1

Aruan Ortiz Quartet: Orbiting

Steve Bryant By

Sign in to view read count
Aruan Ortiz Quartet: Orbiting On an island known for its extensive array of virtuoso pianists, Cuban-born Aruan Ortiz distinguishes himself from the pack by a transcendent approach to his instrument, and an encyclopedic knowledge of styles ranging from traditional Afro- Cuban and classical to bop. He's also a prolific composer. Having roared into New York City and taken it by storm in a variety of settings, he now holds down the piano chair for the visionary Afro Horn MX group, composed a collection of Afro-Haitian vocal and chamber music from his hometown of Santiago with the Urbana Camerata Ensemble, and he has recorded electronic music with Bob Gluck.

With the release of Orbiting, Ortiz has completely eschewed his Afro-Cuban roots and recorded a set of straight-ahead music with a quartet consisting of guitarist David Gilmore, his Afro Horn comrade Rashaan Carter on bass, and veteran drummer Eric McPherson. Ortiz starts the set off with "Ginga Carioca," a piece whose ever-so subtle Afro-Brazilian accent places more emphasis on melody than rhythm. He then segues into the title tune, a take on Bill Evans' "Unless It's You." While Ortiz and Gilmore converse in a call-and response manner, Carter's lyrical subtlety perceptively anticipates Ortiz's every move. Another highlight of this date is a hyperactive riff on "KoKo" where Ortiz and company tear through this tune like it's their last living performance. Drummer McPherson takes a cue from the Max Roach playbook on the opening, as Gilmore displays the lightning virtuosity which distinguished his work with the M-BASE crew, with Ortiz matching Gilmore note for note on his frenetic accompaniment.

The group then takes a trip into harmolodic territory on "WRU," showcasing Gilmore's skills as one of the most visionary guitarists of his generation. The set closes with a melancholic return to Ortiz's home on a rendition of "Alone Together" by evoking a Havana rum-mill at 3 a.m. where the last customer is thinking of every reason not to go home to an empty flat.

On Orbiting, the erudite Ortiz has smashed every preconception of Latin pianists and his penchant for innovative expression succeeds in surpassing the output of his musical contemporaries.


Track Listing: Ginga Carioca; Orbiting; The Heir; KoKo; Numbers; WRU; Green City; Alone Together.

Personnel: Aruan Ortiz: piano; David Gilmore: guitar; Rashaan Carter: bass; Eric McPherson: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Cactus" CD/LP/Track Review Cactus
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "Warsaw Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Warsaw Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Away With You" CD/LP/Track Review Away With You
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!