Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

10

Aruán Ortiz Trio: Live in Zürich

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Cuban pianist Aruán Ortiz just goes from strength to strength on his third release on the Intakt imprint, although it is his twelfth overall. While most of the repertoire on Live In Zurich appears on previous albums, what he does with it here, through dramatically extending and mashing pieces together, is nothing short of remarkable. This date at the Unerhört! Festival in the Swiss capital was the last of a two-week European tour, and that really shows in the tightness of the trio and their ability to negotiate the gear-shifts and switch-backs that Ortiz demands while making it seem unforced.

What they achieve is a stunning blend of the earthy and the cerebral. Partly that's down to Ortiz's grounding in the rhythmic complexity of his native island, allied to his classical training and appreciation of the jazz tradition. But it also stems from his choice of Chad Taylor to occupy the drum stool. Taylor, who first garnered international attention in the Chicago Underground Duo (etc) with cornetist Rob Mazurek, proves liable to conjure a groove at the slightest provocation but also unfailingly explores timbre and texture.

That much becomes evident straight from the off on "Part 1: Analytical Symmetry/Fractal Sketches" where the metallic twang of Taylor's mbira moves from spacious ritual to infectious dance. Thereafter comes a sequence of peaks and lulls, building intensity through an intoxicating series of interlocking patterns which would make Craig Taborn proud, only to draw breath via minimalist interplay, before launching again with renewed vigor. Within that mix there's still time for a reflective solo piano interlude, reminiscent of the fare on Ortiz's acclaimed Cu(ban)ism (Intakt, 2017), and for bassist Brad Jones to alternate between dark-toned impetus and supple, responsive counterpoint.

The trio repeats the same trick on "Part 2: Bass Improvisation/Etude #6 Op 10/Open Or Close & The Sphinx," although this time the component materials originate from sources as seemingly disparate as Chopin and Ornette Coleman. Jones' introductory solo segues into a corkscrewing vamp, doubled by Ortiz, and they're away into another enthralling excursion. The pianist shines here, early on endowing the dovetailed figures with a feverish intensity only increased by the independence of his two hands, then later ramping up the tension with a hammered single note over another bustling groove. In Ortiz's conception it's hard to tell where Chopin ends and Ornette starts, but the final bluesy bounce is all Coleman.

After such excitement, "Alone Together" offers a cooling balm, albeit one enlivened by Jones's swooping arco sighs and Ortiz's spattering crystalline droplets. Piano and bass set out the melody, with Jones' phrasing just a fraction behind the pianist, to create a sort of pleasantly woozy aural aftertaste. Towards the end, Taylor returns to mbira to engender a spectral shimmer, sitting perfectly behind Jones' gentle throb and Ortiz's tinkling piano, but also forming a satisfying echo of the disc's opening gambit, encouraging an instant rerun of this superb performance.

Track Listing: Part 1: Analytical Symmetry/Fractal Sketches; Part 2: Bass Improvisation/Etude #6 Op 10/Open Or Close & The Sphinx; Alone Together.

Personnel: Aruán Ortiz: piano; Brad Jones: bass; Chad Taylor: drums, mbira.

Title: Live in Zürich | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Intakt Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Open & Close/The Sphinx

Open & Close/The Sphinx

Aruán Ortiz
Hidden Voices

Koko

Koko

Aruán Ortiz
Orbiting

Album Reviews
Radio
Album Reviews
Take Five With...
Read more articles
Live in Zürich

Live in Zürich

Intakt Records
2018

buy
Cub(an)ism

Cub(an)ism

Intakt Records
2017

buy
Cuban Nocturne

Cuban Nocturne

Newvelle Records
2017

buy
Hidden Voices

Hidden Voices

Intakt Records
2016

buy

Upcoming Shows

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Correlations Album Reviews
Correlations
By Peter Hoetjes
March 19, 2019
Read Schizophrenia: The Yang Project Album Reviews
Schizophrenia: The Yang Project
By Roger Farbey
March 19, 2019
Read Zyklus 1 Album Reviews
Zyklus 1
By Mark Corroto
March 19, 2019
Read Apotheosis Album Reviews
Apotheosis
By Chris Mosey
March 19, 2019
Read Silverthorne Album Reviews
Silverthorne
By Glenn Astarita
March 19, 2019
Read Absinthe Album Reviews
Absinthe
By Mark Sullivan
March 18, 2019
Read Chi Album Reviews
Chi
By John Ephland
March 18, 2019