Paul Horn: Jazz flautist and New Age pioneer who recorded inside the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramid of Giza


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The Independent Online

Paul Horn was an innovative jazz flautist and pioneer of New Age music. He began playing the piano at the age of four, the clarinet at 10 and the saxophone at 12. He studied the clarinet and flute at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, and later gained a master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

He mover to Los Angeles, where he played with Chico Hamilton's quintet, recording his debut album Something Blue in 1960. He established himself as a sought-after session man, and worked with such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett. In 1970 he moved with his family to Canada, forming a quintet and recording scores for the National Film Board of Canada.

A practitioner of transcendental meditation, he was, perhaps, best known for his innovative work with both metal and wooden flutes. His Inside recordings drew on the echoey acoustics in spiritually important buildings, beginning with the Taj Mahal, during a trip to India in 1968 during which he spent time with the Beatles at Rishikesh.

He went on to record inside the Great Pyramid of Giza, as well as in cathedrals and in the canyons of the south-western US with the Native American flautist R Carlos Nakai. He also recorded with orcas.

In 1998 he made recordings inside the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the spiritual home of Tibetan Buddhism – the first westerner to be given permission to do so. He returned to the country in 2003 to film on the sacred mountain, Mount Kailash, where he scattered the ashes of his former travelling companion, the Buddhist monk Lama Tenzin.


Paul Horn, musician: born New York 17 March 1930; married three times (two sons); died Vancouver 29 June 2014.