Posted on in Art + Soul by Lloyd Barde

Jeff Oster

Here’s a Bay Area artist who is not only loved by those who know him but also recently released a Grammy-worthy album. Next is the fourth excellent recording by Jeff Oster, known as the goto trumpet and flugelhorn player, one of the few working in ambient terrain. His music will take you through chilled and dramatic soundscapes, led by the silken sound of his horn. Creating a combination of electronic synth loops, ambient sounds, and his own flugelhorn, Jeff developed the unique sound he has become famous for: layered soundscapes with a lead melody and horn arrangements that perfectly harmonize with the rest of the song.

With Next, Jeff brings his horn front and center—you’ll hear his unmistakable tone floating over these 12 new tracks like never before. In the process, he seems to have created a new genre—New Age ambient funk. Included is Jeff’s first cover song, “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” inspired by Bonnie Raitt’s amazing performance. You can almost hear Jeff’s horn singing the words of openness and vulnerability. With its irresistible appeal to the feminine, this CD is my wife’s favorite, and I haven’t tired of it one bit.

Oster’s control of nuance and tone is almost eerily perfect; it’s so sublime and fluid. It doesn’t matter what the music calls for, be it funky licks, soothing ambient-ish soundscapes, or blues-tinted jazz runs, he is not just up to the task but excels at it.

This is a landmark album with universal appeal to anyone who has even a mild love for jazz or chill, as well as groove-oriented instrumental music, and did I say romantic? Be sure to catch Jeff’s show at Yoshi’s Oakland on December 14.


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