Paul was schooled in the classical tradition. His mother, before marriage, was the singer, pianist and recording artist, Frances Sper. She had her own radio show in NY and also worked with Irving Berlin as an accompanist. Paul Horn cut his teeth on jazz, in small clubs in Washington, DC in his teen years. He later attended The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, then received his Masters Degree at The Manhattan School of Music in NY.
Inspired by the likes of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and later by modern masters such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, Horn would eventually embrace the spiritual path of Transcendental Meditation, learned in-depth and personally from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. While Goodman was his original musical inspiration, Larry Durrell, the main figure in Somerset Maugham’s novel of spiritual exploration, The Razor’s Edge, catalyzed his quest for inner peace and connection with the divine.
While in India working as producer on a documentary of the Maharishi, Horn visited the Taj Mahal, which would wind up changing the course of musical history. Late at night, with the tourists far away, Horn played his flute, sometimes in a tandem of call and response with the singing guide, who earlier in the day had inspired Paul with the unique acoustics in the dome of the Taj.
Over a year later, through a music industry connection, Horn scored a deal to have his Taj recording released. It began to sell immediately without any air play whatsoever. As a result, he soon passed many of his more well-known jazz contemporaries in record sales, toured the world with Donovan, hung out with The Beatles and became a central figure in the modern transcendental movement that was an integral component of the sixties. All of this confounded most jazz critics during that era, who refused to take Horn’s new musical explorations seriously.
While he still deeply loved the idiom that gave birth to Young, Parker, Trane and Miles, Horn never looked back. He sought out other sacred spaces around the planet, from Egypt, Russia and China to the great canyons of the Southwest, to sound his own personal note into the geometry of the divine. Two DVD’s of Paul’s journeys to Tibet, the award winning Tibet and Return To Mount Kailash are in circulation in one DVD package and both been met with critical acclaim. Recently, he has collaborated with his wife, the esteemed Canadian performer, Ann Mortifee, in workshops, presentations as well as the recording for In Love with the Mystery.
Paul currently splits time in the American Southwest and British Columbia.