The Windham Hill label, featuring mostly New Age instrumental music, is practically a genre in itself. You know if you pick up a Windham Hill CD, be it pianist George Winston or some Hawaiian slack-key guitarist, you're gonna get soothed.
The Women of Windham Hill tour includes pianist Liz Story, harpist Lisa Lynne and singer-songwriter Barbara Higbie, each offering a different food group in the New Age pyramid.
Story is one of Windham Hill's most successful artists, a Juilliard-trained classical musician who seemingly prefers jazz piano. You likely heard selections from her holiday albums this morning at whatever café you were at. Her impressionistic interpretations of traditional themes are quite beautiful, even if you're sick and tired of "Greensleeves." She also has decades' worth of other material, but let's face it - post-Thanksgiving, you're gonna get the carols.
Lynne was supposedly introduced to the Celtic harp after, I kid you not, sneaking into a Renaissance fair. She performs songs with titles like "Fairy Nightsong" and "Dream Dance," so you kind of know what you're going to get. But given her talent and Overture Hall's acoustics, her harp will sound fantastic.
Melding folk and jazz, Higbie plays piano, guitar and violin equally well, and has an alto croon that would likely have been more appreciated 80 years ago than today. Her Windham Hill jazz album Live at Montreux with Darol Anger is a classic, and her eclectic array of songs is likely to make her set the most memorable of the group. However, she has also performed quite a few holiday classics, and my guess is they'll be popping up too.