A Balance between the Improvised and the Composed

Paul Winter Sextet - Count Me In - 1962 & 1963

Paul Winter Sextet – Count Me In – 1962 & 1963

Paul Winter Sextet

Count Me In – 1962 & 1963, Two-Disc Anthology (Living Music, 2013)

Count Me In – 1962 & 1963 is a two-disc 50th Anniversary Anthology CD of the music created by the Paul Winter Sextet, an influential and pioneering jazz ensemble that served as cultural ambassador for the United States in the 1960s. The album comes with a 32-page booklet and 14 never-released tracks, including their historic concert at the Kennedy White House.

The Paul Winter Sextet appeared in Chicago during Paul Winter’s years at Northwestern University. After winning the 1961 Intercollegiate Jazz Festival, the band was signed to Columbia Records by renowned producer John Hammond. In 1962 the Sextet recorded its first three albums, and, on recommendation from Festival judges Dizzy Gillespie and Hammond, was sent by the U.S. State Department on a six-month tour of 23 countries in Latin America to promote the best of American culture through jazz music.

The success of this tour led to an invitation from First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to play at the White House. The Sextet’s concert in the East Room on November 19, 1962, happened to be the first-ever jazz performance in the White House. The sextet continued to tour and record throughout 1963, and made their final album during the week of President Kennedy’s assassination. The group was severely affected by that tragedy and discouraged by what they felt was the end of that optimistic era so the Sextet disbanded and the players went on to other pursuits – the drummer eventually to Count Basie’s band, the bassist to Ahmad Jamal’s trio, the trumpet player to medical school, the baritone saxophonist to teach at Michigan State, and Paul Winter to Brazil, to resume his exploration of the world’s music.

“The Sextet was conceived as a kind of little ‘big band,’” says Paul, “and with our instrumentation of three horns and rhythm, it had quite a different sound from that of the Paul Winter Consort, which people have known me for during the last several decades. But on a primary level, it’s all the same lineage: a spirit of celebration, in the democracy of ensemble, aspiring toward a balance between the improvised and the composed.”

Disc I featured Paul Winter / alto sax; Dick Whitsell / trumpet; Les Rout / baritone sax; Warren Bernhardt / piano; Richard Evans / bass; Harold Jones / drums;

The Disc II lineup is Paul Winter / alto & soprano sax; Dick Whitsell / trumpet; Jay Cameron / baritone sax; Warren Bernhardt / piano; Chuck Israels / bass; Ben Riley / drums; Cecil McBee / bass; Freddie Waits / drums; Jeremy Steig / flute; and Gene Bertoncini / guitar on track 13.

Count Me In – 1962 & 1963 is an essential set of early 1960s jazz recordings by the group led by saxophonist Paul Winter, an influential musician who very early in his musical career explored the boundaries of jazz by incorporating what was later called world music and genuine concern for the environment.

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About ARomero

Angel Romero has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusicportal.com, worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. In the TV area, Angel co-produced Musica NA, a music show for TVE (Spain) that featured world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina.