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George Winston grew up mainly in Montana, and also spent his later formative years in Mississippi and Florida. During this time, his favorite music was instrumental rock and instrumental R&B, including Floyd Cramer, the Ventures, Booker T & The MG’s, Jimmy Smith, and many more. Inspired by R&B, jazz, Blues and rock (especially the Doors), George began playing organ in 1967. In 1971 he switched to the acoustic piano after hearing recordings from the 1920s and the 1930s by the legendary stride pianists Thomas “Fats” Waller and the late Teddy Wilson. In addition to working on stride piano, he also at this time came up with his own style of melodic instrumental music on solo piano, called folk piano.
George is presently concentrating mainly on live performances, and most of the time he is touring playing solo piano concerts (the Summer Show or the Winter Show), solo guitar concerts, solo harmonica concerts, and solo piano dances (with R&B and slow dance songs).
He is currently most inspired by the great New Orleans R&B pianists Henry Butler, James Booker, Professor Longhair, Dr. John, and Jon Cleary, and he is also working on interpreting pieces on solo piano by his favorite composers, including Vince Guaraldi, Professor Longhair, and the Doors, as well as Sam Cooke, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Randy Newman, Curtis Mayfield, Laura Nyro, Al Kooper, Jimmy Wisner, Arthur Lee, Frank Zappa, Ralph Towner, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, John Coltrane, Milt Jackson, John Hartford, Oliver Schroer, Taj Mahal, Henry Butler, James Booker, Jon Cleary, Philip Aaberg and others, to play at concerts, and at his solo piano dances.
George is also working on solo guitar and is recording the masters of the Hawaiian Slack Key guitar for an extensive series of albums for Dancing Cat Records (www.dancingcat.com). Slack Key is the name for the beautiful solo fingerstyle guitar tradition, unique to Hawaii, which began in the early 1800s and predated the steel guitar by over half a century.
George’s latest release is 2012’s Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions 2–A Louisiana Wetlands Benefit. This album along with 2006’s Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions –A Hurricane Relief Benefit raise funds for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and The Voice of the Wetlands, a non-profit organization raising awareness and developing educational programs about the loss of the wetlands in southern Louisiana and to help heal the damage from the 2010 BP oil spill.
Since 1986, George has been raising money for food banks and service organizations and will continue to do so by working with a local food bank in every tour market to hold a CANNED FOOD DRIVE at the show and by donating 100% of his merchandise sales to the organization. At this show he will work with Kitchen Angels.
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