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George Winston :: Night Divides the Day: The Music of the Doors
by Earnest Woodall

Solo pianist George Winston takes on The Doors in this recording that fails as often as it succeeds. The big question for me is, would Jim Morrison approve? To me George Winston and Jim Morrison seem so opposite to each other - Morrison was the self-styled "Lizard King" and was widely known for his excesses and exploration of the dark side of the human psyche, where Winston performs live in his sox and plaid flannel shirts, and considers himself to be more of a new age folkie. The raw power and energy of the doors isn't always reflected on this disc and I believe this isn't the way most people would want their Doors. It's no secret that George isn't a great technician, and you can hear the flaws whenever he remains true to the melody, especially replicating Robbie Krieger's guitar lines. The recording does have some soul, and Winston makes you feel that he's using the music as a starting point for his own art. Notably "Crystal Ship," which he expands into a gorgeous meditation. Some songs are just perfect for Winston and he makes his best points with "Riders on the Storm," "Wishful, Sinful" and "Love Me Two Times." It is amazing what George Winston has done with this music for solo piano. Since Winston released the trilogy of albums Autumn, December, and Winter Into Spring, which have been all very successful, he is doing what many musicians attempt to do; experiment, and at times in this disc this experiment failed. A quintessential example of George Winston's "folk piano" style is his recording "December" which was recorded nineteen years ago, it is still by far my favorite George Winston. Recorded when "new age" music was barely emerging and Windham Hill was an experimental artists' label, this is one of a handful of albums that show just how good the music was when artists had more control of what went onto their albums. "December" speaks to the spirit of the season. Mixing traditional carols, a couple of classical works, and his own originals, Winston drops notes with icy clarity into a winter silence, rippling through "Carol of Bells" and coaxing dark, introspective moods from his own suite, "Night." This recording is a must have. But "Night Divides the Day: The Music of the Doors" is an experiment.

published 17.04.2005 2005 jazz news :: home page

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