Oregon Movies, A to Z

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OREGON (jazz group)

November 7th, 2009 by Anne Richardson · No Comments · Oregon composer


Glen Moore says about their music, “We’re intensely interested in sound itself, the colors and shapes of sound…and we never know ourselves how we’re going to get from one piece to another…what could be a quick little element one night could be drawn out, extended and thoroughly explored another.” Ralph Towner explains, “My notion of a song, including the improvisation on that song, is that from the first sound you establish a character, a sense of motion; then you are committed to develop a history, a miniature lifetime that is a faithful development of the original atmosphere.” From the OREGON website.

I first saw OREGON at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, in the fall of 1973. They were performing outdoors, in the sculpture garden. I was newly on the East Coast, and a friend had taken me to see them because they were cool, not because their name was the same as that of my home state. In fact, she took pains to tell me, OREGON was a New York band.

I accepted this information. It wasn’t true. Ralph Towner and Glen Moore began playing together in Eugene, in the early 60’s, when both were students at the U of O. It was the sole non-Oregonian in the group, Paul McCandless, who suggested they call their trio OREGON. Together they have been nominated for seven Grammys, and continue to tour the globe.

OREGON entered film history  when it supplied original music for Fast Break, Don Zavin’s 1977 documentary about the Portland Trailblazers’ championship season. The world’s only sports film with a jazz soundtrack plays at the Clinton Street Theater, Oct. 24 – 29.

Or is it a jazz film which appropriates the improvisational sport of basketball for visuals? Come see for yourself.

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