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Steve Winwood Says It's "About Time"

For his first album in six years, Steve Winwood has decided it's "About Time" to take another world view of music.
The English pop veteran has dusted off his Hammond organ and joined forces with a Brazilian guitarist and a Cuban drummer to record an album that marks the first release by his own label.
"About Time" (Wincraft Music) will be released on June 3, preceded by a U.S. tour that kicks off this month. Winwood was previously signed to Virgin Records, which released four of his albums, most recently 1997's "Junction Seven."
During his 40-year career, Winwood has embraced varied forms of music either as a solo artist or in his earlier stints with the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Blind Faith. The new album blends rock 'n' roll and world music, centered on Winwood's bluesy vocals and trusty Hammond B3.
"I've been interested and have had a love for African and Cuban rhythms for years now, and toured in 1998 with Tito Puente and Arturo Sandoval," Winwood, 54, told Reuters via e-mail.
He began work on "About Time" two years ago, working initially with guitarist Jose Neto, who he has known since the 1980s. Drummer Walfredo Reyes, Jr., with whom Winwood worked on the 1994 Traffic reunion tour, rounded out the core trio. Both musicians are "firmly rooted in English rock," Winwood added.
Opting for a live studio sound, they worked alone on four songs, while the balance of the 11 tracks included contributions from Karl Denson on flute and saxophone, Karl Vanden Bossche on congas and Richard Bailey on timbales. The album features such Latin-tinged tunes as "Cigano (For The Gypsies)," "Domingo Morning" and a cover of the 1972 Timmy Thomas song "Why Can't We Live Together."
On the business side, Winwood joined forces with Boulder, Colo.-based Madison House Inc., a diversified firm with interests in design, ticketing, merchandising and publicity. Madison will manage Winwood in the United States and will administer his Wincraft label through SCI Fidelity Records, a 50/50 venture with cult jam band the String Cheese Incident.
"I wanted a company which handled all facets of my work. SCI Fidelity and Madison House fit this vision I had of having everything under one roof," Winwood said. "As I got to know them, I felt confident in their ability to administer my companies, and this gave me the freedom to maintain creative integrity and ownership of my copyrights." By Dean Goodman, LOS ANGELES, Reuters/VNU


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