A Trailblazer Of Earth Music with Paul Winter

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Since the 1960s Paul Winter has been in the vanguard of musicians who express special appreciation for the natural music of our world, including wolves, whales, birds, wind and water. His inclusivity combines everything from Bach to Bossa Nova and his albums, Common Ground and Callings, are cultural landmarks, as is his album Missa Gaia/Earth Mass, commissioned by the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Missa Gaia/Earth Mass is a testament of faith, joy, thanksgiving, and reverence for the special gift that is Mother Earth. Paul has recorded more than 50 albums with his ensemble, the Paul Winter Consort and his community of colleagues, who are some of the finest jazz, classical and World Music musicians. He's a seven-time Grammy Award winner and his latest album, Light Of The Sun, is the most personal musical offering of his 60 year recording career, showcasing his signature saxophone. Many of his albums include the voices of other-than-humans. Here is what he says about these recording sessions, “I think anytime that we are in the presence of a wild creature there's a chance that we can be really deeply touched and changed. Most wild creatures will disappear instantly at the sight, sound, or smell of a human. I've always felt it was a tremendous gift or stroke of luck when they allow you to be in their presence.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms) 


Paul Winter is an American saxophonist, composer, and bandleader. He is a pioneer of world music and "earth music", which interweaves the voices of the wild with instrumental voices from classical, jazz and world music, and is a seven-time Grammy Award winner. He produces free streaming concerts each year on the equinoxes and the solstices. Our New Dimensions theme music, "Icarus," is performed by the Paul Winter Consort. 

Paul Winter’s albums include: 

  • Common Ground (1989)
  • Wolf Eyes: Retrospective (1989)
  • Callings (1989)
  • Earth: Voices of the Planet (1990)
  • Spanish Angel (1993)
  • Prayer for the Wild Things (1994)
  • Missa Gaia/Earth Mass (1994)
  • Canyon Lullaby (1998)
  • Miho: Journey to the Mountain (2010)
  • Light of the Sun (2020) 

To learn more about Paul Winter go to www.paulwinter.com

Topics explored in this dialogue include: 

  • What was Winter’s first band when he was 12 years old
  • What is Winter’s philosophy for playing in collaboration in ensembles
  • What was it like to be the first Jazz performance at the White House when he was in his early twenties
  • How did Heitor Villa-Lobos from Brazil influence Winter’s music
  • How Roger Payne moved Winter to expand his musical world to include the voices of animals
  • How Winter’s music and travels to Japan helped with a moratorium on whaling until recently
  • What was it like to record in the famous Japanese Miho Museum, the Taj Mahal of Japan
  • What sparked Winter’s idea to perform with other-than-human voices
  • What was Winter’s first meeting with a wolf and how did that influence his music
  • What it was like to record the voices of orcas from a kayak off the coast of British Columbia, Canada
  • How Winter’s music got to travel to the moon
  • Why all of our ancestors in the U.S. (with the exception of the indigenous peoples) were immigrants
  • How Winter participated in the Soviet Space Bridge project that led to a Russian/American album
  • How people can tune into the winter solstice concert and get information on all the earth solstices and equinox concerts

 Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 10/9/2020   Program Number: 3715

Music Playlist

From Album:  Light of the Sun
Artist: Paul Winter

Opening Essay: Track 01 Sun Singer
Music Break 1: Track 10 Canto Triste (Sad Song)
Music Break 2: Track 03 Dolphin Morning
Music Break 3: Track 13 Wintersong