The four musicians broke away from Winter in 1970 to form their own group, Oregon (Towner and Moore met while students at the University of Oregon). They recorded their first record in 1970, but the label, Increase Records, went out of business before it could be released. (It was released by Vanguard in 1980 as Our First Record.) The group's first release was Music of Another Present Era in 1972. With that debut and its follow-ups Distant Hills and Winter Light (all on Vanguard), Oregon established itself as one of the leading improvisational groups of its day, blending Indian and Western classical music with jazz, folk, space music and avant-garde elements. The group released numerous albums on Vanguard throughout the 1970s, then made three records for Elektra. After a couple years hiatus devoted to their individual projects, the group resumed recording for ECM in 1983.
During a 1984 concert tour, Walcott was killed in an automobile accident in East Germany. Oregon temporarily disbanded, but reformed by 1987 to record Ecotopia (its final album for ECM) with new percussionist Trilok Gurtu. Gurtu made two further records as a member of the group, but by 1993 he had left; the group recorded two albums as a trio after his departure. With new member Mark Walker on drum kit, Oregon assumed a more conventional jazz orientation beginning with the 1996 album Northwest Passage. In 2001 the ensemble traveled to Moscow, Russia to record with the Moscow Tchaikovsky Orchestra. The recording garnered four Grammy nominations.
The group enjoys an avid and eclectic following. Apollo astronauts took a recording of Oregon's music to the moon and named two lunar craters after compositions by the ensemble "Icarus" and "Ghost Beads".From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia