“Oregon”: free, brave, perhaps even reckless... For almost 50 years now!

“Oregon”: free, brave, perhaps even reckless... For almost 50 years now!

Innovative, experimenting – and loved by the audience for almost half a decade now! This is Oregon – famous for their flowing free improvisations, led by feelings, riding to new horizons… Founding members Paul McCandless and Ralph Towner, together with fellow musicians Mark Walker and Paolino Dalla Porta, visited our studio ahead of their two Sofia concerts.

“I think we were pretty reckless. We had these pieces with no preset structure…,” Paul McCandless answers my question whether it was brave or reckless to start with this kind of unusual music in the 1970s. And then laughs, remembering: “We opened our set in Nashville in front of a famous American comic, playing one of these wild free improvisations. We saw that the audience didn’t like it at all!”

The audience loved them for their, well – “crazy”, radio broadcasts in New York City, as Ralph Towner recalls: “In NYC there was a radio station called WBAI. We would play on a program that began at midnight, and we played mostly free music non-stop until 6 in the morning. And we would sometimes reduce the group to a duo while two would go and get coffee and doughnuts.” Soon that started paving the way: “We built up quite an underground audience in NYC just because of these crazy programs!”

The music of Oregon has at its core the idea of constant development – free improvisations lead the melody, adding details, flavouring with rich nuances. On the development of our society Ralph Towner shares this wisdom: “It is important for me – in my small world – to keep growing, and keep interested, and be moved by something. If you treat the actual world more personally, you would treat it much better.”

Oregon are in Bulgaria on the invitation of Dyukyan Meloman to take part in the Jazz Plus festival at the Sofia Live Club. Jazz FM is media partner of the event.

  • You can listen to Svetoslav Nikolov's interview with the members of Oregon using the Audio button.

Photos by Evgeni Dimitrov, BulFoto