The indescribable-therefore-it-must-be-jazz quartet Oregon can righteously claim to be an originator of global fusion, New Age and so much more of the progressive acoustic music that followed its 1972 masterwork Music of Another Present Era. Unlike so much of the music that took its lead, Oregon could shift on a dime from soaring folk jazz melodicism to difficult free-form improvisation and textural experimentation with a global palette.
The more user-friendly side of the group might be best-illustrated by a tune made famous by another group. The Paul Winter Consort’s signature tune “Icarus” was composed by Oregon’s guitarist and first-among-equals writer Ralph Towner. Its unforgettable melody and serene textures embody a pop- and folk-leaning appeal that is present, but never quite so pure, in the music of the more adventurous and jazz-inclined Oregon.
In this band’s level playing field, four voices have equal license and equal importance. Even so, the soaring single- and double-reed work of Paul McCandless – even more than the tablas and sitar of the late Colin Walcott – might be Oregon’s signature sound. McCandless also played with the Winter Consort and with ECM mainstay Eberhard Weber. He has led sessions for Elektra, Landslide and Windham Hill Records.
Collaborating now with the fully electric San Francisco-based trio Charged Particles, acoustic jazz legend Paul McCandless visits the Falcon in Marlboro on Sunday, September 18 at 7 p.m. Cross another name off the dwindling list of jazz legends who have not played at Tony Falco’s gem of a venue. Per usual, there is no cover charge, but generous donation is encouraged. The Falcon is located at 1348 Route 9W in Marlboro. For more information, visit www.liveatthefalcon.com.