My love affair with the Kai Winding style began in 1967 when I wound up studying trombone in high school after having been told that there was no room in the drum/percussion section for my talents as a drummer. At first I resented having to study the trombone in order to fulfill the school's need for trombonists, but I soon grew to love the instrument.
That first year I frequented the downtown Philadelphia Sam Goody record stores regularly, and saw that there were several jazz trombone artist albums to choose from. Kai Winding, Urbie Green, J.J. Johnson, were just a few. Though I eventually wound up owning several from each artist, I came to love Kai's solo albums and the duo recordings he made with J.J. Johnson, the most.
But my actual introduction to Kai came four years earlier in 1963 when I was just ten years old. I was on vacation with my parents in New York City and we stayed at the Hotel Manhattan. I distinctly remember what the radio in the hotel room was playing when we arrived. It was the Kai Winding hit "More" from the movie Mondo Cane. Soon after, I bought the 45 rpm version of the song. That arrangement (by Claus Ogerman) where Kai plays the ondioline and the trombone definitely caught my ear and I probably played that record to death. It remains among my favorites to this day.
Kai never had the best tonal quality of the leading trombonists, but he had style. I say that not to give any criticism of this consummate professional. But Kai was an "upstream" player and a form of Type IV in the Pivot System (mouthpiece low on the embouchure and airstream directed upwards into the mouthpiece). This produces a totally different tonal quality on the instrument than someone who is a "downstream" player.
Kai certainly knew how to make great arrangements--of that there is no question or doubt. And he genuinely seemed to have fun playing; at least, that's what always came across to me. He was the first to experiment with different numbers of trombones on an album, something later on copied by other famous trombonists.
My favorite pieces to listen to in which Kai participated are "Little Drummer Boy" from Betwixt and Between, "September Song" from More Brass, and "Mangos" from The Incredible Kai Winding Trombones.
Chances are that if you are here, there is something about Kai's playing and/or style that you like, too. I welcome you to this site where I present many of Kai's albums in tribute to this very special jazz musician who definitely left his mark on the jazz and popular music world.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank
Kai's widow, Ezshwan, for contacting me and for offering to contribute
so much valuable material to this site, including many album scans
you will see in the discography. Her friendship, encouragement, &
support has indeed been a highlight of my life. Thanks also go
to Piet van Engelen for his help with listing information, sharing
his photos of Kai Winding's musical equipment and for allowing me to
reprint his Kai Winding 2 Volume book discography within this
website. I am grateful to William Kenlon for his Kai Winding photos,
advertising and other memorabilia he shared for inclusion on this
site. And appreciation goes to David Sheetz for his photos of
Kai, the Stan Kenton Essay and all information on the Pivot
System®. Thanks to Jørn Skovsgaard for his assistance
with the Danish language at the top of this page. I am also
grateful to J.D. Smith, Gregory Flores,
George L. Broussard, Rodney Schmidt, Jon Philpott, Doug Payne,
Jose Sanches Perez,
Brian Philips, Peter Bay, Ed Yachimiak, Tom Coyle, Andrew Williams,
Wolfgang Weissbrodt, "Jazzcorner" Willie from Germany, Suitbert Kempkes, Hannelore Rabus, Joe Kleiner,
Stephen Ryan, Arnaldo DeSouteiro and Ithamara Koorax for their
listings, 45 rpm, LP and CD scans for this site. Additional
thanks go to Leslie Pfenninger of On A&M Records
for providing needed foreign issue listing information and to Laura
Kolb for sending photos and print advertisements for Kai's site.
--B.J. (Barbara J.) Major
Introduction amended on 01/08/09
Including 78 rpm, LPs, CDs, 45 rpm, EP, Unreleased/Unissued Tape & Radio Broadcasts;
Live Concerts, VHS, DVD & YouTube
Kai Winding Sheet Music Covers--HERE
1971 Giants of Jazz World Tour Photos--HERE
1982 Aurex Jazz Festival (Japan) Photos--HERE
Kai Winding featured in Print Advertisements--HERE
Kai Winding Arrangements Housed at the Eastman School of Music (NY)--HERE
LISTEN to and WATCH Kai's solos--HERE
Or, go directly to a specific interview:
Ezshwan Winding Interview, Carl Fontana Interview,
Piet van Engelen Interview, Eli Dimeff Interview
to Other Trombone & Jazz web pages--HERE
by Piet van Engelen--VOLUME I
NOTE: THIS SITE HAS NOW BEEN TOTALLY REORGANIZED AND REDONE IN RECORD LABEL ORDER.
** This official site online since August 2000 **
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