Audio Files


Pandit Ravi Shankar
"Collin was a dear student of mine and became a disciple in the Indian tradition. Had he kept to sitar and worked harder he would have become one of my best students. I was deeply shocked by his untimely death - and will always miss the wonderful person that he was!"

Ralph Towner
"I can still feel the weight of Collin’s hand on my shoulder. It was as if a large, compact animal had gently perched there. With those firm but gentle hands he would coax every sound he could possibly find from any object with a potential for music in it. Anything that would attract his curiosity such as a shell, a box, a traditional instrument, would receive his full attention as he methodically rapped, tugged, plucked on it or breathed through it until he determined whether it would qualify to join his arsenal of musical instruments. He combined the scholarly approach with the instinctive, the passionate with the pragmatic in the most complete and successful ways that I had ever seen. The beauty of such a man lives and teaches us forever. In stressful times, his example still is available for advice and solace. His formidable strength and gentleness still exists and helps to guide us in this life."

Glen Moore
"Oregon was truly ahead of its time, and Collin was so unusually gifted as a trained classical percussionist, a conductor, and as a classical guitarist...he had so much talent and such a refined sense of being a student of all musics that he never spent any time promoting himself. He lived as a true Buddhist...absolutely in the moment."

Jack DeJohnette
"I loved him and his music very much. He was one of the early pioneers of world music before it was called that. We worked together on the Bitches Brew sessions, also one of the first major cross over albums."

Rich Goodhart
"I had recently acquired a set of tabla, was given a couple of rudimentary lessons, and wanted to go further with it. Oregon was in town for a concert so I decided to look for Collin backstage thinking he might have some suggestions. Asking him if he knew of any teachers in my area, he thought for a moment, said no, then offered his phone number if I wanted it (his country home was about 75 miles from me). I thought to myself "well, yeah, I guess your number will do". (My appreciation for his music only bordered on idolatry at that time in my life). I called him several weeks later and asking how much I owed him for my first lesson, Collin replied "somewhere between zero and a million dollars". Six months into my studies, the amount paid still at zero, I asked again. He said he would let me know when I was ready to start paying him. The average lesson was about two hours, not including breakfast with his family if I got there early or lunch if I arrived later. Mostly it was tabla with occasional other things like a bit of jamming (with Collin on sitar) or a demonstration of his sanza technique. Collin taught me many things just by being around him, only some of which had to do with music. I had the great honor and privilege of being the only ongoing student he ever had. Aside from a couple of edible offerings from my garden I never got one cent closer to a million dollars."

Thomas Z. Shepard (composer of soundtrack for the film Such Good Friends)
"Working with Collin was very informative. I sat on the floor while he tried out several different rhythmic strums on the sitar for me. It only took a few minutes to arrive at one that worked perfectly with the song."

Scott Davidson
"In the summer of 1979, I went to the Creative Music Studio mainly because Collin Walcott was one of the teachers there at the time. Trilok Gurtu and Naná Vasconcelos were also there that summer. Since the early 70s I had been a big Oregon fan, and I remember listening to their records over and over to figure out what Collin was doing. I loved his way of coloring the music, and the way he played just the right thing at the right time.

I went to many Oregon concerts (and later Codona) and sat in the front row so I could watch Collin play. He always smiled at me while I tried to hide the fact that he was my idol. I remember one time Collin was having back trouble and missed the first set at a now defunct club west of Philadelphia called the Main Point. At the second set I could tell he was playing while in pain.

At the Creative Music Studio (Woodstock, NY) I discovered Collin was a very good teacher. I had studied tabla in India a couple of years before this, but Collin showed me a few things that were new to me. He also was very kind to let me photocopy his little spiral music book, with Codona and Oregon music. He was very generous to let me do this, and I remember that when he handed it to me, he looked me in the eye and said 'Don't lose it' in a firm voice (I didn't lose it). Glued to the inside of the cover was a picture of Alla Rakha.

Collin gave me his phone number and address and said to call him if I wanted to get together at his farm for a lesson. I regret that since I lived in Delaware, quite far away, that I didn't get a chance to visit him there, but for several years I did get to get together in hotel rooms for a lesson whenever Oregon passed through Philadelphia. I asked him how much I could pay him and he said if the lessons ever get to be regular, then we could work something out. I never did pay him anything, but I always feel like I owe him so much. A lot of who I am as a percussionist comes directly from Collin.

I will always remember Collin as a very kind man and a great musician. I really don't think Collin has gotten the recognition he deserves, and I think this web site is a wonderful way to honor his spirit."

Claudio Boffa Tarlatta
"Since the early 1970s, I have been an Oregon fan. I loved Collin's music. I was deeply sad when 16 years ago the world lost such a person and a musician. When finally in 1994 I saw for the first time in Italy an Oregon performance, I gave personally to Ralph Towner, a humble poem dedicated to the late Collin Walcott. Now, I've found this beautiful site, and I feel the need to share with you these few and humble words to remember him."

To Collin (In Loving Memory)
Taste of home and to be close to each other.
We are like dew in the sun,
but the emotions we gave to the others still remain.
I know that you're playing somewhere on a distant planet,
and the stars, now, have something to learn.

Steve Silberman
"In the summer of 1977, I was a student of poet Allen Ginsberg's at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. A year or so earlier, my life had changed when I walked into a friend's room at Oberlin College, and 'Aurora,' from the Oregon album Distant Hills, was playing. I thought it was the most beautiful music I'd ever heard. Soon after that, I bought my first jazz album: Collin's Cloud Dance (three decades and hundreds of albums later, it's still one of my favorite records). At Naropa -- an enthusiastic 19-year-old poet -- I told Ginsberg about my discovery. To my surprise, he'd heard of Oregon. 'Oh yes,' he said, 'in fact, they're here!' (Such synchronicities were typical of Ginsberg, and Naropa, and in fact most good things).

I remember that summer, Collin gave a concert in the gymnasium where the big Buddhist dharma-lectures were held. The concert was a duet with an old Japanese shakuhachi master, and they both sat on the floor, Collin with his sitar and various percussion instruments around him. It was very late, perhaps midnight, when they began, and there were only about a dozen people there at most, sitting in a circle around them. They just played, following the deep grain of the music, for over an hour. At one point, tears rolled down my cheeks. I felt very lucky to be there. Thinking back, I feel even luckier."

2003. All rights reserved to the Collin Walcott Family