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The Paul Winter Sextet was a short-lived group from the 1960s, leaving little in terms of an imprint or legacy in jazz but for one distinguishing fact: it was the very first jazz group to perform in concert at The White House. After a grueling six-month State Department-sponsored tour of 23 Latin American countries, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy invited the group to perform in the East Room of The White House in November, 1962. Count Me In celebrates the 50th anniversary of this historic concert , and is expanded to include music culled from the group's 1963 tour, as well as 14 never-before-released studio tracks recorded for another album. It's an excellent anthology of straight-ahead jazz for the ages.
A multi-Grammy Award winner who, in addition to founding the Living Music label, has led several groups including the renowned Paul Winter Consort, Winter brought this Chicago-based band together during the alto saxophonist's time at Northwestern University, winning the 1961 Intercollegiate Jazz Festival award. The ensemblewhose swinging sound brought the flavor of bossa nova to new American audienceswas later signed by Columbia Records, releasing five albums through the end of 1963, when it ultimately disbanded.
This two-CD setfeaturing a variety of personnel in two different sextets, with trumpeter Dick Whitsell and pianist Warren Bernhardt participating in bothincludes three distinct versions of bassist Richard Evans' title track, Bernhardt's ten-minute suite ("Suite Port au Prince"), several Brazilian pieces ("Voce e Eu," "Insensatez," "Chega de Saudade" and "Saudade de Bahia"), and a host of all around straight jazz originals from members of the band and more famous artists like saxophonist Jimmy Heath and pianist John Lewis.
With more than two full hours of great music, Count Me In not only relives an historic musical event, but provides some of the best moments from The Paul Winter Sextet's brief two-year existence and is a treasure trove of good old fashioned jazz, performed with swing, swagger and a touch of class.
Track Listing: CD1: A Bun Dance; Papa Zimbi; Casa Camara; Them Nasty Hurtin' Blues; Voce e Eu; Insensatez; Mystery Blues; Chega de Saudade; Routeousness; Count Me In; Bells and Horns; Saudade de Bahia; Casa Camara; Pony Express; Maria Ninguem; Toccata; Count Me In. CD2: Cupbearers; Ally; The Sheriff; With Malice Toward None; All Members; Marilia; Suite Port au Prince; New York 19; Quem Quizer; The Thumper; Count Me In; Repeat; Lass from the Low Countrie; Down by the Greenwood Side; We Shall Overcome.
Personnel: Paul Winter: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone (CD2); Dick Whitesell: trumpet; Les Rout: baritone saxophone (CD1); Warren Bernhardt: piano; Richard Evans: bass (CD1); Harold Jones: drums (CD1); Jay Cameron: baritone saxophone (CD2); Chuck Israels: bass (CD2#1-11, CD2#13); Ben Riley: drums (CD2#1-11, CD2#13); Cecil McBee: bass (CD2#12, CD2#14-15); Freddie Waits: drums (CD2#12, CD2#14-15); Jeremy Steig: flute (CD2#13); Gene Bertoncini: guitar (CD2#13).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.