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George Winston at the Flagstar Strand, 3 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

George Winston’s piano music is not necessarily what you’d usually consider dramatic.

But his recent life certainly has been.

The Grammy Award winner’s latest release, “Spring Carousel,” came out of a battle with cancer (his second) and his recovery after a bone marrow transplant to combat the Myelodysplastic Syndrome in 2012. Proceeds from the album are going to the City of Hope, where Winston not only had his treatments and recovered but also began composing the songs on a piano in the facility’s auditorium.

“Spring Carousel” features 15 pieces from 59 he recorded, and Winston has been happy to use the music to pay it forward as he tours...

• Winston, 68 -- who was born in Michigan but moved to Montana when he was very young -- says “Spring Carousel” “just chronicled that particular time period” he spent at the City of Hope. “A bunch of these songs sort of serendipitously happened. I picked these 15 out of those because they seemed to work together to make a statement. It wouldn’t have happened without the City of Hope, without their treatment for their piano.”

• This year marks the 45th anniversary of Winston’s debut album “Piano Solos” (aka “Ballad And Blues”), a long tenure whose length surprises him. “Some days it just kind of feels like all one day, and another day it might feel like 45, 50 years. It depends on my state of mind any particular day,” he says. “I remember it all. I just keep trying to play better every week. I’m in the studio every day I’m not touring, working on my music or other people we produce.”

• Winston has a number of projects he’s working on, including a third volume of Vince Guaraldi songs, an album called “Night: A Love Story” and another collection of songs by the Doors, a personal favorite. “Basically I catch music and it tells me what to do,” Winston says. “Some things take a long time for me, but I always endeavor to do it, and they all seem to get done in time. And people still want to listen to it after all these years, which is great.”

If You Go:

• George Winston

• 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16.

• Flagstar Strand Theatre, 12 N. Saginaw St., Pontiac.

• Tickets are $25-$55. Some proceeds go to Gleaners Community Food Bank.

• Call 248-309-6445 or visit flagstarstrand.com.

• Note: The theater is warning patrons about a scam by the second party ticket sales site Vivid Seats, which is selling counterfeit tickets. Tickets should be purchased only through the Flagstar Strand box office or web site.

Web Site: www.flagstarstrand.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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