Desert Island Jazz
Jeff Oster (2011)

Visit Website

(Photo by Jim Johnson)

You hear vocalist Jeff Oster for the first time, and you ask yourself where he came from, and whether you'd somehow not been paying attention: how could you have missed him? The answer is "easily!"

Born in San Francisco to a musical family, Jeff has not only been singing but also playing trumpet since he was aged eight, and played with several local bands. But it's probable that you missed him, not because you weren't paying attention, but because he took almost two decades off from music in order to raise his family, only recently returning to performing jazz.

Since then he has performed exclusively with the sextet of fellow trumpeter Peter Welker (on whom Jeff heaps huge credit, not only for getting him back behind the microphone again, but also for Peter's own abilities), and they've made two excellent recordings under the name The Oster-Welker Alliance, "Shining Hour" and "Detour Ahead", both on the Jazzed Media label.

Many trumpeters throughout jazz history have also sung—the list includes Louis Armstrong, Henry "Red" Allen, Bunny Berigan, Louis Prima, Roy Eldridge, Chet Baker, and Jack Sheldon—but few singers have played trumpet, and it's this, combined with a great voice, that makes Jeff so effective a vocalist. One thing he can do well that so many others—trumpeters included—should never do at all is to scat: as Jeff himself puts it, "I approach the melody and scatting as if I were playing it on the horn."

Jeff's influences come from all across the spectrum, from vocalists Mel Tormé, Jon Hendrix and Sarah Vaughan to instrumentalists John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Bill Evans and—to come full circle—Peter Welker.

Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Cannonball Adderley At the Lighthouse Big "P" Capitol
# 2 Woody Herman Encore Days of Wine and Roses Philips
# 3 Benny Golson Benny Golson and the Philadelphians Stablemates Blue Note
# 4 John Coltrane Blue Trane Moment's Notice Blue Note
# 5 Tony Bennett and Bill Evans The Tony Bennett-Bill Evans Album But Beautiful Fantasy
# 6 Miles Davis Seven Steps to Heaven Basin Street Blues Columbia
# 7 Woody Herman Encore at Basin Street El Toro Grande Philips
Book A World atlas
Luxury Item A solar-powered HD flat-screen with the sports channel, and a remote control
Castaways by date
Paul Anastasio
25 Sep
Macy Blackman
19 Jun
George Cole
21 Aug
Alex Condé
06 Mar
Kit Eakle
04 Sep
Phillip Greenlief
13 Feb
Noah Griffin
06 Nov
Tammy Hall
27 Feb
Alan Hall
22 May
Christian Howes
27 Mar
Kymberly Jackson
03 Apr
Julie Kelly
20 Feb
Maya Kronfeld and Valerie Troutt
29 May
Jennifer Lee
17 Apr
Steven Lugerner
24 Jul
Steve McQuarry
05 Jun
Jacqui Naylor
13 Nov
Dave Newhouse
14 Aug
Zack Rogow
24 Apr
Holli Ross
17 Jul
Ellen Seeling
02 Oct
Richard Seidel
09 Oct
Edward Simon
31 Jul
Tessa Souter
23 Oct
Steve Turré
07 Aug
Donna Viscuso
20 Nov
Patrick Wolff
16 Jan