I really should introduce myself, Johny Dark has invited me to help be an admin here. My name is Kori Linae Carothers. I am a pianist produced by Will Ackerman, founder of Windham Hill Records. At this time, I am not here to talk about myself. I am here to tell you about a wonderful opportunity to obtain Windham Hill Merchandise and a few other exciting things from the Windham Hill Records label. As most of you know, SONY bought Windham Hill Records My friend Fiona Joy Hawkins ( who is a fabulous pianist from Australia, also produced by Will Ackerman, is on tour here in the USA.) She is raising funds for a charity Spa for the Pink at her concert on September 8th in Thousand Oaks, CA. She has obtained a Pith Military Safari helmet, and is getting those of us produced by Will Ackerman, AND artists from Windham Hill’s heydays to sign it, where it will be auctioned and the funds will go to the charity Spa4ThePInk.
She is in New York right now and visited SONY NY, and met Isadar( he is also a pianist produced by Will Ackerman). While there, Isadar generously donated FOUR out-of print Windham Hill DVDS and a 30 Year Annivesary Windham Hill set of CDs complete with 18 Windham Hill signatures from artists like Liz Story, Phil Aaberg, Will Ackerman, Samite and lots more. These donations will be auctioned at her concert here in Southern California on September 8th.
If you want more information about these items and how to obtain them please visit her blog:
We wanted you to know, that Will Ackerman has been busy. Busy with what? An album called The Gathering. The Gathering is a handpicked collection of songs from 22 artists recently produced by Grammy winning guitarist and founder of Windham Hill Records, Will Ackerman at his Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont.
To listen to samples of The Gathering and read the reviews its been getting, click on the link below:
One of the best things about being a Windham Hill fan is that even though the label has gone away (or at least been exiled to reissue only status by Sony/Legacy), many of the original artists are performing and creating music more vibrantly than ever. Case in point: Liz Story, performing at Yoshi’s Oakland location March 4, 2012.
Liz was radiant at the “Women of Windham Hill” Holiday concert in December at the same location. With an intelligence, depth and beauty matched with technicals that perfectly deliver the music, Liz seems to be at absolute top form, and I’m looking forward to hearing an entire show.
To win 2 free tickets to see Liz Story in concert at Yoshi’s Oakland location on March 4, 2012, reply in the comments here, and Like Windhaming on Facebook. That’s it. The lucky winner will be notified via email the week of the show.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
This year, instead of Frankincense and Myrrh, the Bay Area gets a gift of a mini-tour with Barbara Higbie, Liz Story and Lisa Lynne performing a Windham Hill Winter Solstice celebration across the Bay Area. See below for dates and ticket information. I will be representing Windhaming at the Yoshi’s Oakland date.
In more news, Montreaux has reunited after 20 years and will be performing two concerts in January at Yoshi’s in Oakland and the Napa Valley Opera House. I hope to have more details on this soon.
Thur. Dec 15, 2011 Oakland, CA @ Yoshi’s Jazz Club, 8:00 pm, Barbara Higbie with Liz Story and Lisa Lynne – Windham Hill Winter Solstice Celebration. Info/tickets: www.yoshis.com
Fri. Dec 16, 2011 Napa, CA, @ Napa Valley Opera House, 8:00 pm, Barbara Higbie with Liz Story and Lisa Lynne – Windham Hill Winter Solstice Celebration. Info/tickets:www.nvoh.org
Sat. Dec 17, 2011 San Francisco, CA, House Concert @ SPECIAL EVENT SALON, 7:30 pm, Barbara Higbie with Liz Story and Lisa Lynne – Windham Hill Winter Solstice Celebration. INTIMATE HO– USE CONCERT in a spacious Edwardian house with wraparound gardens in West Portal, Glen Park, City College area of San Francisco. Spaces limited, please reserve early! Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sat. Jan 14, 2012 Oakland, CA @ Yoshi’s Jazz Club, 8:00 pm / 10:00 pm, MONTREUX Reunion with Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Michael Manring and Barbara Higbie. (Get tickets early for the first reunion show in 20 years of the legendary band). Info/tickets:www.yoshis.com
Sun. Jan 15, 2012 Napa, CA, @ Napa Valley Opera House, 7:30 pm, MONTREUX Reunion with Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Michael Manring and Barbara Higbie. Info/tickets: www.nvoh.org
Here’s a wonderful new resource for Windham Hill fans – a YouTube channel dedicated exclusively to Windham Hill, apparently from another Japanese fan. You can easily spend hours listening to both popular and more rare pieces.
A tour de force of finger-picking guitar, and in many ways the album that would set de Grassi’s direction for years, Southern Exposure is an understated delight.
Technically impressive, and hewing to a fast-paced solo guitar sound, Southern Exposure nonetheless shows many moods. From the ringing rhythms of Overland, to the final notes of the humming Subway, De Grassi provides an album that rewards close listening, yet maintains a cheerful veneer of joy. Where Turning: Turning Back was more pensive, and Clockwork played on group dynamics developing in rhythm and melody, Southern Exposure sets a style that De Grassi is still exploring today.
Wonder what William Ackerman has been up to these past few years? While the Windham Hill label as a mark of new music is gone, many of the artists continue to record and perform new music that equals or betters what we fell in love with some 30 years ago.
Here is a video straight from Will’s press kit that was recorded at the time of “Returning”. This gives terrific background insight into Windham Hill, and let’s you hear some excerpts from the excellent “Returning” album. Since then, Will has also released the outstanding “New England Roads” which I consider a must-have for any Ackerman fan. Enjoy.
Check out just a few of the currently performing and recording artists who made their mark with Windham Hill:
Shadowdance confidently strides into the Windham Hill catalog with the showstopping New Electric India, electric guitar and thundering bass resounding. This is a slightly different approach than the bands eponymous label debut which was specifically composed to work within Windham Hill’s established acoustic sound. After the success of the first, the band was clearly given a little more freedom to follow their live sound than they dared on their original Windham Hill release. While Shadowfax has incredible depth texture and flow, Shadowdance brings dynamics and drive to the band’s gorgeous melodic sensibility.
From the opening note of New Electric India through the closing hum of the track Shadowdance, every note carries you through a churning river of sound depositing you at the end both thrilled and relaxed. Indeed, maybe the water analogy comes easily because Shadowdance has been used at the plankton exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for the last 20 years.
Side Two carries the torch with the Don Cherry-penned track Brown Rice – a standout from the live performances, and closes with the more conventional fusion track A Song for My Brother, a fan favorite.
The sound quality is again extraordinary. Ackerman once again looked to Mobile Fidelity for the mastering and RTI for the pressings. Playing the album on my current vinyl rig was a shocker: the recording is so dynamic and detailed. I’m sure that in part that’s because this album is seared into my memory from countless plays on a Maxell cassette. In 1984-85, I was an exchange student to Yugoslavia, specifically Serbia, and due to space restrictions I could only bring 10 cassettes for my year there. Shadowfax/Shadowdance was the one Windham Hill tape I brought. Truly, for me, this was a “Desert Island Disk.”
Unfortunately, Stuart Nevitt, Chuck Greenberg and Bruce Malament have all passed away.
You can find Joy’s site, and samples from her book here: http://www.joyhornergreenberg.com/jghome.htm She shares fascinating anecdotes and details about the band, as well as personal remembrances, in an easy engaging style; I highly recommend it for any Shadowfax fan.
Joy has generously permitted the reprint of an excerpt here:
Excerpt from the Chuck Greenberg biography “A Pause in the Rain” by Joy Greenberg
The success of Shadowfax enabled the band to go into production on a second album. For material, they didn’t have to look too far. Intuitive businessman that he was, Chuck began thinking about all those old Watercourse Way masters over at Passport Records.
Although Watercourse Way had been out for eight years, the band had never received a dime in royalties. Chuck knew that there were many copies in print, however, and that the demand for them would increase with the release of the new Shadowfax. He also believed that if Shadowfax turned out to be a hit, there might be a renewed interest in the band’s first album, Watercourse Way. However, he wasn’t willing for Passport to be the beneficiary of any newfound success, particularly since he felt that Passport had burned the band for nonpayment of royalties. So, Chuck and the band’s attorney Steven Lowy devised a scheme to buy back all the old master tapes. Chuck knew he’d have to move quickly—before the release of Shadowfax. Once Passport suspected it might be able to gain more mileage out of Watercourse Way, the price for the masters would go up.
It worked—Chuck made them an offer and Passport was only too happy to rid themselves of what they perceived to be a “dead horse.” On the very day that the Billboard review hit the stands raving about Shadowfax, Chuck was collecting the master tapes from the Passport warehouse and blithely walking out the door with them.
Gaining the rights to Watercourse Way turned out to be more significant than even Chuck imagined at the time. In addition to re- releasing it en toto, Windham Hill selected one of its cuts, a lilting Chuck/G.E. duet called “Petite Aubade,” to be on the first of their Winter Solstice series, which went on to achieve Gold Record status. It also made it possible to “borrow” those tunes which the band felt were basically worthy but which had not succeeded as well on Watercourse Way as they had expected. For this reason, the title song from Watercourse Way, along with G.E.’s “Song for My Brother” were selected to be rerecorded for the second Windham Hill Shadowfax album, Shadowdance.
As with Shadowfax, Chuck and G.E. shared song writing duties on Shadowdance, with the exception of a piece by Don Cherry which was a medley of two tunes, “Brown Rice/Karmapa Chenno.” G.E., Phil, and Chuck were big fans of Cherry’s music and had been performing “Brown Rice” live, traditionally as the closing number of their set. It was the only non-Shadowfax composition they ever recorded or performed, and likewise one of the few with lyrics. Nonetheless, it was a testament to the band’s arranging skills. A consistent and perennial show-stopper, “Brown Rice” featured rap-like (before it was in style) nursery rhyme lyrics growled out by G.E. and backed by his searing guitar, with Chuck screaming on tenor sax, building to a crescendo then switching to a wailing lyricon—all pushed forcefully by Phil and Stu’s rhythm section.
Shadowdance became another showcase for Chuck’s burgeoning production genius. Although it cost slightly more than Shadowfax to create, he brought it in on time and under budget. In addition to the seven touring band members, he enlisted Emil Richards in the studio again, with Michael Spiro and Mickey Lehockey to beef up the percussion. The title tune from Shadowdance went on to become a featured number live, often receiving the greatest recognition and applause whenever they performed it and deservedly so. “Shadowdance” combined all the best qualities of Shadowfax: a catchy melody, rhythmic beat and interesting assortment of instruments.
Virtuoso percussionist Emil Richards had filled up the whole room at Group IV Sound with his esoteric collection of instruments from around the world, and the result was astounding. “Shadowdance” became a consistently sought tune by filmmakers, TV and radio shows for background music. After more than a decade, it is still being used by the Monterey Bay Aquarium for what I call its “dancing plankton” exhibit.
The band was also now able to afford a better recording studio when they set out to do Shadowdance, finding in Group IV the perfect place financially, personally, and technologically. A few years earlier, Chuck had performed on a movie soundtrack at Group IV and managed to cut a deal for himself through the owners to use the place at night—traditionally “dead” time––at a bargain rate. Without Angel Ballestier and the rest at Group IV, it would have been impossible to cut such high quality records for the price. So began an illustrious multi-record liaison between band and studio.
Shadowfax members are active on the web, catch up with them on Facebook and MySpace.
A Song for My Brother
Side One: 20:51
New Electric India 5:12, Stinson Ξ
Watercourse Way 5:06, Greenberg-Stinson Ο Ξ
Ghost Bird 5:04, Stinson Ξ
Shadowdance 5:20, Greenberg Ο
Side Two 17:14
Brown Rice/Karmapa Chenno 4:18, D. Cherry ◊
Distant Voice 3:46, Stinson-Greenberg Ξ Ο
A Song for my Brother 9:04, Stinson Ξ
Ξ Selections Greenshadow Music (BMI)
Ο Selections Dream Wheel Music (BMI)
All Selections Administered by Windham Hill Music (BMI)
Emil Richards: Paiste gamelon gongs, bass flapamba, metal and bamboo angklung, wood block marimba, marimba on Shadowdance; Chinese water cymbals, kanjgeera on New Electric India. The percussion ensemble on Shadowdance was conducted by Emil Richards.
Michael Spiro: conga, chekere, guiro on Brown Rice; hand percussion on Watercourse Way, Brown Rice.
This recording was made on Studer 24-track recorders and Trident consoltes with Ampex 456 tape at 30 inches per second. It was mixed to a Studer Mark III half-inch two-track recorder. No noise reduction, compression or limiting was used.
Thanks to Jilll and Don Stegman, Bruce Howard, World Percussion Inc. Phil Manor, Mike Flynn, Christ Andronis, Steven Lowy, Denni Sands and all at Group IV, and Charles Horton at TEAC.
Special thanks to Will Ackerman and Anne Ackerman Robinson for having the faith to make this album possible.