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4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 16, 2011
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Editorial Reviews


Until recently, you didn t hear much trumpet outside of jazz in contemporary music. There s Jon Hassell, Mark Isham and you re pretty much done. But lately there s been a cavalcade of trumpeters with electronic aspirations, including Nils Petter Molvaer, Ben Neill, Giorgio Li Calzi and Arve Henriksen. Jeff Oster should be on that list as well. Until his 2005 debut, Released, he was a journeyman horn player. Now he s the go-to trumpeter for any number of musicians, including Windham Hill Records founder, Will Ackerman. With this third CD, Jeff Oster enters edgier terrain with an even more personal sound. Surrender is an album of 21st century lounge music, morphed through soulful melodies, snaky grooves and film noir textures. All That Matters establishes the terrain with a swampy rhythm redolent of Jon Hassell s sound from about 16 years ago, during his Blue Screen phase. Oster smears harmonized and echoing trumpet across the slow groove, intoning a dark, Miles-esque minimalist melody. With a trumpet sound that seems as if it were blown in Rudy Van Gelder s studio circa 1958 and then electrified, Jeff Oster has made music for dark nights and rain-swept city streets. But this is thoroughly modern music which is by turns growling, slinky, seductive and trancey. He spaces out completely on 53 Mirrors , echoing his flugelhorn against a cycle of tuned percussion sounds and swirling, tremulous synthesizers. Oster loves playing these long, legato lines, leaving notes hanging sustained above the firmament like frozen skyways. While Oster s previous album, True, featured many guest musicians, Surrender is mostly a two-man show. He s joined by Bryan Carrigan, who co-wrote all but three tracks and co-produced the album in addition to programming and playing keyboards. The lone signature guest is Diane Arkenstone who goes Donna Summers-breathy on the title track and plays the role of the affirming chorus of Oster s philosophical musings on The Voice. Jeff Oster might want to leave the lyric and poetry writing behind, but he s found a personal voice for his horns. While the influences are apparent Miles, Hassell, Isham he s synthesized them into his own mood-evoking music: a dark, smoke-filled lounge of liquid neon and tarnished chrome. Surrender is the Echoes CD of the Month for September. - John Diliberto --John Diliberto - Echoes Radio program

There is a bit of a conundrum with Surrender, the new album by multi-instrumentalist Jeff Oster - for a start is it Jazz or New Age, or perhaps exotic electronica? Truth is you have to listen to it yourself and decide which musical category it falls within. For me it is a very exotic mix of Jazz flugelhorn and trumpet bedded into a series of electronica and ambient soundscapes, with added vocals. There are only three musicians involved on this album: Jeff Oster - brass, synths, loop programming, vocals, Bryan Carrigan - sound design, synths, drum programming, and Diane Arkenstone - vocals. This is an interesting mix of styles and techniques, Mr Oster's aerie flugelhorn and trumpet float whispery over the ambient electronics, sunk sometimes so low into the audio mix as to be a ghost of what should be, the notes aerated and detached, seemingly hanging in the air. To this voices whisper, Ms Arkenstone's delightful vocals drift through and it all means... What? I'm not sure really, but I like the intrigue it engenders. Mr Oster's brass playing is reminiscent of late period Miles Davis, melodic yet otherworldly, and the electronic soundscapes are very chill out room. And there is an innate coolness running throughout the album, the music is just begging to be used in some art house movie soundtrack. I've played Surrender several times now and it just grows more interesting each time, the flugelhorn, in particular, has a dynamic and sound so unique and dramatic. The eleven track titles are: All That Matters, Você Quer Dançar, Nikki's Dream, The Voice, Essence of Herb, Surrender, 2 Di 4, The Theology of Success, Beautiful Silence, 53 Mirrors, Enlightened Darkness. I'm not sure what it all means, but I like it and it's an album that invites you to investigate it again and again. Highly Recommended. - John Peters --John Peters - The Borderland (U.K.)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. All That Matters
  2. Você Quer Dançar
  3. Nikki's Dream
  4. The Voice
  5. Essence of Herb
  6. Surrender (Feat. Diane Arkenstone)
  7. 2 Di 4
  8. The Theology of Success
  9. Beautiful Silence
  10. 53 Mirrors
  11. Enlightened Darkness

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 16, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Retso Records
  • ASIN: B005DSOKA0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,235 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have purchased dozens and dozens of CDs from Amazon and never felt it necessary to leave a review. Have never had to return any of them either. But unfortunately this is not the case here. I am now on my second copy of this CD sent from Amazon. Just as with the first copy, it cannot be recognized when I put it into any of my cd players. A first for any of my CD library. One incident is unfortunate, two indicates a serious manufacturing defect that probably has affected many of the copies sold. The CD lists Future Disc Mastering as the engineer master and Retro Records as the manufacturer. One of them did not do the greatest of jobs. Before any Jeff Oster fans get upset this is not a negative against the artist, I rate his music highly. But, these are supposed to be product reviews on this site, not just the music; as a product, it is dismal and worthless.

Follow-up 6-10-12
Jeff Oster personally contacted me and was kind enough to supply a working replacement - for which I thank him profusely.
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By B Wilson on September 9, 2011
Format: MP3 Music
Euphoria is a place. It now exists, suddenly materialized before us, as we surrender ourselves to the music, the heartbeat, of this artist's creation.

I was fascinated by Jeff Oster's initial collection entitled, At Last. A year later, Released, had me firmly ensnared. It became the soundtrack of my world. I was called back to visit places deep in my soul. And, it remains a constant in my life when I have the need to escape. Two years of waiting saw the release of, True. It was worth the wait. Jeff never fails to create music of such simple beauty.

Now, we can fall in love with his music all over again--Surrender. This collection by Oster, along with the talents of Bryan Carrigan, pervades desire and passion. The captivating Diane Arkenstone may also be credited for her talents on the title song. Just listen to this song with someone you love or desire!

Directions: Pour two glasses of wine, mix well, and...surrender.
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Format: Audio CD
When you get tired of struggling with the whole world,
Without fear, surrender only love

When you sit alone at the late night what thoughts come to your mind? What desires do you feel and what emotions touch your heart? You don't have to pretend for somebody. You just sense your real essence and you are able to look into depths of your inner world.

Never before has the trumpet of Jeff Oster sounded so intimate. Delicate keyboards environment of Bryan Carrigan and the sensual vocals of Diane Arkenstone create a very personal atmosphere for his newest project. The music of "Surrender" is suitable for meditating in solitude as well as for intimate moments with your loved ones.

Jeff Oster returns this time with a brilliant work. His talent is illuminated with fresh colors on "Surrender". The artist brought the sound of trumpet into new age music and showed amazing abilities of this classical instrument which seems so usual. And Jeff Oster bravely develops his unique style. It becomes more complete and modern.

It cannot be the music for just any moment but it may be the music for various situations and states of mind. And this is the album "Surrender" of Jeff Oster.

Serge Kozlovsky
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Format: Audio CD
I'm not a trumpet guy, but I like good music regardless of the instrument, and this album had my ears entranced from the first track to the last.

Like me, most people might be put off by a trumpet album because the instrument is usually associated with the very exclusive, traditional jazz playing of Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis.

However, Jeff Oster is more in tune with the cool fusion of trumpet icons Miles Davis and Herb Alpert, the latter of whom is paid tribute to on the standout track, "Essence of Herb."

Oster lays his trumpet, flugelhorn, and synthesizer tones over hip-hop and techno backbeats programmed by co-composer and sound designer Bryan Carrigan. The result is an intoxicating blend of jazz, new age, and urban styles.

The album also features subliminal vocals by Oster that give the music a shadowy edge, with some brightness provided in the form of more prominent vocals from Diane Arkenstone.

What makes Oster's playing, and ultimately his music, accessible is that rather than blow off as many notes as possible per second, as is the case with standard jazz trumpet playing, he coaxes and conjures, much like a snake charmer. Oster uses his horns in service of the melodies and themes rather than showboating, giving the music more depth and scale.

With trippy numbers like "All That Matters," "Você Quer Dançar," "Nikki's Dream," "Essence of Herb," and "Beautiful Silence," Surrender is as near-perfect as an album can get.

My only major complaint - at just over three minutes, "Essence of Herb" is too short!
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Format: Audio CD
Jeff Oster's name is one I've been hearing quite a bit recently - often as a session musician on a number of new releases produced by Windham Hill Records founder William Ackerman. However, I was also familiar Jeff's own new release, "Surrender" which was chosen by the nationally syndicated Echoes radio program as the "CD of the Month" for September 2011. What distinguishes him from nearly every other musician in this genre are his instruments of choice - trumpet and flugelhorn. Jeff is charting new sonic territory in his expansion of these instruments into a context of electronica, downtempo beats, and loop based electro-orchestral bed tracks. Although the description of his music as "Miles meets Enya" is a good starting point, it soon transcends those references as various elements combine in audio alchemy.

He is joined by producer and engineering master Bryan Carrigan, who adds additional synthesizers, drum programming, and sound design, as well as having co-produced and co-written eight of the songs on this album. Also adding her own inimitable talents to a number of the compositions is vocalist Diane Arkenstone, who is an artist of note in her own right.

Trying to pick favorites on this CD is an exercise in futility, as literally every track is a winner. While there is indeed a dreamy, almost surreal quality to the music, it is infused with a cool urban vibe that makes it intriguing, entrancing, and irresistible.
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