Christmas 2021 (07): George Winston – December (1982)

FrontCover1George Winston (born December 26, 1949) is an American pianist. He was born in Michigan and raised mainly in Montana (Miles City and Billings), as well as Mississippi and Florida. He is best known for his solo piano recordings. Each of several of his albums from the early 1980s have sold millions of copies. He plays in three styles: the melodic approach he developed that he calls “rural folk piano”; stride piano, primarily inspired by Thomas “Fats” Waller and Teddy Wilson; and his primary interest, New Orleans R&B piano, influenced by James Booker, Professor Longhair, and Henry Butler.

December is the fourth solo piano album from George Winston. It was recorded during the fall of 1982 and was released at the end of the year. It is a Christmas album, and more generally a tribute to the winter season. The album is a follow up to Autumn.

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December is Winston’s highest-selling album, having been certified triple Platinum by the RIAA, signifying 3 million copies in shipment. The success of the album, along with several of Winston’s other albums from the early 1980s, enabled the record label, Windham Hill, to get international distribution and a higher profile. The album also spent 136 weeks on the Billboard 200, reaching a peak of No. 54 in January 1984, over a year after its original release. In 1987, five years after its release, it reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Holiday Albums chart.

A 20th Anniversary Edition of the album, with two bonus tracks, was released in 2001. The album was again reissued in 2013 by Valley Entertainment with Dancing Cat Records, Winston’s own label. This reissue was packaged in a Digipak and features revised cover art.

Amazon’s editorial staff noted “the album is a classic for a reason—few capture the soft, pensive nature of the season quite like Winston’s magnum opus.” (wikipedia)

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The mother of all solo istrumental albums, and with good reason. Mixing traditional carols with Pachelbel’s Canon and a few originals, Winston produces a solo piano album of unparalleled — and undeniable — beauty. How can music be simultaneously stirring and soothing, relaxed yet exalted? Millions have found the answer here, and an industry has spent decades trying to duplicate it. (by William Ruhlmann)


George Winston (piano)


01. Thanksgiving (Winston) 4.03
02. Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head (Traditional) 2.34
03. Joy (Traditional) 3.11
04. Prelude (Winston) 1.17
05. Carol Of The Bells (Traditional) 3.52
06. Night: Part One – Snow (Winston) 1.51
07. Night: Part Two – Midnight (Winston) 1.22
08. Night: Part Three – Minstrels (Traditional) 2.33
09. Variations On The Kanon By Johann Pachelbel (Pachelbel) 5.19
10. The Holy And The Ivy (Traditional) 4.47
11. Some Children See Him (Burt) 3.43
12. Peace (Winston) 4.09



More from George Winston:

George Winston – Linus & Lucy – The Music Of Vince Guaraldi (1996)

FrontCover1Linus and Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi is the tenth album of pianist George Winston, released in 1996. It features covers of songs composed by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, including some written for the Peanuts animations.

Combining the whimsical yet elegant compositions of Vince Guaraldi and the mellow, restrained playing of George Winston, Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi is a mostly happy marriage of the composer’s and performer’s styles. On much of the album, Winston tends to tone down the breeziness of Guaraldi’s performances, opting for a gentler, reflective approach that sparkles on “Skating” and “Young Man’s Fancy,” but tends to make “The Great Pumpkin Waltz” and “Treat Street” sound a bit washed out. However, sprightly renditions of “The Masked VinceGuaraldiMarvel,” “You’re in Love, Charlie Brown,” “Peppermint Patty,” and “Eight Five Five” more than make up for the occasional lag and spotlight Winston’s virtuoso piano playing. Though it’s not necessarily intended as a best-of Vince Guaraldi collection, Linus & Lucy could certainly be used as one; however, it’s Winston’s distinctive style that makes it one of the best solo piano new age albums of the ’90s. (by Heather Phares)

George Winston (piano)

01. Cast Your Fate To The Wind 6.23
02. Skating 3.02
03. Linus And Lucy 3.15
04. The Great Pumpkin Waltz 3.56
05. Monterey 4.33
06. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving 2.29
07. Treat Street 4.51
08. Eight Five Five 1.22
09. The Masked Marvel 5.36
10. Charlie Brown And His All-Stars 1.54
11. You’re in Love, Charlie Brown 2.47
12. Peppermint Patty 3.40
13. Bon Voyage 1.46
14. Young Man’s Fancy     3.52
15. Remembrance 2.20
16. Theme To Grace/Lament 5.02
17. The Red Baron 2.30

Music written by Vince Guaraldi