All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

354

Oregon: Out of the Woods

By

Sign in to view read count
This album can be judged by its cover, an illustration by David Wilcox depicting an idealized old-growth forest. Scattered amongst the too-perfect trees and well-pruned shrubs are various oversized acoustic instruments sharing a well-manicured lawn with a gray squirrel, a curious raccoon, a startled owl and a pileated woodpecker. It's all pleasant greens bordering warm shades of brown and yellow. Well-placed, softly-shaped boulders invite you to sit and relax. The owl and the raccoon stare back at you, as if in anticipation of your next move. It's a place you want to be, and Oregon's music takes you there.

Oregon was Glen Moore on acoustic bass, Paul McCandless on horns, Ralph Towner on acoustic guitar and piano, and Collin Walcott on percussion and sitar. Walcott died as the result of an automobile accident in 1984. All of the members once played together in the Paul Winter Consort, an ensemble originally formed in 1967. Winter reportedly is an early world-music pioneer and seminal New Age musician, but I've never heard anything by him or the Consort. The members of Oregon split off from the Consort around 1970, releasing their debut album, Music of Another Present Era, in 1972. (This was not actually their first effort, an album eventually called Our First Record which was recorded in 1970, but not released until 1980.)

Oregon is neither New Age nor world music, at least in the contemporary sense. To my ears, the group's more readily identifiable influences are the repertoire of the classical chamber ensemble, the collective improvisation of a traditional jazz quartet, and the rhythmic and tonal structure of the music of India. All four members are talented performers, each contributes compositionally, and the ensemble playing is often exquisite. On this album the melodically inventive McCandless plays oboe, English horn and bass clarinet (no saxophones or flutes), setting the tone throughout. Equally important are Walcott's colorful contributions on sitar and tabla, Towner's lovely piano work, and Moore's imaginative support on bass.

Some of Oregon's more energetic moments remind me of Weather Report's more laid-back output. Sometimes I also hear the woodwind chamber music of Samuel Barber or maybe even Carl Nielsen. I am also reminded of My Goal's Beyond, the wonderful 1970 album by John McLaughlin. I bought Out of the Woods when it was released on vinyl in 1978 but I didn't really give it a chance to sink in. It sat on the shelf, largely ignored, for about twenty years. What a mistake that was, but how nice it was to eventually discover a great "new release in my own collection. The album was first released on CD in 1992. These compositions and their performances are a delight to hear for any serious fan of 20th Century music.

This release will be soon be reissued in a double set, along with Roots in the Sky (1979).


Track Listing: Yellow Bell; Fall 77; Reprise; Cane Fields; Dance to the Morning Star; Vision of a Dancer; Story Telling; Waterwheel; Witchi-Tai-To.

Personnel: Glen Moore: bass; Paul McCandless: oboe, English horn, bass clarinet; Ralph Towner: classical guitar, twelve-string guitar, piano, Flugelhorn, percussion; Collin Walcott: percussion, sitar, tabla, guitar.

Title: Out of the Woods | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Elektra Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Lifelike CD/LP/Track Review
Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Whatever Possessed Me CD/LP/Track Review
Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live At The Fillmore East 1968 CD/LP/Track Review
Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "Sounding Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Birdhoused" CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "What What" CD/LP/Track Review What What
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 2, 2018
Read "44/876" CD/LP/Track Review 44/876
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "Transition" CD/LP/Track Review Transition
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 4, 2018
Read "Slade Alive!" CD/LP/Track Review Slade Alive!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 21, 2017