First things first. The full title of this decorous CD is Morning Sun: Adventures with OboePaul McCandless with the Paul Winter Consort: A Retrospective. It covers sixteen recordings made by oboist McCandless spanning a forty-year period (1970-2010), all save three with the Winter Consort. Needless to say, a large number of musicians were involved; their names are listed in the CD booklet, accompanying each selection. McCandless plays oboe most of the way, English horn on "The Steppes of Central Asia," "Witchi Tai To," "Sunderland," "Common Ground" and "Twilight." McCandlesss was a member of the Consort from 1968-72, after which he formed his own long-running group, Oregon, for which he is best known, as he continued to perform on special occasions and record with Winter's ensemble.
While the Consort's music includes some elements of jazz, it is perhaps more accurately described as "world music," "new age" or "earth music," in that it often incorporates the sounds of animals and nature within its inclusive musical panorama. What is beyond dispute is that Winter's approach has been quite popular, as evidenced by the staying power (and record sales) of the group. Over the years, McCandless has played a significant role in that success; although he is not a frequent or creative improviser, his mastery of the oboe and English horn was a paramount reason for the Consort's early prosperity, lending the group a distinctive sound that set it apart from others in that genre.
Besides playing on every one of the album's numbers, McCandless wrote or co-wrote seven of them and arranged J.S. Bach's powerful "Fantasia in G." The opening selection, "All the Mornings Bring," is his, as is the second, the pastoral "Elves' Chasm." Cellist Eugene Friesen ("Bright Angel"), the late Jim Pepper ("Witchi Tai To"), guitarist Ralph Towner ("Um Abraco"), Jeff Holmes ("Sunderland"), Ivan Lins ("Common Ground") and pianist Don Grusin ("Twilight"co-written with McCandlessand "The Last Train") are among the other composers, as is the Russian Alexander Borodin ("On the Steppes of Central Asia," best known in this country as the introductory passage to "Stranger in Paradise" from the Broadway musical Kismet.). Winter's splendid liner notes provide essential input about the why, how, where and when of every number.
Those who are familiar with new age music in general and the Paul Winter Consort in particular should know what to expect from Morning Sun. Those who aren't should be apprised in advance that the jazz content is minimal and by and large incidental.
All the Mornings Bring; Elves’ Chasm; Bright Angel; Whooper Dance; On the Steppes
of Central Asia; Witchi Tai To; Sunset on the Great Sand Dunes; Um Abraco; Anabela;
Sunderland; Eagle; Common Ground; Twilight; The Last Train; Fantasia in G; Morning
Paul McCandless: oboe, English horn, shaker; Paul Winter: alto, soprano sax; John
Clark: French horn; David Darling: cello; Eugene Friesen: cello; Ralph Towner:
guitars; Oscar Castro-Neves: guitar; Webster Santos: guitars; Paul Haley: piano,
organ; Don Grusin: keyboard; Paul Sullivan: piano; Tim Brumfield: organ; Glen
Moore: bass; Sizao Machado: bass; Herb Bushler: bass; Eliot Wadopian: bass; Gary
King: bass; Jamey Haddad: drums; Steve Gadd: drums; Collin Walcott: percussion;
Glen Velez: percussion; Bre: percussion; Guello: percussion; Café: percussion;
Gordon Gottlieb: timpani; Steve Gorn: bansuri; John-Carlos Perea: voice; Renato
Braz: voice; Jim Scott: voice.
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