The genesis of Oregon took root in 1960 when guitarist/pianist Ralph Towner met pianist/bassist Glen Moore as students at the University of Oregon. The pair formed a musical friendship inspired by Bill Evans and Scott LaFaro, eventually leading them to travel to Europe and play with such greats as Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon. Later connecting with multi-instrumentalist Paul McCandless and percussionist Colin Walcott through a high profile association with Paul Winter the group has inspired audiences in renowned concert halls for over three decades including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Berlin Philharmonic Hall. With Walcott’s sudden passing in 1984, the percussion position moved to Trilok Gurtu from 1986-97 and since then, Mark Walker has brought a Latin undercurrent to the ensemble. This years 2014 Portland Jazz Masters will make their Festival debut and welcome Towner’s presence who currently resides in Rome, Italy.
“The key to OREGON’s success is their ability to meld their disparate tonal personalities into a consonant whole—even in the most malleable or
playful of settings—the classical voicings of which never undermine their
jazz foundations.” - Rolling Stone