Already a successful businessman in the financial industry after a few unsuccessful attempts at music, I had to wonder how much dedication and conviction trumpet/flugelhorn player Jeff Oster would bring to the jazz scene. Oh, right from the start, I could hear skill, technique, and good deal of excellence in this artist’s playing. Now, how much of that was coming from deep within the confines of his heart and soul? That was my question. You know, jazzers like me like to think of our artists as loyal, dedicated, and downright committed to bringing us quality time and time again. Well, after listening closely, I stand convinced that Jeff Oster’s dedication is pretty obvious. Hearing him caress the calling notes of his instrument on each and every tune here in such a seductive fashion told me that this artist comes to seriously play for us.
True is an excellent collection of the mellow, soothing, moving, and intrinsic sounds of contemporary jazz, flavored with the Oster touch (a touch not very much unlike that of Greg Adams). The compositions here are of sheer quality and had no trouble whatsoever capturing my undivided attention. Melodic, rhythmic, beckoning, and often exotic (listen to "Serengeti" and vocalist Samite’s soft utterings in Luganda, a language spoken by Ugandans, for an example).All of True, just Oster’s 2nd album, sways with romantic certainty, the melodies always leading the way to "loveland." The picturesque places this illustrative album takes you are breathtaking and irresistible. It’s an album that truly excites and compels. It’s not just the music; it’s the aura, the mood, the climate. As he puts it: "The songs on this album speak of many places I’ve never been. There was no master plan to capture these worlds in song. Yet I know that if I were to visit, my music would be welcomed with a smile, an embrace and with love." I think you’d be right, Jeff.