George Winston

Night Divides the Day: The Music of the Doors

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Review

This seminal new age pianist has sold zillions of recordings with songs that reflect the quieter moments of the human spirit. It's clear from his phenomenal tribute to Vince Guaraldi and this irresistible tribute to the Doors that it takes the music of others to truly tap into a deeper place that gives variety, spunk, and magical energy to his playing. What makes this project so intense is the variety of moods he creates -- the imaginative way he modulates from dark and haunting, lower-register chord poundings and upper-register whimsy. The most dramatic example of this contrast comes in the first few minutes of "Riders on the Storm," which begins building with ominous horror movie-type tones, then adds a swirling wind of high-toned harmony on top of the dark melody. The opener, "Spanish Caravan," has a cavernous echo and a classical chamber music vibe, while the somber take on "The Crystal Ship" is more in the mainstream new age realm. "Love Street" is given a bright, meditative, upper-register quality, while "Love Me Two Times" and "Love Her Madly" are bouncy, stride-piano influenced, toe-tapping affairs. It's a tribute to Winston's honest love of the Doors' influence that he puts their trademark "Light My Fire" lower in the tracking, as if not to be overly commercial. He plays its ten minutes in split moods, from the funky mix of minor chords on the melody and major chords and high-register improvisation on the soloing section. Not to mess with success, but one hopes that Winston can always balance his own compositions with these types of labors of love. ~ Jonathan Widran, Rovi