Michael Janisch presents:
Aruán Ortiz Quintet featuring Greg Osby
@ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club
11 November 2011
Click an image to enlarge.
Aruán Ortiz biography
A former 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 by traditional Afro Cuban sounds and jazz greats
Bud Powell, Art Tatum, and Thelonious Monk. After winning Best Cuban
Composition at the Symposium of Cuban Music in Jamaica in 1995,
Aruán was discovered by the Spanish record label Magic Music/Universal
Latino, which brought him to Spain. There he participated in the
compliation project La Isla de la Música (1996), which was
acclaimed by the international press and recognised as one of the
first albums to bring Cuban music to the European and American mainstream.
While in Europe he was the recipient of various awards including
Best Jazz Interpretation, Festival de Jazz in Vic, Spain (2000)
and Semifinalist, Jas Hennessy Piano Solo Competition, Montreux,
Ortiz’s jazz career took off as a sideman
in Barcelona and Paris, and later in the U.S. with Wallace Roney,
Antoine Roney, Terri Lyne Carrington, Greg Osby, Cindy Blackman,
Esperanza Spalding, Gary Thomas, Wayne Krantz, Rasheed Ali, Stefon
Harris, Horacio “el negro” Hernández, Giovanni
Hidalgo, Lionel Lueke, Jane Bunnett, and Jerry Bergonzi.
While Ortiz considers himself a jazz musician before
a Cuban jazz musician, he incorporates Middle Eastern, Asian, African,
and Cuban rhythmic elements into his compositions. This is evident
in the original compositions in his recordings as a band leader
(Impresión Tropical, Universal 1996; Vol. 1: Mandarín
en el Espacio, Universal, 2004; Alameda, Fresh Sound, 2009), where
Aruán pays homage the jazz trio and quartet formats, recalling
the stylings of jazz greats such as Andrew Hill and Phineas Newborn
while incorporating the rhythms of his Cuban antecedents.
Ortiz’s ability to subtly incorporate world music elements
into avante garde jazz makes his sense of creativity unique and
recognizable in different styles. This musical vision led him to
be featured on dozens of albums such as the Flamenco influenced
recording ‘Evocación’ by the Spanish trumpetist
Raynald Colom (2009), Esperanza Spalding’s “Junjo,”
(Ayva Música, 2005), Arturo Stable’s “Notes on
Canvas” (Origen Records, 2005) and “Calls” (Origen
Records, 2009), Russell Kirk’s “Path to Journal Square”
(Inner Circle Music, 2009).
In 2006 Ortiz was invited to play Nat King Cole’s
music in Monroe Kent III’s solo performance “Unforgettable,”
The Nat King Cole Story, at the Stoneham Theatre. Most recently,
Ortiz recorded on the innovative jazz album “Wallace Roney,
Live at the Iridium” (High Note, 2009).
For the last two years, Ortiz has been a member
of this multi award winning jazz legend’s quintet, Sound of
the Future, touring and recording extensively around the world.
Greg Osby biography
Saxophonist, composer, producer and educator Greg
Osby has made an indelible mark on contemporary jazz as a leader
of his own ensembles and as a guest artist with other acclaimed
jazz groups for the past 20 years. Highly regarded for his insightful
and innovative approach to composition and performance, Osby is
a shining beacon among the current generation of jazz musicians.
He has earned numerous awards and critical acclaim for his recorded
works and passionate live performances.
Born and reared in St. Louis, Greg Osby began
his professional music career in 1975, after three years of private
studies on clarinet, flute and alto saxophone. Coming from a vibrant
and musical city, Osby showed an early interest in the performing
arts and spent his years in secondary school with a heavy involvement
in Blues and Jazz groups. In 1978 Osby furthered his musical education
at Howard University (Washington, D.C.) where he majored in Jazz
Studies. He continued his studies at the Berklee College of Music
(Boston, MA) from 1980 to 1983.
Upon relocating to New York in early 1983, Osby
quickly established himself as a notable and in demand sideman for
artists as varied as Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Jack DeJohnette,
Andrew Hill, Muhal Richard Abrams, Jim Hall and Jaki Byard as well
as with many ethnic and new music ensembles in the New York area.
In 1985 Osby was invited to to join Jack DeJohnette’s
innovative group, ‘Special Edition’. It was as a member
of this ensemble Osby was able to fine tune the more challenging
aspects of his conception in an open ended, no holds barred musical
situation. Says Osby, “My musical thinking for performance
and composition advanced by light years as Jack was open to my input
and was very encouraging in pushing me to to maintain a steady flow
of experimentation. It marked a major turning point in my development
as an artist.” In 1987, Osby signed his first recording deal
with a new German label , JMT (Jazz Music Today). With this situation,
he felt that he was finally able to document life as he saw it through
music. He had free creative reign to do whatever he liked. He recorded
four CD titles for that label. Osby signed with Blue Note Records
in 1990 and recorded fifteen outstanding recordings for that label
as a leader. In 2008, Osby launched his own label, ‘Inner
Circle Music’, which serves as a platform for many of today’s
brightest artists. From the pulse of the streets and the language
of a generation, Osby has sketched numerous musical essays set to
a contemporary score using the improvisational nature of Jazz as
the connecting thread.