Wonderful duets-My Favorite early-period Oregon recording
Phasedin | New Jersey | 01/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although it doesn't state it anywhere on the CD itself, this one is a bit different from all of the Oregon projects before or since.
This recording on the Vanguard label is from 1979 and has a very good recorded sound for the time. I would say this is my very favorite Oregon recording ("Winter Light" comes a close second), from the bands first decade, my favorite recording at least up until the time they recorded for the ECM lable in the mid 1980's.
Oregon has a large body of compositions, many of which have been recorded several times at intervals years apart, with slight changes in arrangement. However this recording has 9 pieces that I don't recall the band has recorded since, so there are no familiar well-known Oregon pieces here.
Don't let that stop you, though.
I don't know who's idea it was to record the musicians in various combinations, in a series of duets (some with overdubbing it seems), but this was a wonderful idea. Perhaps it was a desire to do something different from previous albums since the band was very busy recording during this period in their career.
Anyway, it works for me.
We get Ralph Towner on guitars and piano, Glen Moore on upright bass and piano, Colin Walcot on hand percussion and sitar, and Paul McCandless on various wind instruments including flutes. So there are lots of variations of instruments track to track, and the recording never gets boring or "samey" sounding.
It seems every combination of the 4 musicians in duet is covered here and there's not a single track that I don't like. That's quite an achievment for me, even from a group as talented as this.
If you're only going to get 2 recordings from the groups period from 1969-1983 (after which they went to record for the ECM label) I would not hesitate to pick up this one and "Winter Light".
E. Minkovitch | Montreal, Quebec | 01/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The only reason I did not give 5 stars to this recording is that this is not a "group" recording. Those who love Oregon have come to expect tight group interplay and improvisation, and this album only offers duets, in various combinations of instruments and members.
This said, credit must be given where due, and plenty of it is due to the compositions, several of which are Oregon classics, and the high standard of musicianship as always. Towner and McCandless continue to amaze, as usual - their multi-instrument capabilities are legendary, particularly on this record, where Towner tackles the Hammond B-3 organ in addition to his sparkling 12 string guitar and breezy piano. Elevator is one of the best organ solos I've ever heard, in either fusion or rock, with tabla support from Walcott. The other highlight is a McCandless/Towner piece, Moon And Mind, with the most fantastic oboe solo flights I've ever heard from Mr McCandless, one of the best woodwind players alive.
So yes, it's a good way to spend those dollars."