Pianist/composer Aruan Ortiz Presents A Musical Unit In Perpetual Motion On His New Recording, "Orbiting"


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Aruan Ortiz
Pianist/Composer Aruán Ortiz Presents a Musical Unit in Perpetual Motion on His New Recording, Orbiting (Available May 29, 2012 on Fresh Sound/New Talent)

Orbiting features The Aruán Ortiz Quartet: Aruán Ortiz (piano), David Gilmore (guitar), Rashaan Carter (bass), Eric McPherson (drums)

Aruán Ortiz Appearances

Aruán Ortiz Residency at IBeam, Brooklyn, every Friday in April

Aruán Ortiz 4tet, Celebrating the release of Orbiting at Smalls, April 10, 8:30-11:00 PM, featuring JD Allen, Rashaan Carter & Eric McPherson

About Aruán Ortiz

Jazz pianist/composer Aruán Ortiz, “the latest Cuban wunderkind to arrive in the United States" (John Murph, BETJazz.com), hit the ground running when he arrived on the American jazz scene in 2003. A classically trained violist and pianist, this Santiago de Cuba native's sound is as marked by the influence of the contemporary classical composers such as Schoenberg, Ravel, and Copland, as it is by traditional Afro-Cuban sounds and jazz masters such as Bud Powell, Monk, Andrew Hill and Muhal Richard Abrams. A major testament to his massive talent, since setting foot in the States, Ortiz was quickly called upon to perform and record with artists such as Terri Lyne Carrington, Greg Osby, Cindy Blackman, Esperanza Spalding, Gary Thomas, Wayne Krantz, Rashied Ali, Stefon Harris, Horacio “el negro" Hernández, Giovanni Hidalgo, Lionel Loueke, Jane Bunnett, Jerry Bergonzi and others. He is currently featured on Steve Turre's newest recording, “Woody's Delight", and on the new Wallace Roney album, “Home" (both on HighNote, 2012).

The new album from the Aruán Ortiz Quartet, Orbiting (Fresh Sound/New Talent, May 29, 2012) was inspired by the result of musical and personal experiences that have influenced Ortiz's life in one form or another since he arrived in New York City in 2008. In this relatively short span of time, the gifted pianist/composer has had the wonderful opportunity to be near some of his biggest idols, sharing the bandstand and recording studio environments with them, and absorbing how they apply their wisdom, ideas and philosophies to music in a creative and enlightened way. These inspiring moments, of which there were many, were no doubt two-way streets, with Ortiz's fellow musicians certainly inspired by his overall mastery of the keyboard and the incredible depth of his fount of ideas.

Orbiting was concieved more as a musical unit in perpetual motion than as the more traditional concept of solo/accompaniment. With the support of David Gilmore on guitar, Rashaan Carter on bass and Eric McPherson on drums, the music was recorded and mixed at Brooklyn Samurai Recording studios, with the prodigious hands of Dave Stoller at the controls.

On Orbiting each of the musicians tells his personal story and in turn that story connects with the collective sound unit. The musical material from David, Rashaan and Eric decentralizes the funcional form based on resolutions of molded frases, using their own schemes and structures, but in turn seeking out a strong interaction with the other musicians, allowing each of the compositions of Orbiting to be seen from different angles in a deliberate and justified way, and providing the end result of an unexpected fluidity.

Orbiting opens with “Ginga Carioca" by the great Hermeto Pascoal, which is given intense and attractive treatment, whith each solo creating a new melodic-harmonic statement within the piece. The title track, inspired by the song “Orbit" by Bill Evans, “is divided in two sections, the rhythmic drum & bass vibe with a syncopated melody. This work is like a perpetual molto, where there is no apparent musical resolution; the ending surprises the listener every time", explains Ortiz. The album continues with “The Heir", dedicated to Ortiz's son, Damian, and about “how his life will evolve on an unknown path that he was chosen to follow in his life. It's also about the growth of human spiritual life, in its connexion with balance of the nature", said the pianist. With his versions of “Koko" and “Wru", Ortiz simply offers a humble tribute to two of the fathers of this true art form, Charlie “Bird" Parker and Ornette Coleman, respectively. “Numbers" is a piece based on cyclic phrases in a numeric combination, “inspired by the numeric combination of Fibonacci numbers, math in music, or the music of math, following ancient philosophies that created great and beautiful music." Orbiting concludes spectaculalarly with “Green City". a tribute to Boston in the summertime, where Ortiz spent five years of his life, and the standard “Alone Together". Ortiz explains his choice of this tune, “Somebody once told me that elephants always return to the place they were born, with this tune I return to my roots, using the gorgeous melody of this song to transform it into a bolero feel, because, as in “The Heir", after an intense storm, the calm always returns.

The material composed on Orbiting was only possible thanks to many thousands of hours of learning from great musicians, teachers and innovators such as Charlie Banacos, Wallace Roney, Muhal Richard Abrams, Terri Lyne Carrington, Greg Osby, Hal Crook, Antoine Roney, among so many artists that I've had the pleasure to be associated with.

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