- Steve Larson
Jazz chamber ensemble. Its original members were Paul McCandless (oboe, english horn, bass clarinet), Glen Moore (double bass, violin, piano, flute), Ralph Towner (acoustic guitar, piano, french horn, trumpet, flugelhorn), and Collin Walcott (tablā, sitar, clarinet, percussion). They all played in the Paul Winter Consort before forming their own group in 1970; the percussionist Trilok Gurtu joined the group after Walcott’s death in 1984 and the drummer Mark Walker replaced Gurtu in 1993. Oregon’s style combines an eclectic mix of classical music, modern jazz, and non-Western musics and prefigured developments in what was subsequently marketed as world music; the timbre and sensitivity of their chamber style offered a sonic precedent for new age music. Their sensitive interaction in performance has allowed them to improvise collectively without assuming rigidly defined roles. Their recordings include pieces based upon complex harmonies, such as “Yellow Bell,” and others based on a drone or free improvisation. While the soaring oboe in “Icarus” is typical, the fact that the musicians play 60 to 80 different instruments has given the group a wide palette of sounds. The group was still performing and touring in the early 2010s and has continued to push and blur musical boundaries, as evidenced by their acclaimed collaboration in ...