March 1, 1940
There were over 160 performers who played from the stage in 1969 at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Many were , became, and have remained everyday names. Instantly recognizable. Icons. Those are the names that visitors to the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts ask about on a docent tour with a Woodstock alum. "Where you there for...?"
Tim Hardin is not one of the names asked after and those who played with him during his set even less so.
Ralph Towner played at Woodstock. Ralph Towner played with Tim Hardin at Woodstock. Ralph Towner never stopped playing.
An interesting thing (to me at least) about his site's bio page is that the word Woodstock doesn't even appear. Well, he really doesn't need another credit to his very long list.
Towner was born in Chehalis, Washington. His mother was a piano teacher, his father a trumpet player, so it was no surprise that he enrolled as an art major at the University of Oregon in 1958. He changed to composition.
He became interested in jazz and in 1968 Towner moved to New York City to deepen his love within its jazz scene. He was invited to join the Paul Winter Consort.
It was with the Paul Winter Consort that he met Glen Moore, Paul McCandless, and Collin Walcott. They would all form the band Oregon in 1971. Though Towner has played with dozens of other people, Oregon was and continues to be his home port.
There aren't many acoustic jazz guitarists, but Towner is one of if not the best. I am far from an expert about jazz and those who fill that field with wonderful music, but I do recognize a few of the names he's played with and have found their music great and wish it were more widely promoted.
Watch this video and be amazed.
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