Rick Walker’s Review of REACH

1st Morning Coffee Listen:
I’m sitting here with a delicious cup of Italian roast coffee (with too much cream and sugar as is my decadent ‘want’) listening to a pre-release copy of Jeff Oster’s beautiful new album, “REACH”

I confess I”m already a fan of Jeff’s music and his wonderful work as a ‘side man’ in various SF Bay Area projects, but this record just knocks my socks off.

It is really exquisite; quiet, introspective and with more than a touch of melancholy. Just like some of the classic early ECM releases, it has a spacious feel, but unlike the northern ‘icy’ vibe of those releases, this record has tremendous warmth.

It’s all down to not only Jeff’s writing, but also to the beautiful tone he creates on Trumpet and Flugelhorn. You know, the great horn players from Louis to Miles to Hubbard to Baker always had beautiful tone and I can say, unequivocally, that the sound of Jeff’s horn is nothing short of beautiful. The trumpet can be a very linear sounding instrument but never in Jeff’s case. Not to be too synaesthetic but It feels like I’m listening to liquid sculpture when I hear his playing. He mixes wonderful technique and, for lack of a better word, ‘chops’ but they NEVER intrude.

The ‘vibe’ is everything, and from the beautiful middle eastern frame drum in the opening tracks to the sensuous Bansuri flute accompaniment that lends the closing track it’s “Indian” vibe (and sorry but I don’t have individual track listings yet), the record takes you on a contemplative journey. Jeff has also surrounded himself with a wonderful cast of support musicians. I’d have dearly loved to watch it being recorded. There is also a lot of electronic processing on the record and it’s all just so damned ‘tasty’

This is a wonderful recording. Buy it and support physical medium and artistry!

RICK WALKER – Y2K International Looping Festival