George Winston

Born in 1949, George Winston was raised primarily in Montana. The pronounced seasonal changes he experienced there became the primary inspiration for the music he would later play. George began listening to the radio in the late 1950s during the heyday of pop instrumental music hits. He would listen to the radio faithfully for the 30 seconds before the hourly news when they would play instrumentals. Inspired by R&B, jazz, blues, and rock, George began playing organ and electric piano after high school in the banner musical year 1967. In 1971, he switched to acoustic piano.

His melodic impressionistic style comprises much of his recorded output, choosing to record albums with specific themes and it is this genre, a cross between the range of traditional American folk music and the instrumental pop/R&B that he grew up with, that he calls rural folk piano. George also plays in two other styles that he has studied for many years, the earlier-mentioned stride and rhythm and blues piano.

George’s favorite instrument to listen to when growing up was the organ, and before he had learned to play, he was always looking for records that featured it. In 1967, when he heard the first Doors’ album, it was the major impetus for him to start playing. „When I heard the first song on side one, Break on Through (to the Other Side), to me it was the greatest piece of music I’d ever heard (unfortunately, it didn’t work out for me as a solo piano piece). It is a perfect song – the arrangement, dynamics, lyrics, the great jazz-influenced drumming and percussion by John Densmore, the beautiful guitar lines by Robby Krieger, the incredibly powerful and unique organ instrumental break by Ray Manzarek, with his simultaneously hypnotic bass lines, and those vocals by Jim Morrison. It was deeper to me than anything I’d ever heard. It was also the first time I had ever really paid attention to the lyrics of a song, and the first time I had been that affected by a whole album, musically and otherwise.“

Winston has listened to the Doors for over thirty years and they continued to inspire him to this day. „The Doors were also my main inspiration to record conceptual albums, especially Autumn.“ This latest album evolved out of the eleven Doors songs that he had arranged as part of the repertoire for the solo R&B piano dances that he is doing more and more of. Most of the music George is now working on is in the R&B style, inspired by the great New Orleans pianists Henry Butler, the late James Booker, the late Professor Longhair, and Dr. John, arranging soul, rock, slow dance songs, and standards into solo piano pieces. „The first volume of dance songs was to be the next album, but the Doors album moved ahead of it.“