Winter Morning Walks is the first partnership between Schneider and Upshaw, bringing together two preeminent figures in jazz and classical music. Schneider has been commissioned to compose for jazz orchestras and artists all over the world, has won two GRAMMY Awards and has been nominated for several more. Writing for TIME Magazine, Terry Teachout said, "To call Schneider the most important woman in jazz is missing the point two ways. She's a major composer-period." Upshaw was also deemed "one of the most consequential performers of our time" by the LA TIMES, is a multiple GRAMMY winner and MacArthur Fellow, and has performed at the Metropolitan Opera over 300 times. In 2004 Schneider pioneered the fan-funding model by becoming the first artist to sign with ArtistShare® to release 'Concert In The Garden,' the first web-exclusive recording to win a GRAMMY.
Stephanie Mills first came to prominence in 1975 with her performance as Dorothy in the stage version of THE WIZ on Broadway. Although she had released two albums in the mid-70s it was the teaming of Mills with JAMES MTUME and REGGIE LUCAS that made her a bonafide R&B star. The team’s first release on 20th Century was WHAT CHA GONNA DO WITH MY LOVIN’ in 1979. The title track reached the R&B Top 10 and became an instant classic. In addition, the album also spawned two massive club hits in the form of PUT YOUR BODY IN IT and YOU CAN GET OVER.WHAT CHA GONNA DO WITH MY LOVIN’ also featured Stephanie’s reading of PEABO BRYSON’s FEEL THE FIRE which to this day is on heavy rotation on the Quiet Storm radio format in the US.
There's a wealth of information to be found inside the beautiful packaging that accompanies this release, but a brief Theodore Roosevelt quote may be the most telling piece of text to be found there. It reads: "There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty, than the preservation of anything that appeals to the higher emotions in mankind." That really says it all about this artist and her work, for there is nobody more capable of harnessing emotions in music and projecting and preserving the beauty and power of the natural world in sound than Maria Schneider. She's demonstrated that time and again, and she does it once more on this awe-inspiring release.