April 28, 2004 News & Features » Cover Story

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John Winn 

Eastward bound.

A singer and multi-instrumentalist, Winn has the chops and flexibility to fit in anywhere, but he was glad to come back to the Richmond scene. “Its not just the music you make,” he says, “it’s who you make it with.”

One of Winn’s current groups, the John Winn Quartet, won a highly competitive selection for the U.S. State Department Jazz Ambassadors Program. After performing at the Kennedy Center May 20, it leaves for a six-week tour of the Far East. Stops include Seoul, Vladivostok and Cambodia. The band includes drummer Robbie Sinclair, bassist Curtis Fye and pianist Daniel Clarke.

“Daniel Clarke is probably my favorite musician in town now, to deal with or to play with,” Winn says of his former student. “He comes with no expectations, just the attitude that anything can work. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Such openness meshes with Winn’s approach. “As time goes by I consider myself less and less a jazz musician,” he confides. “I like what’s organic, the music that speaks to me emotionally. I want to keep everything as natural as singing, to be a schooled musician who never forgets how to play by ear.” — Peter McElhinney

Winn’s May 20 Kennedy Center performance will be broadcast live on the Internet; for information go to www.kennedy-center.org.


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