Origin: New York City, NY, USA - Victoria, British Columbia
Paul Horn. Flutist, saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, b New York 17 Mar 1930; B MUS (Oberlin) 1952, M MUS (Manhattan) 1953. He was a member in 1956 of the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra and 1956-8 of the Chico Hamilton Quintet. Through the 1960s he led a popular jazz group while working in Hollywood studios. In 1968 he recorded Inside, an album of improvised flute solos, on location at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, signaling his move in a more reflective direction that corresponded with his then-recent involvement with transcendental meditation. The album eventually sold more than 750,000 copies.
In 1970 Horn moved to Victoria, BC and in the years following performed and recorded both jazz and what would come to be called new age music, playing flutes in several registers, piccolo, and alto and soprano saxophones. From his Canadian base, he continued to travel widely, delving enthusiastically into musical and cultural exotica. He visited China 1978-9 and 1982, performing there informally, and made three trips to the USSR 1983-8 - the first with what was effectively a US band that included his son Robin (drummer, b Los Angeles 17 May 1960, a pupil of Jim Blackley) and the third with Robin and three Vancouver musicians, Miles Black (keyboards), Rene Worst (bass) and Jim McGillveray (percussion).
In addition to recording in the Taj Mahal, Horn made albums or parts thereof in the Great Pyramid of Gizeh in Eygpt (1976), the Temple of Heaven in Peking (1979), and the Kazamierus Cathedral in Vilnius, Lithuania (1983). He recorded again in the Taj Mahal in 1989, bringing full circle what he has called his 'Inside' series. In Canada Horn had his own CTV series in 1973 and has prepared music for several NFB productions and other films. Several of his recordings in the 1970s were issued under the Mushroom label in Vancouver; others in the 1980s appeared under Horn's own Golden Flute label, established in 1982. Horn's autobiography, Inside Paul Horn: the spiritual odyssey of a universal traveller, written with Lee Underwood, was published in San Francisco in 1990.
Hailed as a founding father of new age music, Paul Horn is a versatile and widely popular recording artist with a number of albums to his credit, including Inside the Taj Mahal, which has sold more than three-quarters of a million copies. Flutist Paul Horn's story is an inspiring odyssey of world travel, expansive musical creativity, psychological evolution, and spiritual transformation. For over three decades, Horn has maintained a high public profile, increasing his audience even as he has changed creative directions - classical music, jazz, fusion, pop, new age music, world music.
Horn has journeyed around the world several times, often playing for thousands of people in concert halls, recording these albums in their famous locations—Inside the Taj Mahal, in India, Inside the Great Pyramid , in Egypt, and Inside the Cathedral, in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 1987, he made a recording that was nominated for the Best New Age Grammy; no wonder he entitled that album Traveler. Born in New York, raised in Washington D.C., Horn began his study of classical piano and clarinet as a child. He graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and earned his Masters degree at the Manhattan School of Music. After a stint in the Army, he briefly played in the Sauter–Finegan big band, then joined the famous Chico Hamilton Quintet.
Living in Hollywood, Horn quickly established himself as a jazz star on flute, clarinet, and saxophone. These were the glory years—touring and recording with Chico Hamilton; friends with Miles Davis, Tony Curtis, Tony Bennett; leader of his own quartet and quintet groups; celebrated in the Downbeat, Playboy and Metronome jazz polls; selected as the subject for David Wolper's TV documentary The Story of a Jazz Musician; freelance studio musician and guest soloist on dozens of albums; member of the NBC Staff Orchestra; on screen as an actor in The Sweet Smell of Success and The Rat Race. For all of his professional success in the 50s and early 60s, Horn nevertheless felt profoundly dissatisfied. His first marriage was on the rocks. In December, 1966, Horn packed his bags and flew to India, where he stayed for four months and became a teacher of meditation, guided by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Meditation opened the doors to the inner world. Horn's life was transformed.
In 1968, Horn returned to India as the producer of a film on Maharishi and meditation. The Beatles, Donovan, Shirley MacLaine, and other celebrities had discovered Maharishi. The ashram was overrun with media people; the film production proved disastrous. However, on this trip Horn recorded Inside the Taj Mahal, a major forerunner of today's New Age music and still a best–seller.
Fed up with Hollywood studio life, Horn toured with pop star Donovan, earning enough money to move to Victoria, B.C., in 1970. He resumed family life with his two sons and a new wife, Tryntje. He built a new house and launched and independent career.
Horn lectured on creativity and the higher spiritual values of music; he taught meditation to students. He traveled to Egypt, China, Scotland, and elsewhere, recording in each location. He founded his own label, Golden Flute Records, and learned the business of music. He hosted his own eighteen-week Canadian network TV series; helped cure Haida, an ailing killer whale by playing soothing music; was guest soloist with various symphony orchestras; formed a new quintet; scored music for films, and recorded another best selling new age classic, Inside the Taj Mahal II. He also traveled to Russia four times, met the people face–to–face, played concerts in Moscow, Leningrad, and elsewhere, recorded three albums, gained invaluable insights into the problems that exist between Russia and America—and offered possible solutions.
In his book Inside Paul Horn (HarperCollins), Horn summarized his life as follows, "We are journeying externally from country to country, instrumentally reflecting the merging of many diverse world cultures. We are traveling in historical time, from the present to the distant past. We are traveling inwardly as well, through the music of meditation."