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...

6

Don Byron / Aruan Ortiz: Random Dances And (A)tonalities

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
The title Random Dances And (A)tonalities hints at the inclusive nature of this studio encounter between Cuban-born, New York-based pianist Aruán Ortiz and American clarinetist Don Byron. Ortiz's admiration for Byron's work caused him to seek out the reedman and led to this session that brings together their varied backgrounds. Between the two, they encompass early jazz, the liberated mainstream, avant-garde and classical realms. The resultant program contains three originals from the pianist, two from Byron, one jointly credited tune and four covers from across the spectrum.

Ortiz starts his own "Tete's Blues" with a sequence of interlocking rhythms that recall episodes from his outstanding Live In Zurich (Intakt, 2018), then slows to a stately pace for Byron's clarinet to coolly traverse the expressive theme statement. Then the clarinetist enjoys a fluid excursion effortlessly building from the written material, before the unaccompanied pianist's mix of hammered keystrokes, ripples and shimmering patterns create an exciting finale to a splendid opener. Ortiz also shines on his own "Arabesques Of A Geometrical Rose (Spring)" where he contrasts a clipped treble motif with deep bass, which continues through the cerebral unisons and darting lines of this piece.

Tracks where the two principals engage in open dialogue stand out. Byron's flinty "Joe Btfsplk" unfurls into dashing quicksilver interplay between his burnished tenor saxophone and Ortiz's piano before sharing a closing flourish. Geri Allen's "Dolphy's Dance" corkscrews from a boppish head into fragmented exchanges. Of the other covers, Duke Ellington's "Black And Tan Fantasy" receives a playful, blues-imbued treatment with Byron on tenor, while Catalan composer Frederic Mompou's "Musica Callada" is restrained and wistful.

Byron tackles Bach's beautiful Violin Partita No. 1 In B Minor largely alone on pure-toned clarinet, although Ortiz finally adds a spare chordal backing. The lilting melody of the clarinetist's "Delphian Nuptials" follows in a similar vein, with Ortiz's melodic underpinning turning rhapsodic. The jointly credited "Impressions On A Golden Theme" unites lyrical piano and undulating clarinet in abstract association before ending on an unresolved note.

In consort, Ortiz and Byron pay fulsome homage to their formative influences but, in covering so many bases, they tread a tightrope between focus and dilution.

Track Listing: Tete's Blues; Black And Tan Fantasy; Música Callada: Book 1, V. ([M.M.] crochet = 54); Joe Btfsplk; Numbers; Dolphy's Dance; Violin Partita No.1 In B Minor, BWV 1002, II. Double; Delphian Nuptials; Arabesques Of A Geometrical Rose; Impressions On A Golden Theme.

Personnel: Don Byron: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Aruán Ortiz: piano.

Title: Random Dances And (A)tonalities | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Intakt Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

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

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

Related Articles

Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019
Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019