George Winston grew up mainly in Montana, and also spent his later formative years in Mississippi and Florida. During this time, his favorite music was instrumental rock and instrumental R&B, including Floyd Cramer, the Ventures, Booker T & The MG’s, Jimmy Smith, and many more. Inspired by R&B, jazz, Blues and rock (especially the Doors), George began playing organ in 1967. In 1971 he switched to the acoustic piano after hearing recordings from the 1920s and the 1930s by the legendary stride pianists Thomas “Fats” Waller and the late Teddy Wilson. In addition to working on stride piano, he also at this time came up with his own style of melodic instrumental music on solo piano, called folk piano.
Since 1972 George has released thirteen solo piano albums: AUTUMN (1980), WINTER INTO SPRING (1982), DECEMBER (1982), SUMMER (1991), FOREST (1994), LINUS & LUCY-THE MUSIC OF VINCE GUARALDI (1996), PLAINS (1999), which was inspired by his Eastern Montana upbringing, NIGHT DIVIDES THE DAY – THE MUSIC OF THE DOORS (2002), MONTANA-A LOVE STORY (2004) and GULF COAST BLUES & IMPRESSIONS-A HURRICANE RELIEF BENEFIT (2006), LOVE WILL COME – THE MUSIC OF VINCE GUARALDI VOL 2 (2010), GULF COAST BLUES & IMPRESSIONS 2-A LOUISIANA WETLANDS BENEFIT (2012), and SPRING CAROUSEL-A CANCER RESEARCH BENEFIT.
In 2001 George released REMEMBRANCE – A MEMORIAL BENEFIT, a seven song EP of piano, guitar and harmonica solos, to benefit those affected by 9/11. He has also worked with the late George Levenson of Informed Democracy (www.informeddemocracy.com) on three projects: a solo guitar soundtrack for SADAKO AND THE THOUSAND PAPER CRANES, and soundtracks of piano, guitar and, harmonica solos for PUMPKIN CIRCLE, and BREAD COMES TO LIFE. In addition, he has recorded the solo piano soundtrack for the children’s story THE VELVETEEN RABBIT for Rabbit Ears Productions.
George is also working on solo guitar and is recording the masters of the Hawaiian Slack Key guitar for an extensive series of albums for Dancing Cat Records (www.dancingcat.com). Slack Key is the name for the beautiful solo fingerstyle guitar tradition, unique to Hawaii, which began in the early 1800s and predated the steel guitar by over half a century.
He is also recording his main inspirations for his harmonica playing: Sam Hinton, Rick Epping, and Curt Bouterse.
Videos & Press
New Orleans Slow Dance
[NY Post] By Barbara Hoffman “If I can get through this show, I can get through anything,” George Winston told himself one night in September, 2012. The Grammy-winning pianist made it through his sold-out Sandpoint, Idaho, concert, but barely, collapsing in his dressing room after leaving the stage. Three months earlier, Winston, now 68, had […]
[Paste] Paste Studios (New York, New York), 04/11/2017 – Live Watch here! George Winston has been tickling the keys for more than four decades, setting a high bar for every pianist in genres as diverse as rural folk piano, stride piano, and New Orleans R&B piano. For his latest record, Spring Carousel, Winston composed 15 […]
[PopMatters] “Hang on, let me turn this thing off,” says piano master George Winston. Winston is calling from somewhere in Arizona on the eve of a concert tour and wrangling with an unruly GPS device that belches intermittent driving directions between the musician’s thoughtful, well-tempered sentences. Ostensibly a conversation about his latest release, Spring Carousel, […]
[WNYC] George Winston is one of the best-selling pianists of any style, ever. His albums in the 1980s, like December and Winter Into Spring, were platinum sellers and made the Windham Hill label an unexpected music industry success story. He’s also been a champion of Hawaiian slack key guitar music, covered Vince Guaraldi’s music for […]