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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aruán Ortiz Trio: Live in Zürich

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aruán Ortiz Trio with Brad Jones and Chad Taylor: Live in Zürich

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Live in Zürich is the twelfth album from Cuban avant-garde composer and pianist Aruán Ortiz. Of those recordings widely available in the US, Ortiz has worked with a variety of group formats. His quartet released Orbiting (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2013), was followed by a trio outing on Hidden Voices (Intakt Records, 2016) and two successive solo recordings, Cub(an)ism (Intakt Records, 2017) and the vinyl-only Cuban Nocturne (Newvelle Records, 2017).Ortiz continues to grow a global fan base after ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aruan Ortiz: Cuban Nocturne

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Cuban pianist and composer Aruán Ortiz started playing piano at the age of nine though his primary instruments were violin and viola. As a teen he began playing arrangements of popular Cuban songs in a school where he was already the director of the band. At fifteen he was first exposed to the music of Chick Corea, setting him on a journey to explore jazz. Cuban Nocturne is fifth of six second-season releases from the vinyl-only Newvelle Records label. The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aruán Ortiz: Cub(an)ism

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The profile of Cuban-born pianist Aruan Ortiz climbed a few rungs on the ladder with the release of 2016's Hidden Voices (Intakt Records). The sound there was dark and brooding, as Ortiz constructed geometric musical shapes filled with sharp angles and unexpected tangents. His covers on the recordings--one tune by Thelonious Monk and another by Ornette Coleman--served as clues as to his own iconoclastic approach. Hidden Voices featured the pianist in the trio format with bassist Eric Revis ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aruán Ortiz: Cub(an)ism

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Hidden Voices (Intakt Records, 2016) brought Cuban born pianist and composer Aruán Ortiz some long-overdue recognition in the U.S. Cub(an)ism, Ortiz' tenth release, is a solo piano outing and his first such recording in the stand-alone format. Recorded in 2016 in Zürich, Switzerland, the album continues Ortiz' exploration of Cuban Cubism, his method of incorporating cubist principles of faceting and multiple perspectives with folkloric elements. Cub(an)ism consists of ten original Ortiz compositions that blend Afro Cuban and Afro ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aruan Ortiz Trio with Eric Revis and Gerald Cleaver: Hidden Voices

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Cuban born pianist and composer Aruán Ortiz is just now starting to broaden his long-overdue recognition after two decades as a leader or collaborator. More than ten years prior to his new trio release, Hidden Voices, he had drawn favorable comparisons to Chick Corea and Ornette Coleman with Aruán Ortiz Trio Vol. 1 (Pimienta Records, 2004). That outing featured an entirely different group but clearly set the groundwork for Ortiz' unique approach to creating and executing forward-looking music.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aruan Ortiz Trio: Hidden Voices

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The jazz piano trio comes in a wide spectrum of approaches, from the traditional--Red Garland, Tommy Flanagan--to the way out there avant-garde, like Cecil Taylor. When the subject of “Cuban pianists" comes up, some of the first names that come to mind are probably those who work in a traditional vein: Chucho Valdes, perhaps, or maybe Gonzalo Rubalcaba, both of whom work the percolating beauty of Latin rhythms to the hilt. Aruan Ortiz--Cuban-born and now New York-based (after ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aruan Ortiz Quartet: Orbiting

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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 ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five with Aruan Ortiz

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Meet Aruan Ortiz: Named “the latest Cuban wunderkind to arrive in the United States" by BET Jazz, this classically trained violist and pianist from Santiago de Cuba, considers himself “a curious person who loves music," and portrays his music as an architectural structure of sounds, incorporating contemporary classical music, Afro-Cuban rhythms, and improvisation as primary material for his compositions. He has received a number of awards such as Latin Jazz Corner's Arranger of the Year 2011 for his contribution on ...