Paul Winter and his group, the Paul Winter Consort, have performed around the world, from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Miho Museum in Japan. One of the earliest exponent’s of world music, the group has also pioneered a new genre of “earth music,” (described as “ecological jazz” by fans in Russia), interweaving classical, jazz and world music elements with voices from what Winter calls “the greatest symphony of the earth.”
The Consort has won four Grammy Awards, for Spanish Angel (1994), a live album recorded in Spain; for Silver Solstice (2005), which celebrates the annual Winter Solstice Celebrations in New York; Crestone (2007); and Miho: Journey to the Mountain (2010).
Since 1980. Paul and the Consort have been artists-in-residence at the world’s largest cathedral, New York’s St. John the Divine, where they have presented over 100 special events, including the annual Winter and Summer Solstice Celebrations, Carnival for the Rainforest, and their ecological mass, Missa Gaia/Earth Mass, which is performed annually each October as part of the Feast of St. Francis.
The group emerged from Paul’s jazz sextet, which came out of Chicago during Paul’s years at Northwestern University. After winning the 1961 Intercollegiate Jazz Festival, the Sextet was signed to Columbia Records by legendary 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 State Department on a six-month tour of 23 countries of Latin America.?The success of this tour led to an invitation from First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to play at the White House. The Sextet’s performance in the East Room on November 19, 1962, happened to be the first-ever jazz concert in the White House. The group continued to tour and record throughout 1963, and made their final album during the week of President Kennedy’s assassination. Then, numbed by that tragedy, and discouraged by what they felt was the end of that optimistic era, 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 saxist to teach at Michigan State, and Paul to Brazil, to resume his exploration of the world’s music.