Tonawanda News


December 3, 2009

MUSIC: Solo pianist George Winston visits Buffalo


Winston works in three different styles of piano playing — the aforementioned New Orleans style, the jazzy stride piano style and the melodic style he calls “folk piano.”

Winston will touch upon all three of these styles during his performance, as his concerts show “just where I’m coming from musically right now.”

So though audiences can expect a mix of piano styles and songs, no one should expect anyone else to be on stage with Winston.

“Never,” Winston said of playing with accompaniment. He realized long ago that he was a solo performer. “Once in a great while, I might back up someone on a record. It’s not something I really enjoy.”

Even when performing guitar or harmonica concerts, which happen less frequently than his piano concerts, Winston works alone.

“It seems to fit,” he said. “Whatever I play, I play by myself.”

Winston’s next album should hit stores around Valentine’s Day, he said. In 1996, he tackled the music of one of his favorite composers on the album “Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi.” He’ll revisit Guaraldi’s music on the upcoming “Love Will Come: The Music of Vince Guaraldi.”

“(It’s the) second and final volume I’m going to do of his pieces,” Winston said. “I love his compositions ... he had a particular language in his compositions.”

For Winston, part of the appeal in playing Guaraldi’s work involves the differences between the playing styles of the two men. Winston gets to bring R&B; flair to Guaraldi’s jazz style.

“I’ve tried to play every one of (Guaraldi’s) pieces over the years,” Winston said. The other composers to attract Winston so thoroughly are the great New Orleans pianist Professor Longhair and the Doors.

Guaraldi is known by many as the “Peanuts” composer, and Winston may play a few of those tunes at Friday’s show. After all, Winston has always placed an emphasis on seasons — his albums include “Autumn,” “December,” “Winter into Spring” and “Summer.”

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