Music of Another Present Era remains Oregon's most enduring masterwork. Achieving a perfect balance of musical traditions from the East and West, ancient to future, they set the stage not only for a new transculturalism in jazz, but also created a lasting template for the fusion of musics from world traditions that would flower over a decade later. The four participants in Oregon, oboist and pianist Paul McCandless, guitarist and pianist Ralph Towner, upright bassist and pianist Glen Moore, and the late multi-instrumentalist Collin Walcott, operated on the premise that melodic ideas and expansive harmonies all contributed to a music that didn't bridge cultures, but erased them and eradicated them. This is a place where the astute dynamics of classical music meet the freedom of post-bop jazz in an inquiry of world rhythms and harmonics. Standout tracks include "North Star," with its celebration of rural music and rhythmic invention; the up-tempo "Sail," which offers a killer trio of Walcott's sprinting tablas, Towner's frenetic 12-string playing, and Moore's inquiring bass; the intensely improvisatory "Shard/Spring Is Really Coming"; and the lilting "The Swan." This is fusion music, to be sure, but it's the kind of fusion musicians have been trying unsuccessfully to emulate for decades. Music of Another Present Era is one of the most poetic and groundbreaking records to be released in the 1970s.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek