Album Review | Living Music | Review by Allan Wilkinson
When I first saw the cover of Paul Winter’s new album, I immediately thought of the kind of CD you might find on the counter of a New Age shop on the high street of either Glastonbury or Totnes, right there next to a fine display of crystals, incense sticks and tie-dyed gowns. Instinct told me that this wasn’t going to be the kind of soprano sax solos John Coltrane would demonstrate on interpretations of Julie Andrews’ songs, where the number of notes couldn’t possibly be counted, even if you slowed it down by half. I imagined, and quite rightly so, that this album was going to be soothing and it certainly is.
Paul Winter is no spring chicken, having been around for a good while. Now in his eighties, the musician has recorded forty albums and has spent much of his career developing what is referred to as Earth Music, where music and nature enjoy a symbiotic relationship. Having worked with a variety of outfits over a sixty-year career, such as the Paul Winter Consort and the Paul Winter Sextet, serving as mainly as the bandleader, this is the first time that Paul is featured as the soloist, his instrument being the main focus throughout. Occasionally, Paul is joined by the sounds of nature itself, a wolf call here, a few crickets there and birdsong almost everywhere, most notably on “The Well Tempered Wood Thrush”, where the Wood Thrush, J.S. Bach and Paul blissfully collaborate to great effect. For that piece alone, Light of the Sun is worth investigating further.