OregonBeing a novice Jazz listener, I can hardly place critic remarks on Oregon's place in the world of Jazz Music. However, the huge volume of work produced by the groups and by each of its members is shamelessly overlooked, and even over a huge resource like the Internet only few words are spared on the band and its music.
Oregon is essentially a Jazz quartet, only that the musicians and the music are not typically something you'd tag as 'Jazz'. Ralph Towner, Paul McCandles and Collin Walcott worked together in Paul Winter Consort's Icarus back in 1972, playing a major role in creating the album. The three were joined by Glen Moore to form Oregon. Their first album, Music of Another Present Era, was released in 1973, defining exactly what the band was out to produce in its 25 years of existence.
Ralph Towner is well known for his one-of-a-kind guitar playing. He wrote many of the band's compositions, and has also run a successful career in the ECM record label, releasing many solo albums as well as working with other musicians. He plays 12 string and classical guitars, piano, synths, organ, french horn, flugelhorn, cornet, trumpet, mellophone, musette and percussion.
Glen Moore has achieved his own personal sound, extending the upper and lower ranges of his bass. He plays bass, viola, violin, flute and piano.
Paul McCandles is well identified for his oboe, taking the role of the trumpet in a jazz quartet, though not quite the same. He plays oboe, english horn. saxophones, clarinet, tin and wooden flutes.
Collin Walcott is what you'd consider the bands "drummer". He has, however, mastered indian instruments and brought a whole different atmosphere to the band's music. He played percussion, sitar, tabla, clarinet, congas, dulcimer, guitar and piano.
Oregon started out on the Vanguard label, releasing several albums and a live one which I whole heartedly recommend, In Concert.
Out of the Woods
This is in my opinion Oregon's best album. It is far less experimental than its predecessors, and more harmonic instead.
The ethnic influences are easily noted, but in this album they are beautifully orchestrated into the whole. Even the jazzier tracks are relatively mild and one can easily track down the basic melody.