music For old people." Sun Singer is collection of music that embodies beauty,eloquence and a sense of stirring silence. I don't think age affects our ability to "hear" music of this nature nor do I believe it's a coming of age that gives us an appreciation for this kind of music. My music collection from the age of 8 went from Ahmad Jamal, The Beatles, Bill Evans, Led Zepplin to the New York Philharmonic recordings of Beethoven's 6th. I think this album will touch anyone who knows what their soul needs, is unafraid to stand alone and not bend to the whims to what is hip or vogue in our society. I just hope there's enough copies to go around.

Paul Winter - 1980 - Callings

Paul Winter

01. Lullaby From the Great Mother Whale For the Baby Seal Pups
02. Magdalena
03. Love Swim
04. Blue's Cathedral
05. Sea Wolf
06. Sea Joy
07. Dance of the Silkies
08. Seal Eyes

Cello – Eugene Friesen
Classical Guitar, Twelve-String Guitar – Jim Scott
Mastered By – Clete Baker
Oboe, English Horn, Sarrusophone, Ocarina [Double Ocarina] – Nancy Rumbel
Organ [Pipe Organ], Harpsichord, Piano – Paul Halley
Soprano Saxophone, Sarrusophone [E-flat Contrabass Sarrusophone], Conch – Paul Winter
Timpani, Surdo, Berimbau, Caxixi, Percussion, Ganzá, Gong, Cymbal, Triangle – Ted Moore

Recorded in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, N.Y.C. 3-M digital mastering system provided by Sound Ideas Studio. Remastered at Sound Recorders, Omaha, NE.

Inspired by the imaginary journey of a mythic sea lion pup, CALLINGS is the  result of three years of research and expeditions by Paul Winter to observe, listen to, and occasionally play his saxophone with sea mammals. His research expeditions for the project took him Newfoundland, British Columbia, Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, the California coastal islands, San Salvador in the Bahamas, and twice again to Magdalena Island in Baja California.

This musical celebration of the sea interweaves the voices of: California sea lion, harp seal, bearded seal, fur seal, sea otter, dolphin, blue whale, humpback whale, beluga, bowhead whale, walrus, polar bear.

The album helped initiate a successful campaign to have Congress designate March 1st each year as “International Day of the Seal.”

In 1979, in Baja California, Paul led a music-making and whale-watching expedition, with the camp set up in the dunes along Magdalena Bay. On the last night in camp,a sea lion pup appeared in the water just offshore, alone and unafraid of the people who gathered around. She came onto the beach, and Paul and the group sat near her quietly, then played a little music, hoping she would feel at ease. She seemed contented and soon put her head down and fell asleep. Paul stretched out in his sleeping bag beside her, and went to sleep with his nose just inches from hers, smelling her fishy dog-breath, and listening with fascination to her tiny “whale-blow” exhalations.

This extraordinary encounter affected Paul deeply, and inspired him to explore the realm of pinnipeds and the role of sound in their lives, in the same way he had immersed himself in learning about whales and wolves.   “I had felt a terrible helplessness, not knowing what to do, when in 1965 I first saw on TV the slaughter of seal pups for their fur,” Paul recalls. “I felt the same frustration three years later when I learned about the whales  – majestic animals that were being killed for dog food and lipstick. But by then I was finally moving towards using music. I came to realize that celebrating the beauty of the living creatures was a more effective strategy to move people than depicting the horror. The best way to raise awareness about the magic of the vocalizations was to find a vocalization we could interplay with, so the actual voices of the creatures were woven in with the music – in a sense we were collaborating with these creatures.”

Paul Winter, in a commentary that can be found at his Living Music website, recalled his first visit to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, in 1974, some six years before this landmark recording was made. It was for the funeral of Duke Ellington, and he writes:

"As we were leaving, recordings of Ellington came through the sound system, and I can still hear the velvet, liquid tone of Johnny Hodges' sax soaring way up in the vault of the Cathedral. I had then no clue that several years later I myself would have the opportunity to play in the Cathedral..."

This album, "Callings," his first recording on his own Living Music label, might be said to have been "informed" by that Johnny Hodges experience, a guess on my part, but not an unreasonable one. What the album did do was to set out a new course for his Consort, and introduced a fresh-sounding instrumental duo, with Winter on soprano sax and Paul Halley on the Cathedral organ

Ever the one to experiment with instrumental combinations and timbres, Winter has often found a way to pair his soprano sax off with other reeds and woodwinds, frequently with them playing in his own register. The unquestioned acme of the album is Blues' Cathedral, imaginatively scored for soprano sax, English horn, organ and a pair of contrabass sarrusophones(!!!). Words are incapable of doing justice to musical spell-weaving of such blinding originality, unearthly beauty and bluesy expression. The expression "cathedral blues" seems to fit the style so well that it is almost as if the Blues' Cathedral track ordains it to be so.

Another highlight is Sea Joy, scored equally imaginatively for soprano sax, oboe, cello, guitar, steel drums and percussion. Fortunately for the audiophiles among us, Callings was Winter's first digitally-recorded and mastered album. It needed to be, to faithfully capture the steel-drums/timpani duo that makes up the sonic joy in Sea Joy. Audiophiles rejoice: this is truly an aerobic workout for your sound systems!

But "Callings" is not just about a track or two. It tells, in music, a story of another initial journey, a first story of nature that would find later expression in his "Canyon," "Whales Alive," "Earth: Voices of a Planet" and "Prayer for the Wild Things" albums, comprising a set that could be said to be Winter's central canon. And it is just a short trip from Blues' Cathedral the composition to cathedral blues the style. The new sound of cathedral blues in "Callings" would find repeated later expression, as early as in "Missa Gaia" and "Sun Singer," following on the heels of "Callings," and as recently as in two of his latest albums, "Celtic Solstice" and "Journey with the Sun."

In summary, an absolutely essential album for the Paul Winter fan, regardless of whether the interest is musical or historic. But, then, if you are a Paul Winter fan, "Callings" will already be in your collection. So these words are really directed at the musical explorers among you browsing this review. Perhaps these words will help to lead you to "Callings" and to other Paul Winter albums, beginning with the few classics noted above.

Get the album. Then turn off the lights, and anything that adds to the background noise level, close your eyes, and let it wash over you. It will work its magic; I just know that it will.

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.

Paul Winter & Carlos Lyra - 1965 - The Sound of Ipanema

Paul Winter & Carlos Lyra 
The Sound of Ipanema

01. Voce E Eu (You And I) 2:48
02. Se E Tarde Me Perdoa [Forgive Me If I'm Late] 2:58
03. Maria Ninguem (Maria Nobody) 3:01
04. De Quem Ama [For Whom Love] 3:03
05. Quem Quiser Encontrar O Amor [Whoever Wants To Find Love] 2:59
06. Aruanda 2:50
07. Coisa Mais Linda (The Most Beautiful Thing) 3:08
08. O Morro (The Hill) 2:30
09. Mas Tambem Quem Mandou [What Made Me Do It] 3:40
10. Tem Do De Mim [Don't Make Me Love] 2:57
11. Lobo Bobo [The Big Bad Wolf] 3:54

Bass – Sebastiao Neto
Drums – Milton Banana
Guitar, Vocals – Carlos Lyra
Piano – Sergio Mendes
Saxophone – Paul Winter

This is an excellent set, an early (1964) foray by an American into the world of Brazilian jazz, with all Brazilian musicians backing Winter. There are many great Brazilian songwriters, but Carlos Lyra has to be among the very best. His compositions truly sing, and Winter, Mendes, Neto, Banana and Lyra himself show here just how much. The lyricism is unparalleled--sensuous, lilting melodies...

A nice pairing of a mellow West Coast jazz player and one of bossa nova's founders. Winter's saxophone accompaniment here is understated, though a bit staid. What makes this record so sweet is Lyra's gorgeous guitar and intimate vocals, as well as all the great songs he wrote. Sergio Mendes and Milton Banana sit in on piano and drums, respectively, and though Winter is slightly less swinging than the "authentic" bossa musicians, this is quite a nice little record... one of my favorite old-school bossa nova gems...

The Paul Winter Sextet - 1962 - Jazz Meets The Bossa Nova

The Paul Winter Sextet
Jazz Meets The Bossa Nova

01. Journey To Recife 2:37
02. Con Alma 4:05
03. The Spell Of The Samba (Samba Da Minha Terra) 2:44
04. Maria Nobody (Maria Ninguem) 3:00
05. The Anguish Of Longing (Chega De Saudade) 2:59
06. Foolish One (Insensatez) 2:37
07. Little Boat (O Barquinho) 3:02
08. Longing For Bahia (Saudade Da Bahia) 4:25
09. Don't Play Games With Me (Bolinha De Papel) 1:55
10. Song Of The Sad Eyes (Cancao Dos Olhos Tristes) 4:57
11. Adeus, Passaro Preto (Bye Bye Blackbird) 1:57
12. Only You And I (Voce E Eu) 2:49

Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Paul Winter
Bass – Richard Evans
Bass Saxophone – Les Rout
Drums – Harold Jones
Piano – Warren Bernhardt
Trumpet – Dick Whitsell

Subtitled: The Exciting New South American Rhythm
Recorded in Rio de Janiero and New

Formed while Paul Winter was a student at Northwestern University in Chicago, the Paul Winter Sextet won the Intercollegiate Jazz Festival held at Georgetown Universty, judged by Dizzy Gillespie and John Hammond, in May 1961. Hammond signed the group to Columbia Records. The Sextet recorded a total of five albums between 1961 and 1964 and were among the first to blend Brazilian bossa nova and folk music with their jazz. In 1962 they toured Latin America as cultural ambassadors for the United States State Department, playing 160 concerts in 23 countries. The Sextet was also the first jazz band to perform at the White House.

Tenor saxophonist Stan Getz was exploring the bossa nova in some of his most successful releases when the Paul Winter Sextet recorded the bossa nova date in this compilation. Getz was a seasoned veteran with an identifiable, fully developed sound. Winter's group was an assemblage of leading college musicians from the Chicago area. On this 1962 date, the difference in experience shows in the sextet's tidy, proficient, often faceless performances. While the early Winter sextet was searching for a personality, the band did have distinctive voices in the warm, fluid piano of Warren Bernhardt and the appealing gruffness of Les Rout's baritone sax. Saxophonist Winter and the rest of the sextet, though, generally contribute a characterless approximation of the bossa nova's pulsating, gentle sensuality. It's a different story on the folk song portion of this compilation. Recorded about 15 months later, the group has now loosened up. New members Cecil McBee on bass and Freddie Waits on drums bring some welcome muscle. Bernhardt is noticeably inspired by the new kick in the rhythm section. Winter also comes through with creative arrangements and good work on soprano sax. Flute virtuoso Jeremy Steig makes very effective appearances on three tracks. The folk song theme works well in evoking the Americana of composer Aaron Copeland and the troubadour spirit of Pete Seeger. The best moments hint at the folk fusion elements heard in Winter Consort, the Keith Jarrett trio of the late '60s, and in guitarist Pat Metheny's early work.

Tranzam - 1976 - Nihonterebi 'Oretachi No Tabi II' Orijinaru Saundotorakku

日本テレビ 「俺たちの旅 II」 オリジナル・サウンドトラック (OST)

01. 俺たちの旅 2:34
02. 男達のテーマ 2:26
03. また会える時まで2 1:49
04. ピエロのように 1:39
05. ひとり歩いていると 2:27
06. 別離 1:58
07. 若者たちは今…… 2:20
08. また会える時まで 3:30
09. 幸福な世界 2:51
10. 君と二人で 1:11
11. 若者たちは今……2 0:34
12. 男達のテーマ2 1:13
13. 別離2 2:26
14. 俺たちの旅2 2:26

Yasuo Tomikura: Bass
Yasuo Tomikura: Drums
Nobuhiko Shinohara: Keyboards
Sancho Nahana: Percussion
Hideki Ishima: Guitar

translittered titles:

Nihonterebi 'Oretachi No Tabi II' Orijinaru Saundotorakku
A1 Oretachi No Tabi
A2 Otokotachi No Tēma
A3 Mata Aeru Toki Made 2
A4 Piero No Yō Ni
A5 Hitori Aruite Iruto
A6 Wakare
A7 Wakamonotachi Wa Ima……
B1 Mata Aeru Toki Made
B2 Kōfukuna Sekai
B3 Kun To Futari De
B4 Wakamonotachi Wa Ima…… 2
B5 Otokotachi No Tēma 2
B6 Betsuri 2
B7 Oretachi No Tabi 2

So this is an OST and purely instrumental and illustrates, I suppose, my friend's words on the subject of the deterioration of this band from the huge funky heights of their first followed by the brilliant rock of the  self titled album-- even though only 2 years had's really simple seventies fusion in general, not as bad as some of the worst libraries I've posted here though. 

Tranzam - 1975 - Aug 9

Aug 9

01. Nina Nina 4:50
02. East To West 3:46
03. If 4:02
04. C'est La Vie 2:03
05. Footsteps Of Spring 5:22
06. August 9th 8:50
07. Rose-colored Days 4:17
08. Morning 4:40
09. Happy Train 4:18

Bass – Yasuo Tomikura
Drums, Percussion – Chito Kawachi
Guitar – Hideki Ishima
Keyboards – Mikio Masuda, Nobuhiko Shinohara
Percussion – Fujio Saito, Sancho Nahana
Vocals – Tetsuo Nishihama