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
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.