FAME Review: The Paul Winter Sextet - Count Me In: 1962 - 1963
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The Paul Winter Sextet - Count Me In: 1962 - 1963

Count Me In: 1962 - 1963

The Paul Winter Sextet

Living Music - LMU-44

Available from Paul Winter's web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

I should start this review out with an apology: I'm sorry but I just cannot very much take a good deal of Paul Winter's late output. I mean, Common Ground was brilliant, but Canyon and Callings? Even Missa Gaia? Cah-mon! It drives me nuts because Winter was once a guy so far beyond saccharine that one can hardly credit the later gooey environmentalistic oeuvre with the same gent who introduced the seminal group Oregon to the world. I value The Winter Consort, Road, and Icarus in the same way I cherish Led Zeppelin 1, King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King, Circle's Paris Concert, Nick Drake's entire catalogue, and so on. No kidding, no exaggeration, If I could afford a vault, I'd place those LPs in there for safekeeping, but that late period stuff of his? Not so much. Thus, it's with a great deal of pleasure that I can point to Count Me In: 1962 - 1963 as perfectly in line with the Consort materials, a precursor and illuminated kindred contrast that may even be…(oh God, how do I say this and not betray my not-so-secret beatification of Ralph Towner & Co.???)…better!

Not only is this 2-CD set packed in with material, 32 cuts worth, but the remastering of the original Columbia release of the White House gig, played for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy at the suggestion of Dizzy Gillespie, is augmented by 14 tracks nowhere else released. More, the band's crammed with talent: Warren Bernardt, Dick Whitsell, Harold Jones, Cecil McBee, Jeremy Steig, Freddie Waits, Gene Bertoncini, etc., and of course Winter's prime period sax work. If you think he was hot stuff later, you haven't checked this gig out yet. The range of material stretches from trad to blues to sass (catch The Nasty Hurtin' Blues) to audacious (Mystery Blues) to bop and everything in between. Winter is outstanding throughout and spotlessly backed, whether the boss is waxing rambunctious, as in Routeousness, or balladic. If you check Webster's Third Int'nat'l. for the word 'tight', I'm pretty sure you're going to find a snapshot of the Winter Sextet.

For over two hours, the band wails with guts, spine, integrity, outstanding chops, and humor (those trumpet side commentaries in the otherwise slinky title cut Count Me In are hilarious, something Raymond Scott would've whipped up). Those familiar only with Winter's later work will be shocked to hear how far beyond hip the young reeds giant was, holding nothing back. Even—yep, I have to say it—the Consort materials were not as clever or loaded with chops as the Sextet. And the arrangements? Yow! To kill for. The 60s saw not only the opening of a new musical consciousness in rock and roll, it also witnessed the door closing on a mindset found only in jazz, and, though fusion may have been a very worthy successor, there's still nothing quite like the cream of the crop in the preceding bop/swing era. Rarely, as in Wynton Marsalis' Village Vanguard materials, someone comes along and updates the blinding brilliance of the epoch but, even then, it's not quiiiiiiite the same (mainly 'cause Wynton's a genius and everything he touches becomes his), so grab this overwhelming document while you can. It's on Winter's Living Music label (wherein those New Agey releases also appeared, so don't for a moment be diverted), and the market is so damn fickle nowadays that God only knows what'll happen. One small grace will occur, though: Count Me In will definitely be on my FAME Best of 2012 list. It's that damn good.

Track List:

DISC IDISC II
  • A Bun Dance (Norman Simmons)
  • Papa Zimbi (Warren Bernhardt)
  • Casa Camara (Richard Evans)
  • Them Nasty Hurtin' Blues (Richard Evans)
  • Voce e Eu (Only You and I) (de Moraes / Lyra)
  • Insensatez (Foolish One) (de Moraes / Jobim)
  • Mystery Blues (no credit given)
  • Chega de Saudade (No More Blues) (de Moraes / Jobim)
  • Routeousness (Les Rout)
  • Count Me In (Richard Evans)
  • Bells and Horns (Milt Jackson)
  • Saudade de Bahia (Longing for Bahia) (Dorival Caymmi)
  • Casa Camara (Richard Evans)
  • Pony Express (Warren Bernhardt)
  • Maria Ninguem (Maria Nobody) (Carlos Lyra)
  • Toccata (from Suite Gillespiana) (Lalo Schifrin)
  • Count Me In 3:01 (Richard Evans)
  • Cupbearers(Tom McIntosh)
  • Ally (Tom McIntosh)
  • The Sheriff (Gil Melle)
  • With Malice Toward None (Tom McIntosh)
  • All Members (Jimmy Heath)
  • Marilia (Warren Benhardt)
  • Suite Port au Prince
    • A. Invocation to Dambala
    • B. Prayer
    • C. Papa Zimbi (Warren Bernhardt)
  • New York 19 (John Lewis)
  • Quem Quizer Encantror O Amor (He who Wants to Find Love has to Cry) (Carlos Lyra)
  • The Thumper (Jimmy Heath)
  • Count Me In (Richard Evans)
  • Repeat (Denny Zeitlin)
  • Lass from the Low Countrie (traditional)
  • Down by the Greenwood Side (traditional)
  • We Shall Overcome (traditional)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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