Given the obvious classical influence on bassist Gary Peacock's opener, "Gaya," guitarist Ralph Towner's exotic and exclusive use of nylon and 12-string acoustic guitars, and the 20th-century modernity of the melodies and harmonies all over Oracle, it's easy to miss the serious swing going on here. Of the utmost relevance for Oracle is Towner's work with his group Oregon--inadvertently instrumental in the rise of New Age and World Beat music, though the band operates in a much more rarified artistic atmosphere than most of the music in either of those genres. As a guitarist, Towner tends to slip under the radar that made his contemporaries--John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Bill Frisell, and Pat Metheny--icons of their instrument. But one listen to "Tramonto," a waltz in the style of Peacock's former employer, Bill Evans, easily establishes the equality of his jazz credentials. The interplay throughout Oracle helps define another genre that Towner (with ECM) and Peacock helped create: "chamber jazz." --Michael Ross
This Cd is wonderful.