George Winston @ Boulder Theater
George Winston, best known for his melodic rural folk piano style, has made no secret of the debt his playing owes to the musicians of New Orleans. Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions–A Hurricane Relief Benefit was inspired by Winston's desire to support the Gulf Coast after the recent hurricane related devastation. This beautiful and vast region has a mystique all its own and he has been to it many times, from Corpus Christi, to Galveston, to Lake Charles, to New Orleans, to Gulfport/Biloxi/Bay St. Louis, to Mobile, to Pensacola, to Panama City, to the Tampa Bay, to Ft. Myers, to Naples.
Winston cites the pianists of New Orleans as the biggest influences on his own piano playing. He will donate all of his artist royalties from the album to organizations involved in helping those on the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans to rebuild and return – organizations such as Common Ground, ACORN, and others. He has also donated all the proceeds of his September and October 2005 concerts to the same causes. In unity with the artist, RCA Records will be donating the bulk of its net profits to benefit musicians in the New Orleans area.
Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions features six Winston compositions inspired by the Gulf Coast as well as pieces written by or influenced by six of the greatest New Orleans pianists: Henry Butler, James Booker, Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, and Jon Cleary. "Much of my work on the piano is studying the musical languages of the great New Orleans R&B pianists," Winston says. "Especially Professor Longhair, the founder of the New Orleans R&B piano scene in the late 1940s who inspired so many; James Booker, whose language most influences the way I think of playing; and Henry Butler, who is the pianist I have studied the most since 1985. I'm also indebted to New Orleans pianists Dr. John, Jon Cleary, and the eminent composer/pianist Allen Toussaint.