‘Brothers’ — in life and in music: Jeff Oster, Tom Eaton, Will Ackerman release new album

The following review was published by Victoria Chertok at reformer.com

When Jeff Oster arrived at Tom Eaton’s Newburyport, Mass., studio last year to begin recording the album “Brothers,” the first thing he did was walk across the parking lot.

Eaton had asked Oster, “What if we start with you?” and observed him to find the tempo in which Oster moves through the world. Once he found that, he believed they could begin recording their new release, “Brothers” (Resto Records 2021) which comes out Friday.

RECORDING ‘BROTHERS’The two award-winning musicians never thought of making the record without their closest friend and chosen brother, Grammy winning Southern Vermont producer, guitarist and founder of Windham Hill Records Will Ackerman.

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Brothers” by Will Ackerman, Jeff Oster, and Tom Eaton

Album Review by Dyan Garris, New Age CD, New Age Notes Radio, Zone Music Reporter (ZMR), “Spirit Seeker Magazine,” and “Retailing Insight Magazine

Straight from the heart of three musical legends collaborating as “one,” “Brothers” is the tender, touching, and profoundly poignant album from Will Ackerman, Jeff Oster, and Tom Eaton.  Each and every track will remain etched deeply into your soul long after the music stops.

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Even with the stratospheric pedigree of these three musicians – Will Ackerman, Jeff Oster, and Tom Eaton – and the expectations I held as a result, Brothers still stopped me in my proverbial tracks during my first playing. The album’s eight songs flow forth like a gentle breeze on a warm day, carrying relief in every note, but in this case, the relief is a palpable easing of stress, a wave of gorgeous melodies easing the listener gently into a state of utter peace and relaxation. The level of seamless simpatico between Ackerman, Oster, and Eaton on display here is just one of this album’s triumphs. When I’ve reviewed albums from these three artists, either as collaborators or solo artists, I often feared being accused of hyperbole, but trust me, you will not hear more sincere and ear-pleasing instrumental music any time soon.

Bill Binkelman – Wind and Wire

The following review is from Dick Metcalf, editor, Contemporary Fusion Reviews.

Amazing acoustic chill trio Will Ackerman, Jeff Oster, Tom Eaton – BROTHERS:  If you’re even the least bit familiar with sonic adventures that make your morning (or your evening) sweeter, you’ll know the players here already… this talented trio has put together an eight-song extravaganza of the most amazing acoustic chill you will ever listen to… to get an intimate look at how it came to be, I (most strongly) recommend that you watch this (long) video about the album…

To enjoy more live videos and performances from Jeff (and many others), be sure to SUBSCRIBE to Jeff’s YouTube channel… I’ve been there for a LONG time.

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Will Ackerman, Jeff Oster, Tom Eaton

The talented triumvirate of Will Ackerman, Jeff Oster, and Tom Eaton have created a new album of highly polished, very listenable contemporary music called Brothers. All three artists have shared more than an album or two with each other over the last decade. Legendary guitarist Will Ackerman, multi-instrumentalist and Master Engineer Tom Eaton, and session player and flugelhorn lead man Jeff Oster combine their substantial abundance of skills and vast experience to balance a work of eight calming, inspiring tunes. On this recording the trio always seems to find a way to musically complement each other without tripping over the next guy or grabbing the spotlight. In most songs there is a focus without an insistent lead and I like that about the music.

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The Windham Hill-esque cover of Brothers, a stunningly intimate and intricate collection by new age music veterans Will Ackerman (acoustic guitar), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn) and Tom Eaton (piano, keyboards, bass) says it all about the project’s timeless aesthetic.

Beyond the richly detailed, soul stirring sense of melody, harmony and spacious atmospheres of these eight tracks that harkens back to that gentle, era- defining vibe, Brothers is at heart a celebration of a longtime friendship and the vibrant spirit of collaboration between the principals.

The collection is best appreciated as a singular experience expressing the creative ebb and flow, tender energies and textures of three friends deeply committee to the process of sharing their hearts and baring their souls.

Album review by Dyan Garris for New Age CD and Zone Music Reporter (ZMR)

I remember quite clearly when Jeff Oster burst onto the New Age music scene in 2005, with his blazing trumpet and mellow flugelhorn. I remember well, because the incredibly dynamic, vibrant music on his award-winning debut album, “Released,” was instrumental in changing and redefining the landscape of the way we perceive New Age music today. Hence, “New Age music” morphed more into “zone music.” Jeff’s music was groundbreaking in this genre. And still is.

Now, after more than a decade of more albums, more awards, more acclaim – four-time Zone Music Reporter “Album of the Year” winner, with numerous #1 charting songs on NPR’s “Echoes” program, and two Independent Music Award wins for “Best New Age Song,” plus a Top 5 Billboard charting album with the super-group FLOW – where does one go from there? Can a person “best” themselves? I think if anyone can do so, it’s Jeff Oster, who consistently raises the bar, not only for himself as a musician, but for an entire musical genre.

So, it comes as no surprise that his new album, “Reach,” in my opinion, is his best work yet. “Reach” is 9 tracks and 44 minutes of divine chill with a jazz/world-fusion groove. It’s Jeff Oster.

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AV: What was it about music that drew you to it at the beginning? What did it bring to your life that wouldn’t be there without music?

JO: I began playing trumpet when I was 8 years old. It was in Highland Park, Illinois, and I was in third grade. They brought me into the band instrument room at school, and said “pick one”. I can still see the brass against the blue velour of the case – I can still smell the valve oil. My parents told me at the time that when I was asked why I chose the trumpet, I said “I want to play the melody”

But what it has brought me is much deeper than that. I moved around quite a bit when I was growing up ( by the time I was there in Highland Park, I’d already been born in Danville, IL, moved to Lynchburg, VA, Columbus OH – and after Highland Park, we moved to Providence RI, Framingham MA, and then Coral Gables FL – not to mention my own moves after that to Eugene OR, Los Angeles Ca, NYC and then finally Alameda CA)

My horn was what made me different, what got me noticed, what got me accepted. Always being the “new kid” wasn’t easy. I remember when I was in sixth grade – in Framingham, MA. I had just moved there, and I brought my horn to school – and played Silver Bells that winter. I realized that no matter how “different” I was – the music that came out of my horn was understood and accepted. That remains true today. And tomorrow.

 

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Relying on the intricate balance between passion and emotion, exceptional flugelhorn/trumpeter
Jeff Oster offers up his latest release called Reach. Oster and company takes the listener on a
journey of the mind to places where fantasies and imagination go hand in hand. Jazzy, bluesy,
and ambient, Oster exceeds his grasp and he never loses sight of the final destination.

Jeff Oster
Reach
Moody, not blue.

Is there such a thing as ambient jazz? Yes, there is. Example; horn player Jeff Oster’s latest album Reach. Several years back Oster found the alchemy that it takes to make a simple horn theme echo and endlessly reverberate within a song and add to the melody without heavy handedness or taking over the lead, unless of course, he is the lead.

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Three years ago, I covered Jeff Oster’s Next album. If you do a search on my New Age Music Reviews site it will show several other artist reviews as well. The reason is that Jeff is in demand to play on other people’s albums. There is a very good reason for this. He is one of the few Flugelhorn and Trumpet players in the genre that plays a chill ambient type of music that new age recording artists and listeners alike want to hear. He also is able to interject jazz and funk elements into his recordings. Besides that, it is a great partnership. Jeff is masterful with his instruments and with the new album out now titled Reach, he is in great form and so are the folks that accompanied him on the album.

Reach has nine tracks in total and it is a great mixture of sound and textures that will do many things to you while listening including relaxing, feeling energized and wanting to move, becoming contemplative, just about everything one person can think of or do during the listen of one album really. It invites you in at the outset and you never want to leave that “musical comfy chair.”

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