Niagara Gazette

Music

December 3, 2009

MUSIC: Solo pianist George Winston visits Buffalo

By Phil Dzikiy

At this rate, George Winston reckons he’ll be back in Buffalo, by, oh, 2022. So if you want to see him perform live, Friday night’s your chance.

Winston is a solo instrumentalist, mostly known for his work as a pianist. He’s recorded more than a dozen solo piano albums. All Music Guide describes him as “among the earliest and most successful proponents of the genre of contemporary instrumental music later dubbed new age.” And though he hasn’t been in Buffalo since the late 1990s, he’s joking about the amount of time it might take him to make a return trip after his upcoming show at Buffalo State College’s Rockwell Hall.

“I’ve been (to Buffalo) eight or nine times over the years,” Winston said. “(It’s) always great to be back.”

But The City of Good Neighbors isn’t the only city on his mind recently. The plight of New Orleans still weighs on his conscience as The Big Easy fights back from some tough times. Winston’s most recent album, 2006’s “Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions: A Hurricane Relief Benefit,” offers proceeds to a few of the region’s organizations helping with the rebuilding effort after Hurricane Katrina.

“I just wanted to do something to help the coast of New Orleans, like everybody did,” Winston said. “The news from down there is ‘back in business,’ but there’s a lot of work to still be done. It will come back. It’s just going to take consistent work.”

As expected, the album is done in the jaunty New Orleans R&B; piano style. It features six original Winston compositions and a few covers, including a lengthy reworking of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” The first song on the album is titled “New Orleans Shall Rise Again.”

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