Tony Ashton Paul Brownlee McCandless Jr. (born March 24, 1947) is an American multi-instrumentalist and founding member of the American jazz group Oregon. He is one of the few jazz oboists. He also plays bass clarinet, English horn, flute and soprano saxophone.
Paul Brownlee McCandless Jr. was born into a musical family. His father (who was also an oboe and English horn player) taught him clarinet, his mother piano, and he attended the Manhattan School of Music. In 1971 he auditioned with the New York Philharmonic playing English horn and was a finalist.
McCandless has released a series of records of his own compositions with bands he led, including All the Mornings Bring (Elektra/Asylum, 1979), Navigator (Landslide, 1981), Heresay (Windham Hill, 1988), Premonition (Windham Hill, 1992). With Oregon, he has recorded over twenty albums, as well as several albums with Paul Winter.
In 1996, McCandless won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. He also won Grammys in 2007 and 2011 with the Paul Winter Consort for Best New Age Album and in 1993 for Al Jarreau’s album Heaven and Earth. His performance on Oregon’s album 1000 Kilometers was nominated for a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo in 2009. He won the Down Beat Critics’ Poll for Best Established Combo, the Deutscher Schallplatten Preis for his album Ectopia, and the Arbeitskreis Jazz im Bundesverband der Phonographishen Wirtschaft Gold Record Award.
In 1985, McCandless toured Europe with bassist Barre Phillips and German clarinetist Theo Jörgensmann. He has been a guest musician with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, appearing on the 1999 album Greatest Hits of the 20th Century and the 2002 album Live at the Quick, and has toured with tabla musician Sandip Burman. He was a guest of Leftover Salmon and The String Cheese Incident in the late 1990s. He has appeared on stage in duets with pianist Art Lande, with whom he recorded the album Skylight. Since 2013 he has been playing regularly in Europe with the Samo Salamon Bassless Trio.
McCandless is active in classical music. As an orchestral soloist, he has performed with the Camerata Chamber Orchestra of Mexico City, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. Three of Paul’s orchestral scores are heard on the album Oregon in Moscow. “Round Robin”, the opening track, received 2001 Grammy nominations for Best Instrumental Composition and Best Instrumental Arrangement.In 2014, McCandless began performing with Charged Particles a jazz trio based in San Francisco, including opening the 2015 San Luis Obispo Jazz Festival with them and headlining at the Stanford Jazz Festival
The quartet has appeared at Birdland (in New York City), Blues Alley (in Washington, D.C.), Yoshi’s Jazz Club, The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, The Dakota Jazz Club, and other venues throughout the U.S. In 2017, McCandless and Charged Particles did a ten-day tour of Indonesia, performing at the Motion Blue Jazz Club (Jakarta), Jazz Centrum (Surabaya), and the Jazz Gunung Bromo Festival (on Mount Bromo)
The London Telegraph called McCandless’s contribution to The Great Jubilee Concert “remarkable”. Said Jazz Journal, “Paul McCandless delivered terrific, beautifully modulated solos on both oboe and soprano.”
The Washington Post called McCandless a “stellar player” who plays “sparkling harmonic cascades.”
Heresay is an album by American jazz instrumentalist Paul McCandless recorded in 1988 for Windham Hill Records. It was re-released in 1988. (wikipedia)
1981’s Navigator is the second solo album by woodwind player Paul McCandless, and like the first, it’s not much of a departure from his better-known work with the fusion stalwarts Oregon. In front of a four-piece band featuring percussionist/vibraphonist David Samuels and guitarist Ross Traut (both of whom share composition chores), McCandless plays oboe, bass clarinet, English horn, and soprano saxophone lines that are too melodic to truly count as new age music, but aren’t showboatingly complex enough to fit in with the chops-before-inspiration fusion crowd. The resulting music is unfailingly pleasant, but only occasionally, as on the haunting “Non-Navigator,” with its spooky wordless ululations by vocalist Jay Clayton, does it feel truly inspired. Too often, as on Traut’s “The Great Lawn,” the proceedings are fine if tasty playing and a mellow mood are all one requires, but listeners wanting a deeper connection might find the album wanting. (by Stewart Mason)
While we generally think of his work with Oregon and as a sideman with other artists, jazz oboist Paul McCandless has released a few solo albums including “Heresay” back in 1988. This is a great album with a number of upbeat tunes and shows McCandless’ talents on the oboe and other wooodwinds. “Sojourner” is perhaps the most prominent track on the album but honestly there isn’t a single misfire here. From start to finish, a great album. Highly recommended. (Kevin M. Derby)
Recorded April 1988, OTR Studios, Belmont, California
Keith Green (french horn)
Trilok Gurtu (drums, percussion, tabla)
Robert Firpo (percussion)
Wally Kane (flute, piccolo flute, clarinet)
Art Lande (piano)
Cookie Marenco (synthesizer)
Paul McCandless (oboe, english horn, saxophone, piccolo flute, clarinet, penny whistle, wind Controller, synthesizer)
Steve Rodby (bass)
01. Sojourner 8.47
02. Beside A Brook 4.58
03. The Marvelous Harlequin Duck 3.07
04. Cloudy This Morning 5.16
05. Kinesphere 2.55
06. Tail Wind 6.15
07. Hologram 5.15
08. Eyebright 6.18
Music composed by Paul McCandless