It’s almost a shame that pianist George Winston is such a pillar of the New Age-heavy Windham Hill label, because this album — the long-in-coming fourth volume of his ”seasonal” solo collections, following Autumn (1980), December, and Winter into Spring (both 1982) — is not only his best yet but just the kind of thing a lot of people who shun this type of music on principle might actually like. Tranquil without being meditative and void of the sometimes abstract virtuosity of his earlier records, Summer includes pieces by composers ranging from Randy Newman to Carmine Coppola, as well as Winston himself. Though a few of the tracks bear traces of the New Age Curse — so many sweet-tempered arpeggios you want to scream — most are simple, reflective pieces with their roots in age-old gospel and folk harmonies, played with a truly captivating tenderness. If you’ve always wondered what a cross between Chopin and Pete Seeger would sound like, here’s your chance to find out. A-

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