7-Time Grammy Winner Paul Winter to Release “Concert in the Barn” on June 17, 2022
Very early on a morning in June 2021, in the hills of northwest Connecticut, a unique ensemble of musicians gathered in the hayloft of a barn to perform a special livestream concert in celebration of the summer solstice.
The album of this music, entitled Concert in the Barn, by the seven-time Grammy-winning Paul Winter Consort, will be released by Living Music Records on June 17, 2022.
The inspiration for this concert comes from a long tradition of solstice celebrations by Paul Winter and his colleagues at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Consort’s long-time home forum. For the previous 25 years, the Cathedral had been the venue for this event, to welcome the sunrise of the longest day of the year.
With the Cathedral closed for performances during the pandemic, it was opportune to take advantage of the cathedralesque loft of Paul Winter’s barn as a grass-roots alternative to playing in the world’s largest cathedral. The personnel of the ensemble was also a product of the pandemic, as it didn’t seem prudent for most of the Consort’s regular members to be traveling from their homes around the country to converge for this event, as they have for many years. Winter recognized that he needed to gather players from “the neighborhood.”
“I had known of a young bassoonist, Jeff Boratko, who lives nearby,” Winter recalls. “The Consort has always included a double-reed player, either oboe or English horn, but I’d never considered bassoon, though I’ve always loved its soulful voice. I couldn’t have imagined finding locally a superb player who also happens to be a first-class singer/songwriter. So I invited Jeff to both play and sing in the concert.”
Henrique Eisenmann, a young Brazilian pianist who recorded and concertized with Winter during the last two years, was willing to come up from New York.
It was convenient that two of the Consort’s longtime members, cellist Eugene Friesen and vocalist Theresa Thomason, lived within easy driving distance.
“I love the inter-generational makeup of this band,” Winter says. “Jeff and Henrique weren’t even born when Eugene and I began playing together 40-some years ago.”
This ensemble has one of the more unique instrumentations in the Consort’s lineage. “We still have our three-horn front-line, as always,” explains Winter, “with the bassoon, soprano sax, and cello, which I think of as another horn. We don’t have bass or percussion here, but Henrique’s piano-playing is like a one-man rhythm section, and Eugene’s pizzicato cello often takes on the bass role.”
The great majority of the pieces are new musical offerings by the Consort. Concert in the Barn embraces the gamut of genres that Paul Winter’s solstice celebrations have been known for, interweaving instrumental adventures with songs sung by Theresa Thomason and Jeff Boratko. And as the date of the concert, June 19th, also happened to be that of Juneteenth, Theresa sings, in the finale, the traditional anthem, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” Winter notes, “We had never performed this before. And the spontaneous version that Theresa and Henrique created is, to my ear, iconic.”
The music of Concert in the Barn comes forth in a continuous stream, having begun in total darkness at 4:30 a.m., flowing on, with the slow crescendo of the dawn, until its final climax with the first sunrise of the summer.
Winter says, “We wouldn’t have had applause to contend with, in any case, since our entire audience consisted of two horses, Lucky and Nikki, who were listening from the stable below.”
Paul Winter’s musical odyssey has long embraced the traditions of the world’s cultures, as well as the wildlife voices of what he refers to as “the greater symphony of the Earth.” From the early days of his college jazz sextet, which toured 23 countries of Latin America for the State Department and performed the first-ever jazz concert at the White House for the Kennedys in 1962, to his later ensemble, the Paul Winter Consort, his concert tours and recording expeditions have taken him to 52 countries and to wilderness areas on six continents, where he has traveled on rafts, dog sleds, mules, kayaks, tug-boats and Land Rovers. He has recorded over 50 albums, of which seven have been honored with Grammy® Awards.
Since 1980, Paul and his Consort have been artists-in-residence at the world’s largest cathedral, New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where they have presented over 200 unique events, including their famed annual Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice Celebrations, as well as the performance each October of their ecological mass (Missa Gaia/Earth Mass).
Concert in the Barn will be available from www.paulwinter.com, Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, iTunes, Deezer, Tidal and Bandcamp.
Album Details: Concert in the Barn
Release date: June 17, 2022
For all ages
Label: Living Music
SRP: $12 digital download; $15 CD
Run Time: 60 minutes
Sun Singer (Theme) – Paul Winter, soprano sax
Lamento De Aiocá – Paul Winter, soprano sax; Henrique Eisenmann, piano
The Silence of a Candle – Theresa Thomason, voice; Henrique Eisenmann, piano; Eugene Friesen, cello
The Well-Tempered Wood Thrush – Wood Thrush, vocal; Paul Winter, soprano sax; Henrique Eisenmann, fortepiano; Eugene Friesen, cello
Chora Coração (Cry, My Heart) – Henrique Eisenmann, piano; Jeff Boratko, bassoon; Eugene Friesen, cello
Sarabande – Henrique Eisenmann, piano
Lendas Brasileiras – Paul Winter, soprano sax; Henrique Eisenmann, piano
DNA – Jeff Boratko, voice and piano; Theresa Thomason, voice; Eugene Friesen, cello; Paul Winter, soprano sax
Air – Eugene Friesen, cello and voice; Henrique Eisenmann, piano
How Can I Keep From Singing – Theresa Thomason, voice; Henrique Eisenmann, piano
Lavadeiras– Paul Winter, soprano sax; Henrique Eisenmann, piano
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – Theresa Thomason, voice; Henrique Eisenmann, piano; Eugene Friesen, cello; Paul Winter, soprano sax
Moro Na Roça/Lapinha – Henrique Eisenmann, piano; Paul Winter, soprano sax and percussion; Eugene Friesen, cello and percussion; Jeff Boratko, bassoon and percussion; Theresa Thomason, percussion; Conor Ryan, surdo
Icarus– Paul Winter, soprano sax; Eugene Friesen, cello and percussion; Jeff Boratko, bassoon and percussion; Theresa Thomason, percussion; Conor Ryan, surdo