Friday, August 24, 2007

Oregon - Roots in the Sky (1978) [EAC-APE]



1. June Bug (Towner) - 3:56
2. Vessel (Towner) - 7:43
3. Sierra Leone (Walcott) - 4:01
4. Ogden Road (Towner) - 6:26
5. House Of Wax (Walcott) - 4:31
6. Hungry Heart (McCandless) - 5:28
7. Orrington's Escape (Towner) - :49
8. Roots In The Sky (Moore) - 4:20
9. Longing, So Long (Walcott) - 6:53

Ralph Towner - classical guitar, twelve-string guitar, piano, flugelhorn, percussion
Paul McCandless - oboe, English Horn, bass clarinet
Glen Moore - bass
Collin Walcott - percussion, sitar, tabla, guitar


Roots is a more difficult and, at times, darker album than Woods. Walcott’s “House of Wax,” featuring his innovative sitar work, is a relatively simple concept, yet the piece remains a greater challenge. Towner’s brief and idiosyncratic “Orrington’s Escape” segues into Moore’s title track, another piece that builds from a simple but angular idea, finding Oregon at its most dynamic.

Still, Towner's energetic “June Bug” and broodingly open, clay pot-driven “Vessel” are as accessible as anything on Woods. Oregon would continue on after Walcott’s tragic death in 1984, but these two releases would raise the bar for everything that followed. (allaboutjazz.com)



This album is the 1979 companion album to the earlier Elektra release, Out Of The Woods, and has a similarly outstanding high-fidelity sound. All four musicians are in top form. Glen Moore gives perhaps his best recorded performance on bass on songs such as the self-penned "Roots In The Sky". Highlights are:
"June Bug" (fast-paced classical guitar line with bouncy oboe),
"Vessel" (starts out with a low-pitched drum that sounds like lava bubbling to the surface, then adds a laidback, slow-paced samba-style piano motif, then a jazzy bass clarinet midsection),
"Sierre Leone" (energetic acoustic percussion preluded by an atmospheric flute and flugelhorn passage),
"Ogden Road" (a very 'wavy' tune with several crescendos, has a descending 4/4 line with a latin piano/tabla mix, it first works towards a climax at the 2 minute mark, then after 3 minutes into the song changes to a flugelhorn interlude, then crescendos until the 5 minute mark, and after one last flurry, ends with the piano softly reprising the melody),
"House Of Wax" (bass and sitar interaction, also with some spiraling woodwind),
"Orrington's Escape" (short 49-second piece with an angular rhythm),
"Roots In The Sky" ( my favorite, has excellent bass and flugelhorn lines),
"Longing, So Long" (tabla/percussion fest with bass and 12-string guitar interspersed). (amazon.com)

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