WH-1035 Windham Hill Records Sampler ’84


Windham Hill Records Sampler ’84 – Selections from the Windham Hill Records Album Catalogue

Michael Hedges / Mark Isham / William Ackerman / George Winston / Shadowfax / Alex de Grassi / Scott Cossu / Billy Oskay & Micheal O Domhnaill

Windham Hill Records Sampler ’84 Review

Coming at the absolute crest of Windham Hill’s artistic and financial success, this is arguably the album to recommend if you are only to have one Windham Hill album. And if you were relegated to some kind of special hypothetical hell that allowed only one Windham Hill album in your life, well, it would be a hell with a bit of mercy in it if this were indeed the one pressing to keep you company. It’s got it all: Hedges, Ackerman and de Grassi on the groundbreaking acoustic guitar end; George Winston’s Thanksgiving representing the holiday albums to come with its autumnal glow, and the ensemble performances of Shadowfax, Nightnoise (before they were Nightnoise), Scott Cossu, and Isham’s On the Threshold of Liberty.

The Windham Hill Annual samplers were a driving force in the label’s popularity. Ask anyone who was around at the time, and they’ll remember either George Winston, the Winter Solstice albums or the samplers. The samplers were frequently featured on the Billboard charts, far outselling the original albums in virtually every case. Each release has its own flavor. ’81 had a focussed purity on solo performances, ’82 adds contemplative complexity akin to chamber jazz. On this release, there’s an expansiveness and confidence in the composition and performances that for the first time brings the underlying joy to the surface.

The mastering here is by the legendary Bernie Grundman. Grundman was mastering engineer for A&M records for many years before staring his own studio in Hollywood in 1984. The BG mark in the runout grooves generally is as good a guarantee of quality as is Rudy Van Gelder’s RVG mark. Production is most frequently by Steven Miller, whose work clearly grew with the label – or possibly helped drive the growth of the label.

Windham Hill Records Sampler ’84 Liner Notes

Side One

  • Aerial Boundaries 4.45
  • Michael Hedges
  • Naked Ear Music BMI & Windham Hill Music BMI
  • Aerial Boundaries WH-1032
  • Produced by William Ackerman, Michael Hedges and Steven Miller
  • On the Threshold of Liberty 7.29
  • Mark Isham
  • Windham Hill Music BMI
  • Vapor Drawings WH-1027
  • Produed by Steven Miller
  • Ventana 5.18
  • William Ackeman
  • Windham Hill Music BMI
  • Past Light WH-1028
  • Produced by William Ackerman and Steven Miller
  • Thanksgiving 4.04
  • George Winston
  • Windham Hill Music BMI
  • December WH-1025
  • Produced by William Ackerman and George Winston

Side Two

  • Shadowdance 5.20
  • Shadowfax
  • Greenshadow Music BMI, Administered by Windham Hill Music BMI
  • Shadowdance WH-1029
  • Produced by Chuck Greenberg


  • Western 4.02
  • Alex de Grassi
  • Tropo Music BMI, Adminstered by Windham Hill Music BMI
  • Southern Exposure WH-1030
  • Produced by William Ackerman and Steven Miller
  • Oristano Sojourn 4.55
  • Scott Cossu
  • Silver Crow Music BMI and Windham Hill Music BMI
  • Islands WH-1033
  • Produced by Steven Miller
  • The Cricket’s Wicket 6.16
  • Billy Oskay and Micheal O Domhnaill
  • Nightnoise Music BMI and Windham Hill Music BMI
  • Nightnoise WH-1031
  • Produced by Billy Oskay and Micheal O Domhnaill


  • Digital Transfer and Assembly by Steven Miller and Dan MacDonell at M&K Sound Corporation, Culver City, CA
  • Mastered by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering, Hollywood, CA
  • Cover Photo by John Cooper
  • Design by Anne Robinson
  • Manufactured by Windham Hill Records, a Division of Windham Hill Productions Inc. Box 9388, Stanford, CA 94395 (c) (p) 1984 Distributed by A&M Records, Inc.
  • Windham Hill is a registered trademark of Windham Hill Productions Inc.
  • All Rights Reserved.

12 Replies to “WH-1035 Windham Hill Records Sampler ’84”

  1. I completely agree with your take on this. This was one of the samplers that I discovered (on cassette!) at the local library as a 12 or 13 year old in the late 80s, and I was completely hooked on Windham Hill from that moment on. It’s an extraordinary collection of music. (A note for fellow musicians: check out the fantastic use of 9/4 time in Shadowdance.)

  2. I have been waiting for your review of WH Sampler ’84 as it was the first WH album I purchased – in that magical fall of ’84 when I started college. Your review beautifully describes the excellence of this album – and it was a well loved soundtrack to a high water mark period of my own life. Thank you for a very enjoyable site.

    1. Thanks very kindly. By the way, that makes us about the same age. I actually felt a little young for Windham Hill, but the music was a constant companion to me throughout high school (Class of ’84), college (Class of ’89, took a gap year as an exchange student), wedding, vacations, kids… and today.

      1. Johnny – Neat that we have a synchronicity in times. I was born in ’66 (July), and we probably have many similar touchstones! Again thank you for a wonderful site that has been a perfect complement to re-listening to the WH catalog.

  3. Can someone confirm how I can get myself the ‘Windham hill – First Ten years’ collection? I am in South Africa and was introduced by my friend at a boarding school. Was hooked since. I had it on a cassette, but got lost at university. I cannot find it anywhere in South Africa. Can you guys guide me as to how I get that classic compilation? Please email details on [email protected] or [email protected] . Thanks

  4. Thanks John,
    I know it’s been over a year!! But will try. By the way, any reason why there aren’t any streamed windham hill music on the internet?

    1. Sabelo, I can only presume that Sony/Legacy hasn’t thought that they would get the return on the effort it takes to list them. It doesn’t make sense to me, but they are the rights holder.

      1. Hi John,

        Any chance you can continue your reviews where you left off? Very enjoyable and informative. Thank you.

  5. I discovered Windham Hills listening to NPR broadcasts. Back then NPR frequentlyused music segments in between radio articles. I bought this Sampler and have been hooked on Windham Hill ever since. The calming music relieved the stress of college courses and made studying easier for me. I miss my old vinyl records that I foolishly have away years ago. Still love Windham. Wish I could download them, but can’t find a source.

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