Tenor saxophonist Stan Getz was exploring the bossa nova in some of his most successful releases when the Paul Winter Sextet recorded the bossa nova date in this compilation. Getz was a seasoned veteran with an identifiable, fully developed sound. Winter's group was an assemblage of leading college musicians from the Chicago area. On this 1962 date, the difference in experience shows in the sextet's tidy, proficient, often faceless performances. While the early Winter sextet was searching for a personality, the band did have distinctive voices in the warm, fluid piano of Warren Bernhardt and the appealing gruffness of Les Rout's baritone sax. Saxophonist Winter and the rest of the sextet, though, generally contribute a characterless approximation of the bossa nova's pulsating, gentle sensuality. It's a different story on the folk song portion of this compilation. Recorded about 15 months later, the group has now loosened up. New members Cecil McBee on bass and Freddie Waits on drums bring some welcome muscle. Bernhardt is noticeably inspired by the new kick in the rhythm section. Winter also comes through with creative arrangements and good work on soprano sax. Flute virtuoso Jeremy Steig makes very effective appearances on three tracks. The folk song theme works well in evoking the Americana of composer Aaron Copeland and the troubadour spirit of Pete Seeger. The best moments hint at the folk fusion elements heard in Winter Consort, the Keith Jarrett trio of the late '60s, and in guitarist Pat Metheny's early work.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jim Todd