Title - 'Light of the Sun'
Artist - Paul Winter
For those not in the know, seven-time Grammy® Award winner Paul Winter's new album, Light of the Sun, will be released on November 13th, 2020 via the Living Music label.
Showcasing his signature sax voice for the first time, Winter has produced the most personal musical offering of his 60-year recording career.
Indeed, Light of the Sun is a milestone in Paul Winter’s long musical journey; the first album he has made in which he is the featured soloist throughout.
“Since I organized my first little band in Altoona at age 12, I have always worn two musical hats: as player and bandleader,” Winter says. “But my love for playing sax has most often been overshadowed by my fascination with bands and ensembles of all kinds.”
With his early jazz sextet and with the Paul Winter Consort, which has been his forum since 1968, Winter has usually been content to play as a member of the ensemble.
The premise of his bands has always been that of a musical democracy: everybody is featured, but the overall ensemble sound is primary. However, he has long harbored the dream of creating an entire album featuring his beloved soprano sax.
“This year, having recently turned 80, I figured it was as good a time as any to do it,” Winter says.
The 15 pieces of the album include a series of new compositions, along with unique reinterpretations of iconic chestnuts from Winter’s odyssey.
Included is a trilogy of pieces featuring voices from what he calls “the greater symphony of the Earth,” saluting our three realms of ocean (Dolphin), air (Wood Thrush), and land (Wolf).
1. 'Sun Singer'
2. 'My Father's Smile'
3. 'Dolphin Morning'
5. 'Primavera (Spring)'
6. 'The Well-Tempered Wood Thrush'
7. 'Quiet Now'
9. 'Wolf Eyes'
10. 'Canto Triste (Sad Song)'
11. 'Sweet Home'
12. 'Canyon Chaconne'
14. 'Winter's Dream'
15. 'Inner Peace'
This quite magnificently majestic album, structured as a journey with the Sun through the morning, afternoon, evening, and night of a day, and also through the seasons of the year, opens on the wistful ambiance of both 'Sun Singer' and the piano elegance of 'My Father's Smile,' before we are served up some signature Winter sax work on 'Dolphin Morning,' which is backed by the dulcet 'Hymn' and the Latin guitar-imbued 'Primavera (Spring).'
Next up is the atmospheric 'The Well-Tempered Wood Thrush' which is followed by the stirring 'Quiet Now,' the subtle flow of 'Turning' (which, to my ear, also has a whispered undercurrent of Manilow's 'Could It Be Magic' tracking it!), another highly atmospheric, wolf-calling track in the form of the aptly-entitled 'Wolf Eyes,' and then the oh-so politely gentle, Latin hipsway of 'Canto Triste (Sad Song).'
Next is the lushly orchestrated piano work of 'Sweet Home' which is backed by another atmospheric piece, the earthy 'Canyon Chaconne,' with the album rounding out on the delightful 'Wintersong,' the Church-like tranquility of 'Winter's Dream,' closing on the stoic, yet mesmerizing gossameriness of 'Inner Peace.'
Masterful keyboardists accompany Winter’s saxophone, including Paul Halley on piano and the pipe organ of New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and pianists Jeff Holmes, Denny Zeitlin, and Don Grusin.
Brazilian guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves plays on three tracks, and cellist Eugene Friesen on two.
"Light of the Sun is my testament as a sax player,” adds Winter. “And in saying this, I don’t mean to imply it is my last. Actually, I’m intending it to be my first. When you arrive at 80, you need to be ready for something new.”
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