Local Musician Performs at Rhythmix

Courtesy photo

Jeff Oster

Local trumpet and flugelhorn player Jeff Oster doesn't have to travel far for his upcoming gig. It's right here in town at Rhythmix Cultural Works, tomorrow night at 8 p.m.

Oster describes his original ambient music as "Miles Davis meets Enya. It's very relaxed and emotionally fulfilling music." And it's never the same twice.

Friday's live concert at Rhythmix will feature a combination of live-track mixing via laptop by composer Lars Hidde. Oster will add acoustic instruments to that mix featuring Grammy nominated bassist Michael Manring, Carl Weingarten on guitar and Joe Venegoni on percussion. There will also be surprise guest artists.

Oster says, "One of the goals at Rhythmix is to create a place where I can, over the next three months, perform music that is newly created for each performance. No performance will be the same."

Oster is a musician of many talents. His first important role model was his high school band teacher.

"I started with trumpet and flugelhorn and my high school teacher was so fantastic — a good, classical teacher. We marched in all of the tournament parades, like the Orange Bowl (he was living in Miami at the time). We even went to Europe."

In 1979 he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his musical career. He worked as a studio musician and played all the musical genres — Latin, Big Band, jazz, funk, blues and classical.

He had gigs in Vegas, Atlantic City and Lake Tahoe. "I also worked as a limo driver and I got into ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) by pitching my original songs to a songwriter that I drove around. I always had my horn with me, so I could play him a few bars from any song," he remembers.

By 1987 Oster realized that he wanted to perform and record only his own original music.

"Another limo driver buddy of mine convinced me to become a financial planner, so I did. I've kept very busy in the financial planning world, and it has allowed me the financial means to record my own music with some of the best musicians around."

Oster has released three CDs: At Last in 2004, Released in 2005, and his latest CD, True, in 2007. Will Ackerman, guitarist and founder of Windham Hill Records, produced and played with Oster on Released and True.

"For years I played along with Will Ackerman's guitar. I also knew he was one of the best producers, so one day I sent him an e-mail saying that I was a trumpet and flugelhorn player, and would he be interested in producing for me, and maybe even playing with me? So I met him and recorded in Vermont, and Released became CD of the Year and Best Contemporary CD of 2005," as voted by the broadcasters of NewAgeReporter.com.

Hear some of Oster's award-winning ambient music Friday night at Rhythmix.

Oster invites audiences to bring a pillow to sit on if you prefer that to chairs. He will make space for both.

Rhythmix Cultural Works is located at 2513 Blanding Ave. He's performing there June 20, July 18 and Aug. 15.

For information and tickets call 865-5060 or go to www.rhythmix.org and visit Oster at www.jeffoster.com.

Nanette Bradley Deetz writes about the arts for the Alameda Sun.


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