A couple of sequels and a tribute to Professor Longhair are on the docket for piano virtuoso George Winston's next projects.

A couple of sequels and a tribute to Professor Longhair are on the docket for piano virtuoso George Winston's next projects.

Winston, who released "Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions -- A Hurricane Relief Benefit" this year, is working simultaneously on the Longhair album, as well as a second edition of his tribute to the late Vince Guaraldi (1996's "Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi"). There's also "a melodic album" called "Night: A Love Story, Vol. 2," a follow-up to 2004's "Montana -- A Love Story."

"I like doing it that way," the California-based Winston, who also owns the Dancing Cat Records label, tells Billboard.com about juggling the varied projects. "It's a bit like a garden. You plant some seeds that grow different things -- some flowers over here, vegetables over there. Every now and then you go out and prune as needed and take care of them, and eventually they're grown and ready to be taken out of the garden."

Winston says the Guaraldi album, to be titled "Love Will Come: The Music of Vince Guaraldi Vol. 2") is "probably the closest one to being ready." But he's particularly excited by his work on the Professor Longhair album, which pays homage to the New Orleans piano legend Winston calls one of his major influences.

"I first heard his music in 1979 and was just so inspired by it," explains Winston, who didn't include a Professor Longhair song on the "Gulf Coast Blues..." album but did write a piece dedicated to him called "Blues For Fess, Beloved." "I have the deepest relationship with his music that I have with any music."

"I'm approaching it now, finally, after 28 years," he continues. "I'm playing them all solo instrumental, whereas he usually sang or had a band. So like I did with the Vince Guaraldi tunes, I've got to convert them to solo piano. I'm kind of slowly getting there; I'm almost there, but not quite yet."

Winston is currently on the road playing a selection of his spring and summer songs on both piano and Hawaiian slack-key guitar.