Jazz CD Reviews
Oregon – 1000 Kilometers – CamJazz
Published on April 8, 2008
(Paul McCandless, horns; Ralph Towner, classical guitar & piano; Glen Moore, doublebass; Mark Walker, drums & percussion & drum synthesizer)
Sorry I missed Oregon’s 24th album in over 35 years when it came out last year, but better late than never, plus they’re appearing here in Oregon towards the end of April. The unique quartet, which has been an influence on world music and New Age music as well as jazz, came together originally at the University of Oregon in the early 1960s. McCandless and Towner were also part of the Paul Winter Consort for some time. The members double on many different instruments to come up with a wider range of sounds that you would expect from the typical jazz quartet. Towner plays many different kinds of guitars, with up to 12 strings, plus keyboard sythns. McCandless is a reed man extraordinaire – bringing to Oregon the special timbres of soprano and sopranino sax, oboe, English horn, bass clarinet, and various flutes.
The title they gave their CD is tied in with the album’s dedication to their former European agent Thomas Stowsand, who died recently. When they were on the tours he organized over the years, they would sometimes have to drive over 1000 kilometers from one concert venue to the next. They began to call such a distance a “Stowsand” in grumbling tribute to him.
Most of the dozen tracks are compositions of Ralph Towner, though each of the other three members also gets in one original from their own pen, and another is credited to the band as a whole. All are varied and strikingly original, ranging from only one minute length to the longest – the CD’s title tune at ten-and-a-half minutes, giving everyone plenty of time for interesting solo work. Sonics are clean and immediate; the recording session took place in Germany during one of Oregon’s typical European tours.
Deep Six, From a Dream, Catching Up, 1000 Kilometers, Bayonne, Simone, Free Imp, Back Pocket, Relentless Imp, Paraglide, The Bactrian, 1000 Kilometers (reprise)
– John Henry