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The Paul Winter Sextet: Count Me In: 1962/1963

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Think Paul Winter and what probably comes to mind is the longtime leader of the Consort, the group that essentially spliced new age and world music in the late ’60s, even if those two genres didn’t quite exist yet. Winter’s annual concerts at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, his recordings of humpback whale song, his performances in the Grand Canyon and other exotic locales-none of it suggests that this saxophonist and composer once led a formidable jazz band. But he did, and this double-disc collection is the proof.

With thumbs-ups from Dizzy Gillespie and John Hammond, Winter was signed to Columbia Records in 1961 and the following year played the White House at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy. Winter’s was the first jazz group ever to get that cushy gig. That concert is the centerpiece of this collection of early Paul Winter jazz. The sextet swings, they finesse some trendy bossa, they tinker with bop and earn the polite applause of the president’s guests.

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