Labels > Cam Jazz > Oregon > 1000 Kilometers


1000 Kilometers

Cam Jazz CAMJ 7803-2

Item: full_album_8024709780324_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
Aug 28, 2007

Following the success of the album PRIME and their countless PRIME tours, Oregon delivers this gem, dedicated to a dear friend of over 30 years, Mr. Thomas Stöwsand.

"...This album, as well as the title song, is lovingly dedicated to him. His friendship and joyous presence was and will remain an irreplaceable part of Oregon. During the many tours that he organized over the years, sometimes it would be necessary to drive over 1000 kilometers to reach the next concert venue. With a bit of light-hearted grumbling, this distance came to be called a "Stöwsand" in the band's parlance..." (Oregon)

Nominated at the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards (February 2008) for:
- Jazz Instrumental Solo, Paul McCandless
- Instrumental Composition, Mark Walker

Recorded in Ludwigsburg on 20, 25 November 2006 at Bauer Studios Recording engineer Johannes Wohlleben

Photos by Paolo Soriani



The challenge facing any longstanding group is retaining its core qualities while remaining contemporary and vital as the years pass. Oregon may well be the longest-running group in jazz today, with three of its four members together since its inception in 1970. Its ability to combine detailed composition with near-telepathic free improvisation can still be heard on 1000 Kilometers, the group’s 24th recording, but what’s also immediately evident is a group that’s by no means standing still. Had original percussionist/sitarist Colin Walcott not died in a tragic accident in 1984, it’s a near certainty that he’d still be playing with woodwind multi-instrumentalist Paul McCandless, guitarist/keyboardist Ralph Towner and bassist Glen Moore today. Still, drummer/percussionist Mark Walker has been with the group for more than a decade, so it’s time to stop considering him the new kid on the block. Opening 1000 Kilometers with his propulsive and Latinesque “Deep Six”—Walker’s first tune to be featured on an Oregon record—it’s clear that he’s an integral part of the group’s current soundscape. It may be only possible to fully appreciate his remarkable ability to combine a conventional drum kit with an array of hand and electronic percussion when seen in performance, but it’s become a new fundamental for the group, one of many factors that keeps Oregon from being caught in a stylistic time warp. Towner remains the group’s primary composer. New pieces—the Mediterranean-inflected “Catching Up,” a beautiful guitar/reed duet with McCandless on the all-too-brief “From a Dream,” and the elegantly pastoral title track—find Towner’s distinctive and recognizable harmonic voice and ability to write challenging yet unforced material intact. The dark-hued and somewhat ambiguous “Simone,” first heard on Towner’s Anthem (ECM, 2001), demonstrates how a solo guitar piece can be re-orchestrated for a group by breaking out its individual components. As always, Moore is the dry humor beneath Oregon’s normally serious veneer. “Back Pocket” is a light-hearted duet with Walker, where Moore’s robust tone and imaginative ideas groove hard alongside a loosely played backbeat. “The Bactarian”—one of Moore’s most compelling pieces—is bolero-like, a 23/8 pattern that blends Towner’s synth pads and a simple melody to provide the grist for a strong solos from McCandless and Towner. McCandless’ energetic “Bayonne” shows just how well Oregon has integrated technology since first abandoning the all-acoustic approach of its early days on Oregon (ECM, 1983), featuring McCandless’ most dramatic solo of the set. No Oregon album would be complete without some free improvisation. “Free Imp” is spacious but angular, while “Restless Imp” demonstrates the same kind of magical spontaneous composition as “Buzzbox,” from In Performance (Elektra, 1980). With so many milestones in its discography it’s difficult to assess any new Oregon album in comparative terms. Still, 1000 Kilometers easily stands alongside the group’s best, and proves that, despite the appearance of being long in the tooth, Oregon still has plenty to say.

26/08/2007www.allaboutjazz.comJohn Kelman

Throughout their long existence, Oregon have consistently performed music that is difficult to categorize. Some of their acoustic ventures, particularly in the group's earlier days, could be considered "world jazz" or "folk-jazz" due to the unusual instrumentation, avoidance of conventional blue notes, and original pieces. On 1000 Kilometers, there are times when the group actually sounds close to Weather Report in the 1970s, particularly when electronics and Paul McCandless' soprano are utilized. But there are also performances that sound far from Weather Report, focusing on Ralph Towner's acoustic guitar, McCandless' other instruments, and the rhythm team of bassist Glen Moore and drummer Mark Walker. The music constantly keeps one guessing, and although McCandless is generally the lead voice in the ensembles, all four musicians make strong contributions. 1000 Kilometers is a fine effort from a very unique band.

25/08/2007http://wm08.allmusic.comScott Yanow
Oregon er muligens den mest seiglivede gruppen som fortsatt er aktiv i jazzen

Dette er deres 24. plate. Gruppens opprinnelige perkusjonist og sitarist Colin Walcott døde i en ulykke i 1984, og ble erstattet, først av Trilok Gurtu, senere av Mark Walker. Det er de eneste forandringene som har skjedd. Gitarist/pianist Ralph Towner fremstår som en uformell musikalsk leder i gruppen som også teller Paul McCandless med sine mange treblåserinstrumenter og Glen Moore på bass. Det vil være galt å kalle Oregon for en typisk kammerjazzgruppe. Kvartetten er satt sammen av musikere som har forskjellig bakgrunn, felles er det at de fleste har stor sympati for såkalt verdensmusikk, gjerne med utsprang i den fjerne Østen. Deres musikk er lett identifiserbar, både fordi Paul McCandless har så uvanlige hovedinstrumenter som obo og engelsk horn, men også fordi Towner har en helt spesiell klimprende spillestil, særlig på gitar. Musikken på «1000 kilometers» har fjernet seg en god del fra det karakteristiske verdenspreget, til fordel for mer kjente impulser fra europeisk kunstmusikk. Deres musikk er full av overraskende rytmiske skiftninger, harmonisk originalitet og luftig improvisasjon. De spenner fra musikk i frie former, som i «Free Imp» og «Relentless Imp», til boleroaktige «The Bactrian», latinspenninger og enkelte showeffekter. Inn i det hele er lagt en rekke spennende «dueller» mellom to av instrumentalistene

19/09/2007www.nordlys.noAv Kjell Moe
OREGON 1000 Kilometers – four stars

Consistency doesn’t always have to be the infirmity of lesser minds.
Oregon – Paul McCandless (reeds), Ralph Towner (classical guitar/piano), Glen Moore (bass), and Mark Walker (drums/percussion) – have functioned at a high level for so long that excellence is taken for granted. By their audience, perhaps; certainly not by them. Instrumental virtuosity is a given, but another constant is the evidently shared pleasure in music-making. No doubt, the congenial blend of personalities helps, but a factor must also be the contribution that Towner’s diverse originals, among others, make to the band’s sense of renewal. “1000 Kilometers” offers Spanish, north African and classical flavours, even a touch of country hoedown. The music is spacious, rustic, open, (two pieces are freely improvised) and impeccably performed.
One for aficionados.

07/09/2007The Irish TimesRay Comiskey

Oregon, one of the first jazz-sympathetic bands to embrace world music without compromising spontaneity or sources, will be 40 years old in 2010. The original quartet of unplugged virtuosi made a series of scintillating albums from 1970 to 1984 embracing jazz, classical, Asian and Native American material. Then its visionary percussionist Collin Walcott died in a road accident, and an unsteadier momentum since has included insinuations of a drift toward classy easy-listening. 1000 Kilometers (from the original surviving members plus drummer Mark Walker) doesn't exactly recapture their unique mellifluous dignity. But guitarist/pianist Towner's talents are still a big strength, and two-thirds of these pieces are his, from Latin swingers given the Oregon stamp by Paul McCandless's pure reeds tone, to the thoughtful title track. Two collectively generated pieces, richer in improvising, are the subtlest explorations of Oregon's special tonal palette, however.

14/09/2007The GuardianJohn Fordham
Oregon, “1000 Kilometers”

If you only heard the disc’s opener “Deep Six” with Paul McCandless playing soprano saxophone and not his usual oboe, bassoon or clarinet, you’d never know you were hearing Oregon, the greatest of all jazz/classical/folk fusion bands (mostly because there are precious few others.) Once into the rest of the disc, though, you are in familiar, poetic and rhapsodically pastoral musical territory. The death of the group’s original percussionist Collin Walcott in a 1984 car crash while on European tour forced a musical identity crisis resulting, a couple decades later, in something like “Bayonne,” whose electric slickeries and backbeats from drummer Mark Walker would once have been unimaginable. Their collaborative sensitivity, though, remains — and remains a wonder at that.

22/09/2007www.buffalonews.comJ. S.
Oregon - 1000 Kilometers

Dopo il formidabile successo dell’album “Prime”, lo storico e ormai quasi leggendario quartetto di Ralph Towner torna alla carica con un nuovo disco, come il precedente edito da CamJazz: “1000 Kilometers”. L’album si apre con l’esplosiva “Deep Sex”, primo brano a firma di Mark Walker a finire in un album degli Oregon: è un mix di hard bop – reso soprattutto dagli incroci tra il pianoforte suonato in modo estremamente ritmico e percussivo da Towner e i fiati di McCandless – e ritmiche complesse tenute in piedi non solo dalle percussioni di Walker ma anche – e forse soprattutto – dal contrabbasso di Moore. Ritroviamo ancora gli specialissimi fiati di McCandless nella brevissima “From a Dream”, dove sono sostenuti con eleganza e discrezione dalla sola chitarra di Towner. La chitarra è invece in primissimo piano in “Catching Up”, sostenuta da un clarinetto basso che è una sorta di asse portante del brano. La composizione ha marcatissimi toni mediterranei, che fanno immediatamente pensare ad Al di Meola, specialmente in album come “The Infinite Desire”. Il brano contiene anche un formidabile assolo alle congas di Walker, che non fa altro che aumentare la bellezza di un brano già decisamente efficace. E’ poi la volta della title-track, in cui Raplh Towner torna al pianoforte per costruire una sorta di elegantissima pastorale, edificata su un tessuto accordale semplicissimo ma estremamente efficace, con la morbida linea melodica ancora una volta delineata in maniera impeccabile dall’oboe. All’interno del brano Towner si ritaglia lo spazio per un lungo e articolato assolo di piano, con uno stile immediatamente riconoscibile, fortemente melodico e decisamente emotivo, molto attento alle sfumature nel fraseggio. La penna della composizione è poi affidata a McCandless in “Bayonne”, che vede il ritorno di alcune sonorità elettroniche decisamente dosate e convincete su un sottile tessuto funkeggiante ricamato da Walker, e che vede il fiatista impegnato in un assolo connotato da forti tinte drammatiche; è probabilmente uno dei momenti di più alto lirismo del disco. Forse il miglior assolo di chitarra si trova invece in “Simone”, dalle tinte più vicine a lavori targati Oregon come “Northwest passage”, con tinte a tratti quasi fosche e più complessi armonicamente. Naturalmente – proprio com’era per “Northwest passage” – non mancano alcuni brani in cui a farla da padrona è l’improvvisazione: “Free Imp” e “Relentless Imp”, entrambi i brani spinti da una forte carica descrittiva e impressionistica. Con “1000 kilometers” gli Oregon dimostrano ancora una volta di non aver perso la creatività che da trent’anni contraddistingue la loro musica. Pur continuando a ruotare sul ben collaudato mix tra jazz e sonorità etniche, ogni disco è fresco, nuovo: non ricadono mai su sé stessi, e “1000 kilometers” è un ottimo esempio di tutto ciò.

01/10/2007www.jazzconvention.netDiego D’Angelo
Oregon 1000 Kilometers – three stars

Dedicated to their recently deceased agent Thomas Stowsand (1000 kms equals one Stowsand in Oregon speak, as their agent frequently sent them on long distance gigs), “1000 Kilometers” remains a life-enhancing album despite its sad genesis. This is Oregon in their purest form: no orchestras or dabbling in electronics, even their (in)famous meanderings into ‘world music’ forms are restrained. Instead we have intimate, chamber-like composition and free improvisation laced with melodic themes and free wheeling, free thinking group meditations. Towner, as is his wont, plays more piano than guitar, but that bare, romantic keyboard work remains impressive, especially set against Moore’s spare pulses, (check out ‘The Bactrian’, a tune which like its camel namesake, travels great distances with little apparent melodic nourishment). The guitar is all the more impressive for its rarity, sweetly flourishing against the nervous rhythms of ‘Catching Up’ and Walker’s pressing hand drums. There are occasional synth washes, as on ‘Relentless Imp’, which also intimates an eastern feel in McCandless’ keening horn, but in the whole it’s the band’s ability to drive on urgently with unadorned acoustic instruments, as on the opening ‘Deep six’, all cowbells and big piano chords, that remains so striking about this unique band.

12/10/2007JazzwiseAndy Robson
Oregon 1000 Kilometers

Although many jazz musicians, among them Ellington and Coltrane, had already incorporated non-American strains in their music, Oregon, at its formation in 1970, was one of the first groups to devote its attention to developing a fusion between jazz and ethnic music, long before the expression “world music” had been conceived. That sounds has changed over the years, to the extent that more recent editions of the group have produced music which, though still acoustic, comes close in content to the plugged-in jazz most commonly associated with the term “fusion”. The opening track here is a case in point, its urgent , pulsating ostinati, complex chromatic harmony and tight unison lines more redolent of downtown New York than the wide open spaces one imagines would inspire a folk-jazz group.
McCandless’s “Bayonne” is another example, featuring an ingenious chord sequence and incisive solo works by Towner and McCandless. On occasion it’s also the nearest the group come to smooth jazz, but its sharp corners will save it from the MoR playlists. “Catching Up” is similarly purposeful, combining a subtle rock ostinato and baroque phrasing with a detailed and exquisitely executed parade of dynamic and textural variation. However, the control and preparation found in these pieces isn’t evident throughout the record. If there’s a reservation about this band, it’s its tendency to lose focus when given free rein in an improvising situation. This is perhaps most apparent on the title track. At ten and half minutes with long solos delivered over a slow-moving, folky modal sequence in simple time, it overstates its case. Similar caveats attend “The Bactrian”, in which a funereal ostinato over a martial beat is modulated through various keys for eight minutes and noodling solos suggest a paucity of compositional imagination. ON the other hand, if “Deep Six” and “Bayonne” represent the perfect medium for the group, at the other extreme are the striking miniatures “From A Dream” (1:02) and “Free Imp” (1:46), the latter a brittle free improvisation which forms a welcome contrast to the cloying sweetness found elsewhere. In these pieces, nothing is wasted. In any event, repertoire and interpretation aside, the set is to be relished for some stunning musicianship. In particular. McCandless has focused solos on “Deep Six” and “Bayonne” and the multi-talented Ralph Towner shines just about everywhere, whether playing guitar or piano or providing carefully crafted orchestration form the keyboard or guitar synth.

15/10/2007Jazz ReviewMark Gilbert

Die Herren von Oregon nennen die Ochsentour von 1000 Kilometern zwischen dem einen und dem anderen Konzertort launig grummelnd einen „Stöwsand“. Damit gedenken sie ihres kürzlich verstorbenen Agenten Thomas Stöwsand, der sie durch Breitengrade und Zeitzonen hetzte und die Metamorphose der Band hautnah miterlebte. Geblieben sind ihr die Lust an der Assimilierung verschiedener folkloristischer Einflüsse, die klug dosierte Nutzung klassischer Ausdrucksformen, das gewöhnungsbedürftige, näselnde Timbre von Reedsplayer Paul McCandless, die instrumentale Omnipräsenz von Ralph Towner, der auch die meisten der elf Tracks komponiert hat, die alterslose Wuseligkeit von Bassist Glen Moore und die Erkenntnis, dass Perkussionist Mark Walker trotz all seiner Virtuosität nie die vom Tod des Urmitglieds Collin Walcott gerissene Lücke schließen kann. Fast gänzlich verschwunden ist freilich auch die Fähigkeit, Ideen und Empfindungen improvisatorisch einzufangen. Selbst „Free Imp“ und „Relentless Imp“ klingen, als wären sie zumindest im Geiste vorkomponiert worden. Nach 35 Jahren steht das kollektive Unterbewusstsein eben nicht mehr am Anfang eines langen Weges, sondern ganz zwangsläufig vor einem Berg an Erinnerungen.

01/11/2007Jazz thingReinhard Köchl
OREGON 1000 Kilometers

It's easy to take for granted a band that's been around half as long as Oregon-or, worse, lose track of it all together. But as a recent East Coast swing illustrated, and as 1000 Kilometers quickly reaffirms, the innovative quartet still occupies a unique niche in American music after all these years. Over 35 years in the making, the ensemble's instrumental weave, colored by jazz, classical and world-beat colors, shows no signs of fading on this collection of newly composed original tunes. Guitarist Ralph Towner wrote most of them, and among his contributions that stand out, albeit quietly, are “From A Dream,” a brief but sublime pas de deux for guitar soprano sax, “1000 Kilometers,” a slowly unfurling piece that makes insinuating use of McCandless's soprano sax, and the hushed, haunting ballad “Paraglide.”
Fellow founding members McCandless and bassist Glenn Moore, plus percussionist Mark Walker, who's been with the ensemble for a decade, are also represented by compositions that reflect the band's diverse interests, beginning with Walker's opening poly rhythmic salvo “Deep Six.” All the players have room to shine, with Towner occasionally shifting from classical guitar to synth guitar, piano and keyboards, McCandless's virtuosity and versatility, however, play an even more important role in keeping things interesting; in addition to soprano, he plays oboe, English horn and bass clarinet with customary finesse and lyricism. 1000 Kilometers is further distinguished by some largely improvised pieces and the sort of witty interplay that enlivens the quartet's concert performances.

01/11/2007JazztimesMike Joyce
Oregon 1000 Kilometers

The renowned band’s second release for this record label is a tribute to its European booking agent Thomas Stowsand, who passed away on October 5, 2006. In fact, he was considered an “honorary member.” To that end, the musicians most notably gave it their all here. Sure enough, it’s one of Oregon’s finest albums in years, which might loom as a rather bold statement given its voluminous discography. Mark Walker handles the percussion duties on this multifaceted set which symbolizes the band’s signature sound amid nicely arranged fusions of chamber, jazz and world music motifs. The classic Oregon vibe is intact via Paul McCandless’ somber oboe lines and the band’s endearing storylines that are often firmed-up with enchanting melodies. But they rev it up on various pieces engineered with peppy percussion grooves, buoyant jazz-folk phrasings and thought-provoking thematic episodes. Acoustic guitar great Ralph Towner switches over to piano within various movements, where the band generally works through climactically-oriented arrangements. On “Simons,” McCandless’ drifting soprano sax lines tell the tale of a faraway land, underscored by Towner’s supple guitar voicings and Walker’s gentle use of small percussion implements. Vivid imagery is abundant. However, Glen Moore stretches out during the zesty bass-driven groove “Back Pocket.” And one of the many highlights of this disc is Towner’s piano-led Bolero type progression "The Bactrian," nicely contrasted by McCandless’ lower-register accompaniment. There you have it: A fantastically moving musical event, but should we expect anything less? Perhaps not…

01/11/2007Jazz ReviewGlenn Astarita
1000 Kilometers Oregon

Since releasing its first album in 1970, Oregon's hybrid of sound and style has pushed and pulled at the boundaries of jazz. With its newest album "1000 Kilometers" the quartet continues to mine a musical ground that's all of its own.
Anchored by founding members Paul McCandless, Ralph Towner and Glen Moore, the current incarnation is rounded out by Mark Walker on drums/percussion. The opening "Deep Six" hints at the early fusion of Weather Report and is immediately followed by the classically influenced chamber jazz duet "From A Dream". The dichotomy of this first five minutes of music highlight that the group remains unencumbered by boundaries. More impressive still is the grace and ease with which it effortlessly traverses such a range of styles.
The collective improvisations "Free Imp" and "Restless Imp" are joined by the bass/drum duet of "Back Pocket" in illustrating a collective, continuing unabated love of musical adventure. The title track is epic in its scope and evokes some of the great music the group recorded for ECM in the mid '80s. Towner reprises the tune as an introspective solo piano piece to close the disc. "Catching Up" features Towner's vintage classical guitar work. The singularity of his style on both piano and guitar throughout the disc is an important element in the depth and breadth of the group's sound. "1000 Kilometers" is a record that will satisfy longtime fans while beckoning those unfamiliar with the band into the fold. Wonderful example of "cerebral" jazz, intellectual offering that find its way to your heart through your brain.

02/11/2007THE SARATOGIANJames Lamperetta
Oregon 1000 Kilometers

Si fa presto a dire – e sarebbe profondamente ingiusto – che gli Oregon non sono più gli stessi dall’abbandono di Trilok Gurtu, col quale incisero lavori formidabili. Così come, tempo prima, si disse che dopo Colin Walcott, lo sfortunato e geniale percussionista, la band di Towner e McCandless non sarebbe più stata più la stessa. In verità, la sensazione che l’epoca segnata da Mark Walker, batterista di buon livello, sai la meno creativamente felice dalla nascita del gruppo è forte, e questo nuovo disco aggiunge qualche prova a carico dell’accusa. Dedicato alla memoria di Thomas Stöwsand, il celebre impresario scomparso giusto un anno fa, e ai mille kilometri che spesso i musicisti erano costretti a percorrere per spostarsi da un concerto all’altro, il lavoro non evade mai dalla gabbia stilistica che Towner e McCandless hanno saputo imbastire nel corso degli ultimi due formidabili decenni. E se un gruppo come gli Oregon non riesce più a sorprendere, allora vuol dire che qualche problema c’è. Pochi gli episodi da segnalare: “Bayonne”, dai sapori metheniani, e la title track, epica e toccante, quasi a volte rispolverare i fasti di un tempo.

07/11/2007JazzitVincenzo Martorella
Oregon 1000 Kilometers - 4/4

O's Notes: Oregon is Paul McCandless (oboe, cl, English horn), Ralph Towner (g, keyboards), Glen Moore (b) and Mark Walker (d, perc). This is the latest in a successful stream of albums over the last 30+ years. They play syncopated rhythms that are as simple as the duet on "From A Dream" to the bouncy beats of "Catching Up". There is always enough air around each of the musicians to allow us to enjoy each instrument and the band in total. The program includes enough variation with tempo and groupings to keep the listener engaged. Oregon plays jazz-fusion that is easy to digest. It is peaceful music but with all of the creativity and energy of any jazz set.

07/11/2007O’s Place Jazz Newslettereditorial
Oregon 1000 KILOMETERS

I lettori di questa recensione si divideranno tra chi si obbliga a una sorta di chiusura verso gli Oregon e un’altra fazione, che attende con inesausta passione ogni nuovo capitolo di questa saga che va avanti da circa quaranta anni, poiché è difficile una posizione intermedia, di indifferenza. Tra i meriti di questa band non si può omettere la squisita cifra sonica dei suoi componenti. Come restare indifferenti al suono della chitarra di Towner, memore com’è della rotondità del barocco musicale europeo e di un clima tutto mediterraneo; all’equilibrio tra suono e pausa dei fiati di McCandless, che ricorre anche a una sospensione di gusto orientale nel suo fraseggio; all’intellettualismo del basso acustico di Moore che non si ferma di fronte a nessuna complicazione melodica, per quanto assurda possa sembrare. E’ chiaro, a questo punto, che avendo già selezionato forse il meglio che la musica mondiale ci abbia elargito, che il mix venga poco variato da disco a disco. Anche in questo CD, quindi, il riferimento a una certa ecologia del suono, raggiunta attraverso i suoni acustici ma, soprattutto, un lirismo essenziale, misurato e straziante allo stesso tempo, la fanno da padroni. Quanti musicisti dello smisurato branco new age vorrebbero raggiungere questa intensità e questa universalità, e non riescono. Insomma, per dirla tutta, gli Oregon sono ancora necessari, almeno a mio avviso. Saluto quindi con piacere questa nuova prova, fra le più smaglianti del gruppo, e il recente contratto con la CamJazz: al suo catalogo si aggiunge un vero diamante. La registrazione è molto vicina alla perfezione, con suoni dolci e definiti; per nulla ovattati e, nello stesso tempo, affatto stancanti.
Commento tecnico:
qualità musicale: 9
qualità tecnica: 9

14/11/2007SuonoPaolo Aita
1000 Kilometers Oregon

I know this group has been around for decades, has toured the world playing to loyal fans, and even bears the name of our beloved state. Their music, highly original and sometimes sounding as though its roots are in the classical arena, is usually a bit too cerebral for me. To be blunt, I find myself asking, "When do they swing?" On the positive side, Paul McCandless could give lessons on soprano sax to all the smooth jazzers, and Ralph Towner contributes some solo piano work that one has to admit is impressive.

30/11/2007JAZZSCENE (Jazz Society of Oregon)editorial
Oregon 1000 Kilometers

Like the Paul Winter Consort from which it spawned years ago, Oregon traffics in a brand of jazz with any and all rough corners smoothed away. Tempos never get too heated, and solos stay safely inside the comfort range of the chords, which is enough to make you forget how skillfully they fuse jazz with nonwestern music. Dig the way Ralph Towner’s flamenco-ish guitar lines flip and trill over the tiniest accents in Mark Walker’s swing rhythm in “Bayonne,” while Glen Moore works an entirely different counterpoint line on double bass: It’s all like a hi-diver zeroing in on a mini trampoline amid gale-force winds. Like the rest of Oregon’s two dozen or so albums, Towner handles most of the songwriting, but all members contribute including Walker (“Deep Six,” cut from classic ECM-style cloth, is the drummer’s first tune for the group). The variety of voices here never distracts from the disc’s low-key, fireworks-in-the-details vibe; meanwhile, the disc’s pan-cultural savvy makes a convincing case for fusion being alive and well, even without the pomp associated with the bellbottoms-and-electric violins era.

03/01/2008Signal to noiseNathan Turk
OREGON 1000 Kilometers

On their second Cam Jazz release, Oregon dedicates their music to their friend and agent of 30 years, Thomas Stowsend, who died on October 5, 2006. Their eclectic jazz-based mix of straight-ahead jazz, swing, folk, Latin and Middle Eastern motifs dates back to 1970 when reedsman Paul McCandless, bassist Glenn Moore, guitarist/keyboardist Ralph Towner and percussionist Colin Walcott (who died in 1984 in a car crash) founded this band after performing in Paul Winter Consort. Trilok Gurtu (1985-mid 1990s) replaced Walcott and upon Gurtu’s departure, the band performed as a trio until 1996, when Mark Walker joined to form the quartet again. Band members composed all of the music and their 11 palatable originals maintain the recognizable sound Oregon established over more than 30 years of performing. This is a fair-minded group with each member getting ample time in the spotlight. The sonorous title tune by Ralph Towner (so-named for the times they had to drive that far to reach the next concert venue) lasts for 10:28 minutes and features a repeating piano riff and McCandless’s soprano sax solos. It’s reprised in the 2:03 minute finale, track 12, but performed as a piano solo by Towner. Four tunes last from one to slightly over three minutes and while diverse and catchy, they are so short as to seem like undeveloped ideas. Over the years, Oregon has recorded on various labels, including Vanguard, Elektra, ECM, and Intuition. This enjoyable recording on the independent Italian label is reminiscent of their earlier quartet recordings and proves the band is as strong as ever in their quest to take modern music to new places. An attractive 16-page liner booklet with two-page photo spreads on each musician caps off the package.

07/02/2008Jazz & Blues ReportNancy Ann Lee
Oregon 1000 KILOMETERS

La trayectoria musical de Ralph Towner se ha dividido entre el grupo Oregon, con más de tres décadas de actividad, y sus numerosos proyectos paralelos, muchos de ellos para el sello ECM: varios discos en solitario, otros a dúo con Gary Peacock, Gary Burton o John Abercrombie y en diferentes formaciones al lado de Keith Jarrett, Arild Andersen o Jan Garbarek, entre otros. “1000 Kilometers” está dedicado a Thomas Stöwsand amigo y agente de la formación hasta su muerte en 2006. Es por eso que su repertorio, en su mayoría compuesto por Towner, está impregnado de intimismo, aunque sus arquitecturas armónicas naveguen entre el jazz progresivo y ciertos aires new age; entre los soplos experimentales de “Free Imp”, por ejemplo, y la melancolía de “From a Dream”, quizá una de las piezas más emotivas y sobresalientes de un disco en el que, pese a su buena factura, se hecha en falta algo más de riesgo.

05/02/2008CUADERNOS DE JAZZC. Tejeda
Oregon 1000 Kilometers

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. 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.

1000 kilometers

Après “Prime” venu célébrer leur 35 années d’existence, les quatre compères d’Oregon rendent ici hommage à Thomas Stöwsand qui fut leur manager toutes ces années durant.
La musique d’Oregon reste inclassable et immuable : jazz acoustique ? Folk swing ? Ajoutons sur ce nouvel opus une dimension “electro world” et dès la premier morceau, “Deep Six” un binaire jazz-rock affirmé. Avec “Free imp” le quartet explore l’atonal et l’aléatoire avec une réelle symbiose. Une langueur toute mélancolique baigne le titre phare, “1000 kilometers” alors que “Relentless imp” se rêve arabisant et transsaharien.
Groupe de la virtuosité sereine, Oregon reste et demeure un phénomène musical unique.
Ces “1000 kilometers” en sont un nouveau jalon sur la route musicale qu’ils ont choisi, loin des sentiers battus et des boulevards du marketing.

23/09/2007La Marseillaiseeditorial
1000 Kilometers Oregon – four stars

Giunti al secondo disco per la CamJazz, dopo Prime, gli Oregon sfoggiano un'altra prova di grande classe, per nulla sminuita dai quasi quattro decenni di attività del gruppo. Da sempre estranei a qualsiasi moda e tendenza, il loro cammino musicale non ha mai smesso di essere lineare e coerente, senza grandi innovazioni, ma anche senza cadute e passi falsi. Il loro mix di jazz, classica e world li ha caratterizzati fin dall'inizio, grazie anche al sostegno di una straordinaria capacità di scrittura (in particolare da parte di Towner e McCandless), e una altrettanto stupefacente abilità strumentale, che unita alla grande coesione sempre presente tra i membri del gruppo ha contribuito a rendere la loro musica unica e inconfondibile.
Questo “1000 Kilometers” conferma dunque tutte le qualità che da sempre si incontrano all'ascolto degli Oregon, permettendoci di apprezzare ancora una volta le doti compositive di Towner, la versatilità strumentale di McCandless, la solidità del sostegno ritmico di Moore e la contenuta esuberanza di Walker, perfettamente inserito nel nucleo originario. Il programma musicale è quello tradizionale, ripreso anche nelle esibizioni dal vivo, comprendente le varie combinazioni di tutti gli strumenti solisti (piano, chitarra, oboe, clarinetto, corno inglese, sax soprano), e un paio di improvvisazioni collettive che mostrano l'alto livello di comunicazione tra i musicisti.
Il lavoro conferma dunque la bontà di una formula ben collaudata e consolidata nel tempo, ormai praticamente priva di sorprese ma decisamente ricca di certezze per una proposta musicale diventata oggi classica nella sua impostazione (ma ai tempi della sua prima introduzione negli anni '70 era dirompente e rivoluzionaria sia come concezione che come realizzazione, nonostante l'apparente semplicità), e sempre capace di rinnovare le emozioni ad ogni ascolto.

28/07/2008italia.allaboutjazz.comMario Calvitti
Oregon “1000 kilometers”

A due anni dal successo dell’album “Prime”, la storica formazione statunitense capitanata dall’eclettico Ralph Towner, ripropone le sue peculiari composizioni in un nuovo disco, edito anche questa volta dalla CAM JAZZ: “1000 Kilometers”. Gli Oregon, sulla scena mondiale ormai da oltre tre decenni, continuano a stupire per freschezza e coerenza progettuale, senza mai snaturare le proprie radici, che vanno dalle espressioni linguistiche marcatamente etno-jazz alle vigorose accezioni hardbop. Potrebbe dirsi, senza alcun pericolo di essere smentiti, che a tutt’oggi la leggendaria formazione rivela uno spaccato del linguaggio musicale a stelle e strisce, mescolando quanto di più dotto e variegato si possa offrire. Già nella traccia d’apertura “Deep Sex” si riscontra una robusta ventata estetica che, illuminata dal serrato incrocio fra il percussivo panismo di Towner e le fiammeggianti sonorità dei fiati di Paul McCandless, produce con la ritmica incalzante del contrabbasso di Glen Moore e le percussioni di Mark Walker, un effetto a dir poco esplosivo. La conosciutissima arte chitarristica di Ralph Towner, invece, si manifesta nel brano “Catching Up”, in cui un clarinetto basso declama la melodia portante ed un rilevante assolo alle congas di Walker, completano una bellissima struttura dal sapore vagamente mediterraneo, sebbene la performance chitarristica più coinvolgente la si può ascoltare nella quarta traccia “Simone”. Il frenetico passare del magico Ralph dalla chitarra al piano, contribuisce a rendere imprevedibile ed accattivante la scoperta del lavoro, allo stesso modo in cui il vecchio compagno McCandless integra nel Quartet i suoi fiati. Nel disco si rincorrono momenti lirici alternati ad atmosfere più propriamente Oregon, in particolare “Free Imp” e “Relentless Imp”, in cui si ritrovano quelle ambientazioni impressionistiche connotate di una sfrenata e libera improvvisazione. In conclusione, “1000 Kilometers” è la dimostrazione che gli Oregon, in tanti anni di attività, non hanno perso la loro inconfondibile creatività compositiva ed espressiva, insomma il loro personale modo di fare musica. Nonostante ci si muova intorno ad un asse portante imperniato sull’incontro fra jazz e sonorità etniche, il gruppo lascia fluire le proprie idee in un mix di coinvolgenti impeti d’assieme, eccellenti spunti solistici, intriganti costruzioni ritmiche, mai fini a se stessi. Ne deriva un progetto ben confezionato al fine di realizzare un lavoro di notevole spessore nel segno di una straordinaria longevità, che convince tanto nell’architettura delle scritture, quanto nell’entusiasmo del suo contenuto formale. La ripresa audio di questo “1000 Kilometers” può definirsi, senza molti fronzoli, di livello medioalto. Una scena ampia e prospettica, una cura dei dettagli e la veridicità timbrica dei singoli strumenti, permettono la piena godibilità di un lavoro estremamente coerente nelle sue accezioni formali e, allo stesso tempo, anche nella riproduzione degli interventi dei quattro virtuosi, straordinariamente longevi.

10/05/2009FEDELTA’ DEL SUONO - La Bacchetta magica - Jazz dischiFrancesco Peluso