With a dynamic new age/jazz/prog rock hybrid vibe often whimsically described as “Miles Davis meets Pink Floyd,” Jeff Oster has, since his 2005 award winning full length debut Released, shapeshifted the boundaries and redefined the sonic possibilities of instrumental pop music.
His boundary bursting, accolade filled career reached a dynamic peak in 2017-18 as a member of FLOW, a dynamic ensemble (featuring genre greats Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt and legendary Windham Hill founder and guitarist Will Ackerman) whose self-titled collection hit the Top 5 on the Billboard New Age Albums chart and won Album of the Year at the ZMR Awards and Best New Age album at the Independent Music Awards.
For the inventive trumpeter and flugelhornist, there was only one way to follow up on this success – Reach!
For Oster and his chief collaborator/album producer Ruslan Sirota (who also plays piano, keyboards, guitar and provides vocals), the title Reach doubles as a powerful mission statement. It means breaking from Oster’s tried and true studio approach of the past and engaging in a deeper exploration of the horn player’s artistry. Over the course of nine tracks, the result is a transcendent chill/ambient/new age meets sensual and grooving jazz/world fusion vibe where truly and radically, there are no creative boundaries.
That freewheeling spirit, being so beautifully connected to the unexpected, flows through every track on Reach. With previous albums, Oster would make elaborate home demos, creating lead horn melodies and counterpoint harmonies over loops and tracks and bringing those into the studio where he hired what he calls a “musical fantasy camp” of studio musicians to help him realize his vision – including, over the years, all-stars like Nile Rodgers, T-Bone Wolk, Keith Carlock, Chuck Rainey and Bernard Purdie. These recordings helped establish Oster as a major force in new age music, and have made him a five time ZMR Album of the Year winner, with numerous #1’s on NPR’s influential “Echoes” program and three wins for Best New Age Song at the Independent Music Awards.
The combination of Oster’s deeply felt melodies, eclectic grooves and exotic textures make Reach a true improvisational triumph more in the spirit of jazz fusion than Oster’s normal genre.
“There is something truly liberating about Reach,” says Oster. “As the title implies, I may not know where my life’s next destination is, but I do know there’s beauty in reaching for something I’ve never done musically to capture the essence of a live performance. I have always sounded much different onstage than in my recorded music, and working with Ruslan and his incredible musicians opened me up to exploring fresh territory.”
With Jeff Oster’s REACH – the possibilities are endless…
Check out these three great tracks from Jeff Oster:
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