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Friday, December 6, 2019

Jazz Meets The Folk Song - Paul Winter

Lass From The Low Country
Jazz Meets The Folk Song
The Paul Winter Sextet
Produced by John Hammond
Cover Photo: Columbia Records Photo Studio / Henry Parker
Columbia CS 8955


Paul Winter: Soprano and Alto Sax - Replaces Dick Whitsell on Lass From The Low Country, The Legend Of Lord Thomas and Gotta Travel On.
Jay Cameron: Baritone Sax, instead of Sam Brown on Greenwood Side, Blue Mountain, Repeat, John Henry and We Shall Overcome
Jose Cigno, Latin Drums on Aruanda and Guantanamera

From the back cover: Over the past two years or Sextet has been fortunate to visit and play in twenty-five countries of this half of the world. Probably the most notable contribution of these travels to our musical education was the exposure to a great variety of folk melodies and rhythms. Usually, after leaving a country, it was the folk music that lingered longest in our memories, and often, it was the most impressive music we heard.

During our visit to Haiti, in 1962, at the beginning of a tour of Latin America for the State Department, we heard a striking folk song in 5/4 time called "Papa Zimbi." We adapted it for the group, and it became one of our most distinctive concert numbers – it was included in our White House concert following the tour. ("Jazz Premiere: Washington," CL 1997/CS 8797.) Also on that program was the folk song "Shenandoah," which we've played since the formation of the group.

For a long time we had wanted to do an entire album of various folk tunes, and now we had that opportunity. Having had a brief experience in using folk material, our interest was stimulated buy our travels. I don't believe it would have come from attending current hootenannies.

In this album we did not want to restrict ourselves to tunes we heard in the countries we visited (We had already recorded an all-Brazilian album "Jazz Meets The Bossa Nova," CL 1925/CS 8725) We've done here ten folk melodies we like very much, plus two originals we thought appropriate.

While considering instrumental versions of these songs we thought about two questions: first, what really is a "folk song"? And second, what is the value of these "songs" without words?

Music that is branded "folk," is, to my mind, music that originated among the common people of a country, or is in the native musical style of those people. Lyrics, of course, often precede the musical elements, but when a song is well known the melody becomes the implied expression of the words. Those who love instrumental music can appreciate the melodies equally well without lyrics.

We saw this in Latin America, where we played to many audiences who knew no English. In Cochabamba, Bolivia, the people were wildly enthusiastic when we played the "St. Louis Blues." They knew the melody, but the words would have been of little value. (One well known U.S. folk-singing group that toured Latin America shortly before we did was hooted off the stage in Maracaibo, Venezuela by an audience shouting "Espanol! Espanol!" in reaction to their English lyrics.) In the same manner, when we heard their songs, it was the music alone that mattered.

From Billboard - May 2, 1964: The music is as provocative as the title, and both should attract new listeners as well as those who have already become fans of this continually publicized group. Both the folk and the jazz are treated first carefully and, then, experimentally.

Blue Mountain
Scarlet Ribbons
Greenwood Side
Lass From The Low Countrie
Waltzing Matilda
The Legend Of Lord Thomas
John Henry
We Shall Overcome
Gotta Travel On

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