ONE OF THE MOST TALKED ABOUT GIGS AT THE 2011 LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL took place at the Pizza Express on Soho's Dean Street by the Aruán Ortiz and Michael Janisch Quintet. On January 29, 2013 Whirlwind Recordings will release this critically acclaimed performance in the U.S. Banned In London has garnered high praise from the London jazz cognescenti, including 4-star reviews in JazzWise Magazine and The Financial Times, and high praise from the likes of the BBC, The Guardian and many others.
For their new quintet, Ortiz and Janisch have assembled one of the most exciting casts of recent years, calling on one of the world's most prominent and pioneering artists, saxophonist and featured special guest, Greg Osby, first-call NYC drummer Rudy Royston and perennial award-winning Spanish trumpeter Raynald Colom (Perico Sambeat, Robin Eubanks).
Janisch, the Wisconsin-born bassist, now a London resident after living in NYC, is an exceptionally accomplished musician who has arguably done more than anyone to bring about world-class collaborations between American and British jazzmen, culminating in a well-received 2010 album, Purpose Built". Ortiz, a truly remarkable young classically trained Cuban pianist, has made a major impact on the New York scene since he arrived there in 2003. Ortiz was associated with the Wallace Roney Quintet for five years (and is prominently featured on the trumpeter's recent HighNote CD, Home"), and is currently a member of Don Byron's new quartet. Ortiz has also recently launched his own Quartet featuring guitarist David Gilmore, bassist Rashaan Carter and drummer Eric McPherson. Their stunning debut CD, Orbiting" on Fresh Sound New Talent has already received rave reviews everywhere.
Trumpeter Raynald Colom, 34, is French-born but Barcelona-based. Much traveled, he is unquestionably one of his country's most internationally acclaimed musicians. His music is firmly rooted in flamenco and recent sojourns in New York have resulted in two striking recordings on Jazz Village-" Evocation" (with Aruán, Eric and Israeli bassist Omar Avital) and the more recent Rise" featuring Aruán, Rashaan and Rudy Royston in the outstanding rhythm section.
Royston, from Ft. Worth, Texas, the dynamic drummer with this Quintet, has recently become one of the most in-demand, first-call players in New York, partly through his appearances with tenor saxophonist JD Allen's piano-less Trio, and his work with Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas, and Don Byron, just to name a few... For this writer, he is to JD what Elvin was to Coltrane.
Finally the featured guest star: one of the most respected and iconic alto saxophonists in jazz today, relative veteran Greg Osby. Sadly we haven't heard him much on record since he finished his lengthy stint with Blue Note, but he has now formed his own label. As you'll hear, his sound is even more personal than before and his improvisational skills are as inventive as ever.
A few impressions about the five extended workouts heard here..."Precisely Now": composed by Janisch, for your annotator this track personifies everything that is so creative and stimulating about the very best of contemporary jazz and shows there is as much passion in our music now-possibly even more-than there ever was. From the off, Janisch's deep-felt bass line inspires superb slowly building solos from everyone and Rudy is in fantastic form. Jitterbug Waltz": Osby at his most inventive. Ortiz is ruminative before launching into a cascading waterfall of notes. Only glimpse of the original melody comes from Colom towards the end. Orbiting": Ortiz's outstanding haunting theme with stark challenging changes and no apparent musical resolution, since re-recorded for Aruan's own album. The piano solo floats before entering almost Tristano-ish territory. Ask Me Now": Monk's classic is interpreted from a totally different perspective. Wry observations from Colom and Osby in a conversational, even dream-like approach to the tune before a rhythmically quirky groove takes us out. The Maestro": Colom blows over a restrained broken-up rhythm pattern, growing in intensity, then Osby swings like there's no tomorrow. Ortiz takes over, looking reflectively inward before starting to create-and then solve-ingenious rhythmic and harmonic puzzles, becoming increasingly complex and heated, like a dog harrying a tasty bone. An astonishing solo. Then it's all but over. So back to Precisely Now"!
Liner notes used with permission from Tony Hall, Contributor to Jazzwise Magazine
The Aruán Ortiz & Michael Janisch Quintet is a new international musical collaboration of the highest order. Both leaders have performed at the forefront of contemporary jazz during the last decade with some of the world's greatest artists, such as Joe Lovano, Lee Konitz, Wallace Roney, Don Byron and Terry Lyne Carrington. Since their formative years at the renowned Berklee College of Music they have maintained close musical ties resulting in an artistic growth that has culminated in the formation of this unique and progressive ensemble. Their music spans the breadth of contemporary sounds while drawing firmly and authentically from jazz's rich tradition. These are tenets that both Janisch and Ortiz hold as the focal point of their musicianship.
2011 saw the inaugural tour of the AO & MJ Quintet, where they performed across Ireland, France, Spain, and the UK to hugely receptive crowds. The synergy amongst the musicians compounded with the overwhelmingly positive response from audiences, has resulted in a unified effort by Janisch and Ortiz to keep the group together, even though each member is hugely in demand as leaders, sidemen, and educators. Luckily, as a result of the live recording that took place during the groups sold out London Jazz Festival appearance at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in November of 2011, there is a strong impetus for further tours and development. Titled 'Banned in London,' the group's debut captures the onslaught of soundscapes, moods, and explorations, which will prove that this is a potent mixture of world class improvising musicians with a sincere empathy for creating improvised music of the now.
Banned in London was released on October 29, 2012 worldwide (& will be released on January 29, 2013 in The US), and 2013 will see the band embark on a major European tour to support its launch. Keep up to date by visiting the group's record label: Whirlwind Recordings, Ltd.