Oregon - Roots In The Sky
Oregon - Roots In The Sky
Out of stock
Oregon - Roots In The Sky
Oregon - Roots In The Sky

Oregon - Roots In The Sky

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Paul McCandless (clarinet, English horn, oboe), Ralph Towner (flugelhorn, guitar, piano, percussion), Collin Walcott (guitar, percussion), Glen Moore (bass)

Written by Ralph Towner (A1, A2, A4, B3), Collin Walcott (A3, B1, B5), Paul McCandless (B2), Glen Moore (B4)


1 LP, standard sleeve

Original analog Master tape : YES

Heavy Press : 180g

Record color : black

Speed : 33 RPM

Size : 12'’



Record Press : Pallas

Label : Speakers Corner

Original Label :  Elektra

Recording: December 1978 at Longview Farms, North Brookfield, MA., and April 1979 at Columbia Recording Studios, New York, by David Greene

Production: Oregon

Originally released in 1979

Reissued in 2018


Tracks :

Side A :

  1. June Bug
  2. Vessel
  3. Sierra Leone
  4. Ogden Road

Side B :

  1. House of Wax
  2. Hungry Heart
  3. Orrington’s Escape
  4. Roots In The Sky
  5. Longing, So Long



« Speakers Corner Records has released a re-mastered 180-gram vinyl of the 1979  release, Roots In The Sky by Oregon. It has always been difficult to categorize the music of this band. With a core lineup of Paul McCandless (reeds), Ralph Towner (guitar, piano), Collin Walcott (percussion) and Glen Moore, the group met as members of the Paul Winter’s Consort. After recording several albums on the Vanguard label, they signed with Electra Records. This represented (along with their 1978 album, Out Of The Woods) an opportunity to access a higher level of studio production and distribution. Side 1 opens with the propulsive, “June Bug”. One of four Towner compositions, it kicks off with furious guitars chords, set against percussion (Colin Walcott). McCandless takes the lead on clarinet which is a pastoral counterpoint to the funky jam. “Vessel” initiates with loping exotic drumming that establishes a free-jazz driving pulse. Towner switches to piano with punctuated repeat chords. His piano solo/lead is lyrical with jazzy inflection. The band members nimbly coalesce around the piano and bassist Glen Moore shines on his solo. On “Sierra Leone” a musical tapestry is intermingled with African motifs. Oregon manages to combine world influences in genre-combining arrangements. “Ogden Road” delves into the ruminative, melodic ambience with sensitivity and an acoustic coloration. The classical influences (especially piano and English horn) and syncopated tempo contribute to a swirling aural landscape. There is even a Latin undercurrent.

Side 2 is a powerful, diverse musical statement. “House Of Wax” begins with a jazzy piano vamp. In contrast, a sitar is added to create an unlikely blend of jazz and mysticism. The texture is augmented by studio effects and the overall free-form approach is hypnotic. A more contemporary vibe inhabits “Hungry Heart’ with reed instrumentation, guitar bass and percussion.. There is a crisp acoustic guitar run and potent, rhythmic play from the band. A concise “Orrington’s Escape” is crisply executed with occasional atonal intonation. The final pair of songs are emblematic of the quartet’s dynamic musical vision. “Roots In The Sky” is hard charging and bass-driven. It is countered by sitar and flugelhorn for a wild mosaic of sound. The layering of horns is especially compelling. The wide sweeping musical influence of Oregon can be heard on “Longing, So Long”. The group jams with pulsating intensity augmented by a collage of instrumental accents.

Oregon suffered a great loss with the death of Collin Walcott in 1984. They persevered to record for another 30 years, but never achieved the creative or critical apex of their earlier career. Speakers Corner Records’ vibrant 180-gram upgrade is a testament to their under-appreciated legacy. » Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition, Jan 31, 2021


If there was ever a group that successfully amalgamated Asian and African music with jazz and classic, then it was surely Oregon. With a wide range of instruments and the musicians’ unusually receptive ears for everything here, there and everywhere, Oregon certainly enjoyed the optimal prerequisites. Ralph Towner, Paul McCandless, Glen Moore and in particular Colin Walcott laid the foundations for their music in the musical heaven of their time. Oboe, cor anglais, bass clarinet, six- and twelve-string guitars, piano, flugelhorn, percussion, bass, sitar, tabla – such a versatile range of instruments – lent the nine numbers their, until then, rarely heard sound colouring and mark the transition from the band’s more hippy-like, country sound when they recorded for the Vanguard label to their later classic sound when signed to ECM. In this respect, "Roots In The Sky" is an important contemporary document in the world of music between 1970 and 1980. A rare black disc on which there is much to discover!



AllMusic : 4.5 / 5 ;  Discogs 4.23 / 5  ;  Audiophile Audition : 4.5 / 5

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