If there was a "second best" recording from Oregon in their early years, this would be it. The concept of "Winter Light" certainly reflects the visage of the Pacific Northwest in the fourth season, yet it is a music, and time of year, filled with hope for the future while pondering a somewhat bleak present. Winter can be pleasant, bearable and filled with its own snowy delights. The first three pieces on their own are worth the price of this entire project, and are definitive works from the quartet. "Tide Pool" while accented with bizarre twists, is anchored by Walcott's energetic tabla and Towner's pure bred energy on acoustic guitar. Of course Jim Pepper's "Witchi-Tai-To" is classic, made moreso by the group's personal collective serenity and peace injected into the flavor of the composition. "Ghost Beads" is really the one for Towner and oboist Paul McCandless to dig in and fully express their vitruosity. These are three great examples of early world music. While the rest of the recording is not as provocative, it is still well played and conceived. "Winter Light" is heartily recommended as your follow-up Oregon purchase after "Music Of Another Present Era," with "Distant Hills" a close third.
AllMusic Review by Ron Wynn