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Oregon: Prime

Going on 30 years in the game, Oregon is stubbornly synonymous with the broad-stroke terms “chamber jazz” and “Northwestern lyricism,” neither very precise descriptions. Yes, leader Ralph Towner is a classically trained guitarist, long a New York and/or Europe-based musician who hails from Oregon, along with cofounder and bassist Glen Moore. Paul McCandless’ high-range reed playing has a neat, stately quality that recalls classical articulation. But their sound is really a classically flavored folk-jazz-worldly melange, best defined by mere mention of the band name. They still rule the field they created.

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