Kai Winding

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Kai Winding
Winding in New York, c. January 1947
Winding in New York, c. January 1947
Background information
Birth nameKai Chresten Winding
Born(1922-05-18)May 18, 1922
Aarhus, Denmark
DiedMay 6, 1983(1983-05-06) (aged 60)
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Years active1940–1983

Kai Chresten Winding (/ˈk ˈwɪndɪŋ/ KY WIN-ding;[a] May 18, 1922 – May 6, 1983)[2] was a Danish-born American trombonist and jazz composer. He is known for his collaborations with fellow trombonist J. J. Johnson. His version of "More", the theme from the movie Mondo Cane, reached in 1963 number 8 in the Billboard Hot 100 and remained his only entry here.


Winding was born in Aarhus, Denmark.[2] His father, Ove Winding was a naturalized U.S. citizen, thus Kai, his mother and sisters, though born abroad were already U.S. citizens. In September 1934, his mother, Jenny Winding, moved Kai and his two sisters, Ann and Alice. Kai graduated in 1940 from Stuyvesant High School in New York City and that same year began his career as a professional trombonist with Shorty Allen's band. Subsequently, he played with Sonny Dunham and Alvino Rey,[2] until he entered the United States Coast Guard during World War II.

After the war, Winding was a member of Benny Goodman's orchestra, then Stan Kenton's.[2] He participated in Birth of the Cool sessions in 1949,[3] appearing on four of the twelve tracks, while J. J. Johnson appeared on the other eight, having participated on the other two sessions.

(From left:) Eddie Safranski, Kai Winding, Stan Kenton, Pete Rugolo, and Shelly Manne, c. January 1946.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb

In 1954, at the urging of producer Ozzie Cadena, Winding began a long association with Johnson,[2] recording trombone duets for Savoy Records, then Columbia. He experimented with instruments in brass ensembles. The album Jay & Kai + 6 (1956) featured a trombone octet and the trombonium. He composed and arranged many of the works he and Johnson recorded.

During the 1960s, Winding began an association with Verve Records and producer Creed Taylor. He released the first version of "Time Is On My Side" in 1963 before it was recorded by Irma Thomas and The Rolling Stones. His best selling recording from this period is "More," the theme from the movie Mondo Cane, which reached number 8 in the Billboard Hot 100 and remained his only entry here.[4] Arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman, "More" featured what is probably the first appearance of the French electronic music instrument the ondioline on an American recording. Although Winding was credited with playing the ondioline, guitarist Vinnie Bell, who worked on the session, claimed that it was played by Jean-Jacques Perrey, a pioneer of electronic music. Winding experimented with ensembles again, recorded solo albums, and one album of country music with the Anita Kerr Singers. He followed Creed Taylor to A&M/CTI and made more albums with J. J. Johnson. He was a member of the all-star jazz group Giants of Jazz in 1971.[2]

His son, Jai Winding, is a keyboardist who has worked as a session musician, writer and producer in Los Angeles.[5]

Kai Winding died of a brain tumor in Yonkers, New York in 1983.[6]


As leader/co-leader[edit]

With J. J. Johnson

As sideman[edit]

With Ralph Burns and Leonard Feather

With Quincy Jones

With Stan Kenton

With King Pleasure

  • 1954 King Pleasure Sings/Annie Ross Sings
  • 1954 The Original Moody's Mood
  • 1955 King Pleasure

With Pete Rugolo

With Zoot Sims

  • 1949 The Brothers
  • 1952 Zoot Sims All Stars
  • 1962 Good Old Zoot

With Sarah Vaughan

  • 1955 In the Land of Hi-Fi
  • 1957 The George Gershwin Songbook, Vol. 1
  • 1958 The Rodgers & Hart Songbook
  • 1965 Viva! Vaughan

With others


  1. ^ "'my name is pronounced Kai as in fly, Winding as in woodwind,' he told Crescendo International, though not unreasonably many people mispronounced Kai to rhyme with Jay" (i.e., /ˈk/, presumably because Winding's partnership with J. J. Johnson led the pair to be nicknamed "Jay and Kai" in the titles of multiple albums).[1]


  1. ^ Jeske, Lee; Kernfeld, Barry "Winding, Kai". The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd ed.). Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Kai Winding | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  3. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 434/5. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  4. ^ Kai Winding Songs, chartsurfer.de
  5. ^ "Jai L. Winding Discogs". Discogs.com.
  6. ^ Kennedy, Shawn G. (8 May 1983). "Kai Winding, 60, Trombonist and a Leader of Jazz Groups". The New York Times. p. 26.
  7. ^ "Kai Winding | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 October 2017.

External links[edit]