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A Quiet Revolution: 30 Years Of Windham Hill

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 8, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Don't say "new age" around Will Ackerman, though his label has been the home to acoustic instrumental music for 30 years. The pastoral beauty prized by Windham Hill is conjured by the moon-and-evergreens label logo, by the four volume titles here ("Elements," "Peace," "Artistry" and "Excursions") and most of all by Clockwork Alex de Grassi; Moon George Winston; Peace Piece Liz Story; Time After Time Tuck & Patti; Hugh Nightnoise; several tracks by Ackerman; unique recordings by Janis Ian, Jane Siberry and Bobby McFerrin, and the rest of these 67 Windham Hill favorites!

Amazon.com

In the 48-page booklet that accompanies the handsome, hardbound packaging of A Quiet Revolution, long-time producer Dawn Atkinson succinctly defines Windham Hill's core sound as "acoustically rooted music that is a blend of folk, classical and jazz influences." Guitarist Will Ackerman, who launched the label in 1976 with a tiny pressing of solo works, boils its essence down to a single word, adding "it's a word seldom associated with the music industry: innocence." Windham Hill rocked the music trade in the late 1970s by turning down the volume and cultivating intelligent, heart-probing, all-instrumental music that--largely through word of mouth--won over legions of fans attracted to the label's earthy vibe, elevated craftsmanship, and overriding sense of purity. Much of what gave Windham Hill its soul-stirring allure is nicely displayed in this four-disc anthology--a 67-track compilation that includes four previously unreleased live tracks (including "Because It's There" by guitarist Michael Hedges and "Clockwork" by Alex de Grassi).

The music on A Quiet Revolution is sorted by general style, not chronologically. Discs 1 and 2, Elements and Peace, focus more on the label's pastoral textures, and disc 3 (Artistry) explores more ambitious or ensemble pieces. Disc 4 (Excursions) might be viewed by some long-time fans as "Wayward Hill," with its assortment of latter-day vocal stylings and traces of smooth jazz. Beyond that and a few other head-scratching choices, there's much to like here, with stellar tracks from Liz Story (whose brilliant Solid Colors may be the label's finest release) to works from Ackerman, George Winston, Nightnoise, and lesser-known artists, such as guitarist W.G. Snuffy Walden and his small gem "Angela Smiled." Enlightening liner notes are by Echoes radio host John Diliberto and former Billboard writer (and past Windham Hill staffer) Sam Sutherland. For newcomers curious to know what the blissful fuss was all about a few decades ago, A Quiet Revolution provides an inviting overview. --Terry Wood

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter - Will Ackerman
  2. Wedding Rain - Liz Story
  3. Dolphins - Darol Anger & Mike Marshall
  4. Aerial Boundaries - Michael Hedges
  5. Cloudy This Morning - George Winston
  6. The 19A - Billy Oskay & Micheal O'Domhnaill
  7. Western - Alex de Grassi
  8. O, Shenandoah - Philip Aaberg
  9. Flowers Of Edinburgh - Pete Huttlinger
  10. Another Country - Shadowfax
  11. The Road Back Home - Doyle Dykes
  12. After The Harvest - Angels Of Venice
  13. Inverness - Alex de Grassi
  14. Callisto's Sky - Thea Suits Silverman
  15. Moon - George Winston
  16. Night In That Land - Nightnoise
  17. Three Observations Of One Ocean - Will Ackerman

Disc: 2

  1. III. Sanctus - Tim Story
  2. True Story - Barbara Higbie
  3. Gwenlaise - Scott Cossu
  4. The Light & The Longing - Lisa Lynne
  5. Reflection - George Winston
  6. When I Was 4 - Michael Hedges
  7. Open Doors - Jim Brickman
  8. Peace Of Mind - Schönherz & Scott
  9. Engravings - Russel Walder
  10. Visiting - William Ackerman
  11. Hugh - Nightnoise
  12. Love Song To A Ballerina - George Winston
  13. Calling You - Jean Jeanrenaud & Paul McCandless
  14. All I Ever Wanted - Jim Brickman
  15. Andante From Sonata #2 In A Minor For Unaccompanied Violin - Chris Botti
  16. Peace Piece - Liz Story

Disc: 3

  1. Angela Smiled - W.G. Snuffy Walden
  2. Silky Flanks - Nightnoise
  3. Escape of the Circus Ponies - Liz Story
  4. Because It's There - Michael Hedges
  5. Tideline - Darol Anger & Barbara Higbie
  6. Welcoming - Michael Manring
  7. Billy in the Lowlland - George Winston
  8. Clockwork - Alex de Grassi
  9. Fionnghuala (Mouth Music) - Nightnoise
  10. The Townshend Shuffle - Will Ackerman
  11. The Orangutan Gang (Strikes Back) - Shadowfax
  12. Rickover's Dream - Michael Hedges
  13. Out Of The Frame - Philip Aaberg
  14. Europa - Tuck & Patti
  15. Tamarack Pines - George Winston
  16. On The Threshold Of Liberty - Mark Isham

Disc: 4

  1. (You'll Be) Satisfied - Johnny Ray Allen
  2. Time After Time - Tuck & Patti
  3. Valentine - Jim Brickman & Martina McBride
  4. Real Life - Ray Obiedo
  5. Who Holds Your Hand - Patty Larkin
  6. Houses in the Fields - John Gorka
  7. Follow Me - Jane Siberry
  8. Po Mahina - Keola Beamer
  9. On the Dark Side of Town - Janis Ian
  10. Vaquinha Mansa - Cesaria Evora
  11. Turning To Peace - Paul Schwartz
  12. Pavane - Steve Erquiaga
  13. Hush Li'l Baby - Jim Brickman
  14. That Kind of Man - The Nylons
  15. Hannibal's Revenge - Andy Narell
  16. Desert Crossing - David Arkenstone
  17. Fever Trees - Bobby McFerrin
  18. Takes My Breath Away - Tuck & Patti


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 8, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: November 8, 2005
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 293 minutes
  • ASIN: B000BKDOCU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,423 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 1, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Sixty-seven tracks spread across four discs and nearly five hours of music provide a thorough look into the vision of Windham Hill's founder William Ackerman. Windham Hill, which began in 1976 with the release of Ackerman's SEARCH OF THE TURTLE'S NAVEL, became the leading proponent of new age music.

The first CD (entitled "Elements") begins with Ackerman's enchanting "The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter," one of his most gorgeous melodies. The earliest track is from Disc 3 (entitled "Artistry"): the energetic "The Townsend Shuffle," from Ackerman's second album released in 1977. The most recent track is "Calling You" from Joan Jeanrenaud & Paul McCandless' 2005 release CINEMA.

All of Windham Hill's major artists are here: Ackerman (4 tracks), Alex de Grassi (3), Jim Brickman (4), Liz Story (3), Michael Hedges (4), Nightnoise (4), and George Winston (5). There are also four previously unreleased tracks (all live recordings): David Arkenstone's "Dessert Crossing," Jim Brickman's "Open Doors," Barbara Higbie's "True Story," and Alex de Grassi's "Inverness."

The first three discs present a clear picture of the "Windham Hill sound." However, For listeners who have been drawn to the Windham Hill label for its instrumental new age ambience, Disc 4 will be an eye opener with all but five of the tracks featuring vocals. The music on this disc ranges from the blues of the Subdudes' "(You'll Be) Satisfied" and Tuck & Patti's jazzy take on Cyndi Lauper's "Time after Time" to the Latin rhythms of Ceseria Evora's "Vaquinha Mansa" and the country balladry of guest vocalist Martina McBride on Jim Brickman's "Valentine."

Overall, this is a welcome and satisfying addition to any music library for collectors who enjoy relaxing music.
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1st, I could care less if this 4 disc set is missing a few of other "best" contenders (i.e. single pieces) from Windham's long and excellent history.

Here's why I give it 5 stars:

1. Knockout CD sound! Among the best sound of my best CD's.

2. Knockout mastering! Sound on these 4 discs is as if it were done recently, with excellent track to track volume matching; and has decent dynamic range.

3. It's a mix, where each successive track is generally a different instrument. 1st 3 discs have few if any vocals; 4th disc has more than a few vocals.

Cheers
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This is a great way to tone down all the frustrations of driving. It is so enjoyable listening to it you don't even mind having to slow down in traffic jams. This was a lot less expensive than in some of the mail order catalogs you get. About half price.
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By K. Bailey on January 18, 2012
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Nice packaging, and it's good to have (mostly) instrumental music for relaxing/projects, but there are a few lyrical pieces in there (one jewel: That Kind of Man by the Nylons,) but these are mostly not wanted. And finally, the instrumental music itself, though nice, is too repetitive and boring. Still, it's good to have some 'filler' music for reading.
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Four Cd set some new music to me some old favorites from Windham Hill. The set comes with a booklet about artist and songs.
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One of the best collections of Windham Hill music I have ever listened to. I can listen to it again and again. It's super!
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For those of you that appreciate this type of music, this is a wonderful compilation of the artists throughout the years. I ordered this because most my my Windham Hill collection is on tapes! This set gives a broad review of thing I've heard and pieces I haven't heard before.
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Enjoyable listening for most of the tunes on CDs. Few tunes grate on the nerves somewhat. Not entirely easy listening.
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