In Your Ear: George Wilson

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Renowned classical pianist George Winston opens his music file and shares what is playing in his ear (in addition to his own work, of course).


Now to a segment we like to call In Your Ear. Last week, we caught up with renowned pianist George Winston to talk about his latest album, "Love Will Come: The Music of Vince Guaraldi, Volume 2." Guaraldi was a jazz pianist best known probably for composing music for the animated television shows based on the "Peanuts" comic strip. Winston first paid tribute to Guaraldi in 1996 when he offered his own take on classics such as "Linus & Lucy" and "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving." But today, Winston tells us about three very different songs that have inspired him.

(Soundbite of song, "Hey Now Baby")

Mr. GEORGE WINSTON (Musician): This is George Winston. One song I'm listening to right now is the late great New Orleans R&B pianist Professor Longhair's "Hey Now Baby" from 1949 from the Atlantic album, "New Orleans Piano." And I've been trying to play this piece for 31 years and I've just kind of now getting it. I first heard it in 1979. And I'm now, I think getting it.

(Soundbite of song, "Hey Now Baby")

PROFESSOR LONGHAIR (Blues Pianist; Singer): (Singing) Hey now baby, hey now honey child.

Mr. WINSTON: And it's an interesting piece because every time I approach it, I approach it different. So, I can't figure out how to play it. Same thing with his version of "Tipitina" and the other - the jazz standard W. C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues," I can never figure out how I want to play them.

(Soundbite of song, "Hey Now Baby")

PROFESSOR LONGHAIR: (Singing) You know I love you. Yes, I really do. I cross my heart, what more can I do? Yes, I love you. Every word is true. You know I want you, what more can I do?

Mr. WINSTON: Another piece, the late great guitarist Ted Greene, his version, on his album "Solo Guitar" of "Medley: Summertime/It Ain't Necessarily So."

(Soundbite of music, "Medley: Summertime/It Ain't Necessarily So")

Mr. WINSTON: Ted Greene's intros and endings are unbelievably beautiful as well as his interpretations, his use of beautiful, warm, colorful, luscious chord harmonies.

(Soundbite of music, "Medley: Summertime/It Ain't Necessarily So")

Mr. WINSTON: And third, the late great Sam Hinton on his album, "Sam Hinton: Master of the Solo Diatonic Harmonica." His version of "Bonaparte's Retreat," which I play it a different way on solo harmonica, but I'm just now incorporating about half the way I play it and about half the way he played it. And that's been 34 years - takes me a long time.

(Soundbite of music, "Bonaparte's Retreat")

MARTIN: That was George Winston, telling us what's playing in his ear.

To hear our full conversation with George Winston, please go to our Web site at, click on programs and then on TELL ME MORE.

(Soundbite of music)

MARTIN: Coming up, more than a dozen jurisdictions nationwide now allow the use of marijuana with a prescription and medical marijuana dispensaries are popping up all over the country. But who grows all that stuff? We asked a man who calls himself quote, "your ganja guide."

Mr. GEORGE VAN PATTEN (Author, "Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Grower's Bible"): In school - I went to school in Mexico and started smoking cannabis there and then came back to America and found out that there was very little information on growing it and there was a lot of misinformation. So, I decided to straighten things out, so to speak, and write a book about growing indoors.

MARTIN: That conversation is just ahead on TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

I'm Michel Martin.

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