Winter spends his summer with Leon
BY Ellis Widner Tribune Entertainment Editor
Aug 6, 1988
1/16/13 at 2:21 AM
The partnership between Tulsa native Leon Russell, nicknamed “the master of space and time,” and Texas-born Edgar Winter, the hit-maker of “Frankenstein” fame, came about by accident, Winter says.
“Leon and I were booked on a couple of shows together and he invited me to sit in. The response of the audience was astounding. We also had so much fun. Leon asked if I would consider a tour and I found the idea of just playing music, without the pressure of leadership, very appealing. The tour went so well, we just continued doing it.
Winter says one of the pleasures of working with Russell is that he gets to play a lot more saxophone than he did with his own group.
“My group was power guitar-oriented rock,” Winter, 41 says. “But the saxophone is my main instrument. It was ingrained on my mind from the early rock and roll records of Little Richard and Fats Domino, where the sax was more the premier instrument than guitar. My influences were Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and King Curtis.”
Winter cites other benefits of working with Russell.
“I like sharing the spotlight and the vocal work. And, we play for larger audiences together than either of us alone was able to do.”
On Sunday, Russell and Winter make their third stop in the Tulsa area since forming their musical partnership. In previous shows, they alternated songs in an entertaining presentation.
“I also sing Leon’s “This Masquerade,” which is one of my favorites. Leon told me he never had felt comfortable with it since George Benson recorded it and asked me if I would sing it.”
Next up, Winter says, is an album of new songs co-written by the pair.
“So far, we’ve written 11 songs and couple of record companies are interested. When Leon completes his new studio, we will finish recording them.
Winter says he has a new album ready for release, but that delicate negotiations won’t allow him to comment on it, except to say it has a science fiction theme and is “unlike anything I’ve ever done.”
Known as a keyboard player, Winter says he likes working with synthesizers and high-tech recording equipment.
It is something good to take advantage of, if you use live musicians with it. I like drum machines, but only in combination with live drums. I am not fond of records made solely by machines.”
His goals, Winter says, remain unchanged.
“Right now, I’m concentrating on the album I have coming out and on the album with Leon. I expect, within the next year, these things will be on the radio and we’ll be playing larger concerts.
“But the bottom line is this: I love music and I’m going to keep playing, regardless of the circumstances and the level of success.”