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Paul Winter Consort & Icarus

We’re on an unofficial Ralph Towner kick, I guess, having featured his stuff on the ECM label here and just recently here. And so here’s his tune “Icarus” from the eponymous album (1973).

Ralph Towner (guitar), Paul Winter (soprano sax), Paul McCandless (oboe), Collin Walcott (tabla, drums), David Darling (cello), Herb Bushler (bass). Most of these guys were also in the contemporaneous group Oregon, which played a similar kind of jazz-folk. At that time, Colin Walcott was the king of “ethnomusicology,” bringing into the musical mix all sorts of instruments from around the world, mostly percussion, and playing them with genuine expertise, without sounding cheesy. Paul Winter Consort’s music can be considered the precursor to World Music, New Age music, and “Earth Music,” none of which are my thing at all. But in the 70s there were very memorable gems like this. “Icarus” pushes the ambience almost to the edge of ponderous gushy romanticism, but doesn’t quite fall off. Some of the other, over-orchestrated versions of this song go over the edge, but this one is saved by the musical texture, I think.


8 responses to “Paul Winter Consort & Icarus

  1. Liz

    that screams ’70s–but you’re right, it’s not cheesy. The instruments work well together–fun song. Reminds me of a theme song for an ’80s TV drama, but can’t remember which one. ??

  2. wdydfae

    Dang, you’re right. I kept trying to think of a tv theme that sounded like this, and I finally realized it was Room 222:

  3. Liz

    I would watch for the hairstyles and wardrobe alone. And yes, she is a perky one. about those bananas: any chance you’ve been by my last two food for fun posts?

    • wdydfae

      I did indeed discover something about bananas in your recent posts. But I was traumatized by the photos of bananas with brown peels popped open to reveal all thiat gooey, sludgy, pasty, discolored banana substance inside. Euuuuuuuwwwwwwwwuh! Then I was doubly traumatized by the fact that I was grossed out by anything on Liz’s site, of all places!

      • Liz

        sorry for the trauma. maybe I should have preceded that post with a content warning similar to what you do. Though I assure you that the result was worth it. Brought some cake for you to try. (who am I kidding–this is virtual and you’re not going to get any cake here. but just for fun, go ahead and suspend that belief 😉 )

      • wdydfae

        Well, the finished product banana cake did look awful good.

        In the follow up post, you could have also given a content warning about Minnie’s undergarments.

        Sheesh. Really pushing the envelop there, Liz.

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