“Reach” by Jeff Oster
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.
Here, Jeff has teamed up with Grammy® Award winning pianist, composer, and producer, Ruslan Sirota, who is the album’s producer and co-writer, as well as contributing piano, keyboard, guitar and vocal performances on the album. This is a brilliant musical pairing.
Guest artists on “Reach” include Robyn Ghosh (guitar), Benjamin J. Shepherd (bass), Tamir Barzilay (drums), Pete Korpela (percussion), Jenni Asher (Erhu, track 4), Ravichandra Kulur (Indian flutes, track 9), and Drew Allsbrook (vocals, track 4).
The album begins with “Onward,” a smooth, sultry, rhythmic opening, that draws us mesmerizingly and willingly into the relaxing intrigue. “Far Rockaway” transports us immediately into a place of complete tranquility with the peaceful horns curving melodiously around the dreamy, velvety-soft piano, other instrumentation, and percussive elements. We are there. And there we may want to stay. However, next up is the very interesting “La Caveau” (which literally translates into “the vault,” but is also a famous jazz club in Paris – Le Caveau de la Huchette). This tune is a very cool, sexy, retro kind of groove, one that I think we would hear him play in that club. We could stay there for a while as well. But no . . .
From there we move onward to “Five Great Mountains.” This is hypnotic; along with the sensuous horns, a great drum beat accompaniment, the Ehru, and ethereal vocal underlay, all blend perfectly together, enhancing the “world-fusion” ambiance. Track 5, “The Lotus Within,” does a good job of keeping us in this ultra-relaxing space. We can feel ourselves melting effortlessly into oneness with all. Truly enchanting.
What really stands out throughout the album is Jeff’s ability to be one with his instruments. He has definitely become the master of his craft. It’s as if the horns aren’t separate in any way and are perfectly articulating what’s deep in the soul. This is a man totally in alignment with this music, feeling every note to his core, and this shines through on every track of “Reach.” This isn’t just music; it isn’t just studio music. “Reach” is his heart. “Reach” is his soul. And here he reaches out and shares it with us in a truly elegant way.
“Troppo y Boffo,” track 6, takes us to a fun, genial, upbeat space. It’s a fresh breeze, beach vacation, Saint-Tropez kind of feel. Love it. It’s one of my favorites on the album. “How Familiar,” soulfully following, captivates with its passion. “Velvet and Smoke” is, as one might think, smooth as sumptuous silk. The production on this is wonderful and flawless, in fact, as is the whole thing. Effectively immersive on every level. The album winds down with “The Pink City.” Geographically, Jaipur (India), is known as the Pink City. Here we have the expressive horns and Indian flutes speaking in supreme harmony and eloquence with each other, lulling us into transcendent tranquility.
I love this album, every note and every track. It’s utter serenity. I think you will love it too. “Reach” by Jeff Oster is like a long-awaited tranquilizer for the soul. Tantalizing, soul-soothing, and highly recommended.
Get “Reach” here at Jeff Oster’s official website or wherever music is sold/streamed.