Pianist George Winston has regularly performed in Flagstaff since the late 1990s. About 14 years after the release of his fourth solo piano album and highest-selling record to date, Winston performed at Ardrey Memorial Auditorium on the Northern Arizona University campus.
In volume two, issue three of Flagstaff Live!, which ran Feb. 1 through Feb. 14, 1996, Cree Clover spoke with Winston about his life as a composer ahead of this performance. In the original article, Winston revealed he was “about 22 or 23” when he made up his first tune.
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Now with more than 40 years of experience and 15 million albums sold, Winston is returning to Flagstaff once again. He will perform at the Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Fort Valley Road, on Thursday, February 6, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45, $55 or $65 depending on the section. Visit www.flagartscouncil.org for more information
Winston grew up mainly in Montana, and spent his later formative years in Mississippi and Florida. Inspired by R&B, jazz, blues and rock (especially The Doors), Winston began playing organ in 1967. In 1971 he switched to the piano after hearing recordings from the 1920s and the 1930s by the legendary stride pianists Thomas “Fats” Waller and Teddy Wilson.
Winston plays nearly 100 concerts annually, bringing his evocative music to fans worldwide as solace in a chaotic world. He released his 15th solo piano album, Restless Wind, on Dancing Cat Records/RCA Records in 2019.
“I never consciously try to compose something. I might just have something, a fragment on the piano, and then create another fragment,” he said in the 1996 Flag Live! interview. “Once or twice a year I come up with something. Not real often, but my main thing is learning tunes I like, and arranging them.”