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 Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "To The Universe" CD/LP/Track Review To The Universe
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "Collectables" CD/LP/Track Review Collectables
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "Back To Your Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Back To Your Heart
by Jeff Winbush
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "On A Monday Evening" CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "A Handful Of Songs" CD/LP/Track Review A Handful Of Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2016

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!