Paul Horn | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Paul Horn 

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PAUL HORN

Paul Horn may be the Deepak Chopra of musicians, but he's also an awfully good flutist with an enormous curiosity about ethnic music. Trained in classical piano and clarinet as a child, Horn set out on a conventional career in the 50s with degrees from Oberlin and the Manhattan School of Music. But he soon turned to jazz, and joined the Chico Hamilton Quartet after a stint in the army. By the early 60s he was making a living playing flute, clarinet, and sax, leading his own ensembles and working as a Hollywood studio musician. On a spiritual pilgrimage to India in '66 he met up with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (later celebrated as guru to the stars) and became a disciple of transcendental meditation; a return trip yielded the recording Inside the Taj Mahal, a repository of New Age postures that's still a best-seller. Now, more than 30 albums later, the British Columbia-based Horn remains an ace instrumentalist and inveterate traveler. His musical sojourns--and spiritual quest--have taken him to Egypt, China, Brazil, Russia, Scotland, and elsewhere. (Not surprisingly, some of his CDs bear monikers such as Nomad and Traveler.) At each destination, Horn jammed with local musicians, often on indigenous instruments. Yet while advocating music as a conduit to universal harmony, he has managed to homogenize much of the ethnic variety he encounters. He's even whitewashed a bit the likes of Bach, Palestrina, and Pachelbel on a recent classical-oriented CD titled Music (Celestial Harmonies), an otherwise superior compendium of flute techniques. Horn's music--like much New Age material--can sound simplistic and monotonous after a while. Then again, it's been credited with curing killer whales, so the effect on a Ravinia crowd might be something to see. Saturday, 7:30 PM, Bennett Hall, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park; 728-4642.

TED SHEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Paul Horn.

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