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Oregon

Oregon emerged in 1970 as a splinter band from the Paul Winter Consort. Its members each had experience in jazz, classical, and a variety of non-western musical styles, and were also multi-instrumentalists. Ralph Towner played standard acoustic and 12-string guitar, piano, a variety of electric keyboards, trumpet and flügelhorn. Paul McCandless' instrumental arsenal included oboe, English horn, soprano sax, bass clarinet, the musette, and tin flute. Collin Walcott handled most of the percussion duties on tabla and various African and Latin rhythm instruments plus sitar, dulcimer, clarinet, and violin. Glen Moore was the bassist, and also played clarinet, viola, piano, and flute. They suffered some snide comments labeling them the "Modern Jazz Quartet of the '70s" or "a white, European imitation of the Art Ensemble of Chicago." In truth, they were an excellent ensemble playing a hybrid style that wasn't exactly jazz, and certainly wasn't rock, but liberally quoted and borrowed from free jazz, Asian, African, European and pop music sources. They began on Vanguard, later moved to ECM, and also issued albums on Elektra and Portrait/Columbia. Walcott's death in a car accident in 1984 was a major blow but he was eventually successfully replaced by percussionist Trilok Gurtu. Oregon has worked at times with some guest players (including Zbigniew Seifert, Nancy King, and Elvin Jones). Their Elektra albums were reissued on CD by Discover, while their Vanguard and ECM albums have also been remastered and re-released on compact disc. Mark Walker, a master percussionist and drummer from Chicago, eventually replaced Gurtu, and became a full-time member of Oregon in 1996. Beginning with 2005's Prime, Oregon recorded for the CAM Jazz label. Family Tree appeared in 2012. ~ Ron Wynn, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I remember in the early seventies seeing a Paul Winter Consort in the evening at the University of Delaware, out of all of the universities in the USA and, the very next day Paul Winter conducted a free music seminar were Paul and the Consort, would gave anyone who could play a instrument a change to jam with the Consort itself. It was a real thrill to play along with the band.
Every positive number can be expressed in just one way as a product of prime numbers. For instance, 60 is made up of two 2s, one 3, and one 5. (This is why we don’t take 1 to be a prime, though some mathematicia n s have done so in the past; it breaks the uniqueness, because if 1 counts as prime, 60 could be written as 2 x 2 x 3 x 5 and 1 x 2 x 2 x 3 x 5 and 1 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 3 x 5 ...)

The primes are the atoms of number theory, the basic indivisible entities of which all numbers are made.
cdexrun8
I've loved these guys since I first heard them. They continue to be amazing!
Someone needs to tell Led Zeppelin they are not the best band of all time
chambeob
Like others, I'm surprised that Out of the Woods isn't here. I don't think that it's their best or more original album, but it is still a great album, I'm pretty sure it's also the one best known outside the hardcore fan circles.
Distant Hills was my entry album....the Woodstock and John Cage days.
Hypnotic, transcendant , etherial, mystical, soulful, seductive, emotionally orgasmic. These are mere words that fall far short of the experience. Is this Heaven?
i got to see Trilok Gurtu play w / John McLaughlin trio at the Mountain Winery venue near San Jose, CA and it remains one of my favorite percussion performances ever. I love Oregon - have one of their Winter Light CD, which was w/ original percussionis t .
In 72 my mother brought me to Paul Winter Consorts. She said they had just played at the White House for President Nixon. I was 12 and was sure I would hate them. I was blown away. Ralph’s guitar was thrilling. I have been playing sense 6. There was this huge square set of drums hanging from logs lashed together. And a two sided xylophone type instrument sitting on the floor protruding out of the stage. The music from Road, to this day gives shivers. Love these guys!
In '71 my future wife turned me on to the pre-Oregon "Road" by Winter Consort (thanks Janet) - I believe recorded '69, the 1st recording of Towner's "Icarus", a live version. Since then McCandless has been a personal favorite. If his fans are interested, his collaboratio n '94 with Bela Fleck on Acoustic Planet album and tour. Also 2000 "Head West" by Comotion with Anger/Marsha l l duo. These are exceptional multi-genre projects, and if you haven't, do yourself a favor and seek them out. PEACE
garyo
Agree w/ all, need "out of the woods" but Oregon always was totally original. The Walcott era was the "real" Oregon in my book, though Gurtu's excellent in other combos. (He's too loud and in front for Oregon in my taste).

Saw them at Harvard just before Walcott's death; it was simply transcendent . The audience was held in such rapt attention that the end of the song was like coming out of a long dream.
seen oregon in nyc mid 70s so much music so much time and so affordable to see tons of performances . i love the comment page get to learn and reminisce.
trawill
Where on earth are "Out of the Woods" and "Roots in the Sky"? Those are BY FAR their best albums. When they went electric the music suffered.
The Oregon live compilation was great. I'm disappointed that they don't have "Out of the Woods" in the discography.
One of my all time favorites is their Oregon Live compilation, it took you there and allowed you to stay.
I agree with Mr. French about the lackluster discography above, even though I am a big fan of the early music and continue to listen to it. I'm also a fan of Trilok Gurtu, although generally I think Mark Walker has been a better percussionis t for this ensemble. The most recent material is spectacular, and it's good to hear the group revisit some of their easlier compositions and give them a fresh reading. The most trenchant comment is also Mr. French's: "They're completely unique."
odessa2pasha
i agree,but my #1 is "roots in the sky"
They're completely unique. The discography here is lacking; except Prime & Beyond Words, it's all 70s era; there's lots of brilliance inbetween. Many of us were dismayed at Walcott's death, and feared Oregon would dissolve... but I recall the first concert I saw after Gurtu joined: the piece "Ecotopia" was met with spontaneousl y prolonged, grateful applause, as if we all realized at that moment that Oregon was BACK, and would continue rewarding us with the music only they could make.

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