Labels > Cam Jazz > Oregon > In Stride


In Stride

Cam Jazz CAMJ 7830-5

Item: full_album_8024709116024_CD

Artists :
Glen Moore ( Double bass )
Mark Walker ( Drums, Percussion )
Oregon ( Band )
Paul McCandless ( Oboe, Bass Clarinet, Soprano Sax, Flutes )
Ralph Towner ( Classical Guitar, Piano )
Release date
Oct 12, 2010

Four decades of world-wide recognition and musical excellence…
Bringing to the language of jazz a new dialect; incorporating the phrasing of European classical music, the harmonies of jazz and the rhythms of world music into an original sound, known as Oregon.

"Oregon has been the inspiration for most of my music and musical life. Their patience with me, their perseverance in performing just about anything that I write down, and their friendship have made life exceptional for me." (R. Towner)

Recorded in New York on 8, 9, 10,11, 12 February 2010 at Sear Sound Studio
Recording engineer James Farber
Mixed at Sear Sound Studio on 31 March, 1 April 2010 by James Farber

Photos by Andrea Boccalini


Oregon In Stride

With a shared history of 40 years amongst three of its four members—and a fourth now rivaling the group's co-founder, the late Collin Walcott, as percussionist with the longest tenure, it's almost redundant to discuss the inherent chemistry shared amongst the members of the genre-busting Oregon. Woodwind/reed multi-instrumentalist Paul McCandless, guitarist/pianist Ralph Towner and bassist Glen Moore go so far back together—predating Oregon in the Paul Winter Consort , where they appeared on lost gems including Road (A&M, 1970) and Icarus (Epic, 1972)—that there would be something wrong if they didn't interact on a deeper, near-mitochondrial level than most. Still, few groups speak a language so instantly identifiable as Oregon's, and with In Stride—the group's 26th album, and third for the Italian Cam Jazz label, following 2005's Prime and 2007's 1000 Kilometers—Oregon has delivered one of the best albums in recent years by drawing a clear and unmistakable line between its origins in the 1970s and where it is now, in the 21st century. As usual, Towner is the group's primary writer and, as has also been the group's habit for the past several albums, he revisits two older compositions. Taken at a brighter tempo, "Song for a Friend" is pared down to a duet between Towner—on 12-string guitar, the instrument he's made his own, despite rarely touring with one these days—and McCandless on English horn, contrasting the full-group version of Distant Hills (Vanguard, 1974) but still relatively reverent to the original. Reprising "Summer's End," from Towner's last ECM disc to feature a full group, Lost and Found (1996), his decision to turn to piano this time, rather than the original's classical guitar, more clearly speaks to the influence of the late Bill Evans on both his playing and writing. Amongst the six new Towner compositions, the opening "Hop-To-It" makes clear that Mark Walker's use of a full kit may appear more conventional than Walcott and subsequent percussionist Trilok Gurtu's arsenal of hand percussion and tablas, but only on the surface. Where his predecessors were deeply ensconced in the music of India, Walker's reference point comes more decidedly from the Latin world (he's been Paquito D'Rivera's drummer for over 20 years)—though even that marker is deeply subsumed in the kind of seamless, pan-cultural integration that's defined Oregon since inception. His sole compositional contribution, " Nação," suggests growing strength as a writer, with Towner's synth guitar creating a warm pad beneath his classical guitar; Moore's pliant bass locking, hand-in-glove, with Walker's second line-informed pulse; and McCandless' soaring soprano saxophone. As ever, Moore's compositional contribution brings a quirky levity to the album's overall arc, his duet with Walker, "The Cat Piano," alternating between curiously skewed Scott Joplin-esque arco harmonies and lithe pizzicato. McCandless' syncopated "Petroglyph," with 12-string guitar and piano overdubbed in support of his ascending and cascading oboe, feels like a logical evolution of Oregon circa Out of the Woods (Elektra, 1978), as Walker combines hand percussion with delicate cymbal work. There are those who consider Oregon's glory days to be in the past, but with dark-hued and nuanced tracks like Towner's "As She Sleeps" and the brighter "On the Rise"—a compelling combination of vivid lyricism, redolent of Towner's two-decade Italian residence and a potent demonstration of his unique approach to guitar, moving from upper to lower registers in almost call-and-response fashion—there's plenty to recommend, and no sign of the tired predictability that plagues some longstanding collectives. And despite Towner's compositional dominance, Oregon is an egalitarian ensemble. Only the title track seems a tad out of place, a near-anthemic piece, driven by Walker's buoyant groove, Towner's blending of classical and synth guitar tones, and McCandless' fetchingly optimistic melody. But while resorting to a rather atypical backbeat, Towner and McCandless' effortless navigation through the song's relentlessly shifting changes—and one of Towner's most impressive solos of the set—keeps it well within the Oregon continuum, bringing In Stride to a strong, definitive close. A close to an album that would be impressive under any circumstances, but when coming from a group that, entering its fifth decade, has largely managed to avoid repetition and easy predictability, In Stride is nothing but sure indication that, rather than winding down with age, Oregon has plenty of promise still ahead.

9/12/2010allaboutjazz.comJohn Kelman
Oregon In Stride

Cuatro décadas después, el veterano cuarteto nortemaericano sigue siendo fiel a su heterogénea filosofía musical, una idea del jazz que pasa por hiur de cualquier corsé estilístico y se abre a lo que en cada momento puedan aportar sus cuatro componentes. En In Stride, Oregon presenta riffs alegres sustentados a ratos por el swing, a veces por ritmos más cercanos al rock, y desarrollos que se acercan al free sin llegar a desprenderse de la idea original. Los temas evolucionan a partir de cambios de tono que buscan el crecimiento en la expresión antes de regresar a la línea principal que motiva cada pieza. En el disco permanecen las influencias tradicionales de Oregon, la música clásica europea y la world music, pero también hay esapcio para la balada jazzística que Miles Davis llevó a una nueva dimensión restándole elementos. El disco se cierra con el tema que le da nombre y que nace de una línea pentatónica mayor que evoca a África para penetrar de lleno en los inteminables caminos que ofrece el jazz.

7/3/2011cuadernosdejazz.esTxus Díez
Oregon In Stride

Attivi fin dagli anni ‘70, gli Oregon, più che un gruppo musicale, rappresentano forse uno spaccato di storia. Parliamo, infatti, di quattro musicisti virtuosi, capaci di resistere all’erosione del tempo senza trascurare l’originalità delle loro composizioni. L’ultimo lavoro del quartetto, In Stride, pubblicato da Cam Jazz, è un disco molto raffinato, elegante (ma allo stesso tempo orecchiabile) in cui confluiscono sonorità etniche e popolari che si mescolano alla tradizione più "cool" del jazz. E proprio come un buon vino d’annata, che invecchiando migliora sempre di più, Paul McCandless, Ralph Towner, Glen Moore e Mark Walker (arrivato nel 1996) non sembrano aver perso la voglia di contaminare, di stupire e di stupirsi. I brani da loro composti, infatti, somigliano a delle figure geometriche perfette che stimolano le parti più nascoste del nostro udito.

15/4/2011SuonoCarlo Cammarella