6

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

Jerome Wilson By

Sign in to view read count
Don Byron / Aruan Ortiz: Random Dances And (A)tonalities
Aruán Ortiz is a Cuban-born pianist who has worked with a number of progressive jazz luminaries including William Parker, Oliver Lake and Nicole Mitchell. Here he performs a program with clarinetist Don Byron which touches on a wide spectrum of music from J. S. Bach's formal beauty to Duke Ellington's crafty blues.

The two men show the ability to knit their styles together from the first track, Ortiz's own "Tete's Blues," with Byron's clarinet snaking its way through Ortiz's thicket of ominous, hammering chords. On the Geri Allen composition "Dolphy's Dance" they play the twisting melody in unison before developing a craggy, involved dialogue. They turn to the classical field for a haunting duet on Federico Mompou's "Musica Callada: Book 1, V.," the piping sound of Byron's clarinet and Ortiz's spaced right-hand flourishes peeking through a curtain of repeated low-end piano notes.

Byron breaks out his seldom-heard tenor sax in a few places. His own "Joe Btfsplk" is a bebop-centered jaunt where he blows exuberantly while Ortiz plays cat-and-mouse with the chords of Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee." Ellington's "Black and Tan Fantasy" is given a smoother ride. Byron leans into the melody with a heavy tone while Ortiz trudges beside him playing off-center ragtime/stride piano. Tenor is also heard on Ortiz's piece "Numbers," but piano carries the lead at the beginning, methodically climbing while the tenor swoons against it. The piece eventually settles into an uneasy noir mood with heavy bass chords and icy high notes from the piano encircling increasingly harried saxophone.

Bach's "Violin Partita No. 1" makes a lovely, flowing solo clarinet feature for Byron, while on his own piece "Delphian Nuptials" a circular clarinet figure wraps around mellow, blues-tinged piano elaborations which sound like laid-back Keith Jarrett. "Impressions on a Golden Theme," credited to both men, is supposedly based on Benny Golson's "Along Came Betty" but the hard bop standard is dissected and transformed until it reemerges as a delicate cloud of short clarinet and piano phrases that connect into a dreamy abstraction.

Ortiz-Byron duets range from recognizable jazz and classical shapes to beautiful, original forms with only a nodding relationship to conventional jazz. At different points, this music can be ominous, gentle, familiar or alien but it is always intriguing. These two men bring out something special in each other's thinking and playing.

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.

Album information

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

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Contest Giveaway

Summit Records Contest Giveaway

ELIGIBLE WINNERS: 5
DAYS REMAINING: 22

Prize: Summit Records Contest Giveaway

Sponsored by Summit Records

Sign in to enter

Weekly newsletter

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.

Shop Amazon

More

Read 4K
4K
Modasaurus
Read Signals
Signals
Trio Linguae
Read History Gets Ahead of the Story
History Gets Ahead of the Story
Jeff Cosgrove / John Medeski / Jeff Lederer
Read Prism
Prism
Conference Call
Read Conspiracy
Conspiracy
Terje Rypdal
Read Freya
Freya
Tineke Postma
Read Unearth
Unearth
New Hermitage

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.