Aruan Ortiz (p, arr), David Gilmore (g), Rashaan Carter (b), Eric McPherson (d)
Bar code: 8427328423960
"[...] Orbiting also can be heard as a suite. But unlike Santiarican Blues Suite, Orbiting is a quartet date in the sense that what we hear is a band. In this case, a band playing eight selections, half of which are Ortiz originals, the rest covers, all of them seemingly woven together from track to track. And, except for the standard Alone Together, it all has the markings of being one long song, with contrasts built in. Its an internal conversation in the way that Santiarican Blues Suite is more extroverted, Orbiting is more around four players talking to one another, with guitarist David Gilmore as much the soloist as Ortiz. And with bassist Rashaan Carter and drummer Eric McPherson, tunes like Charlie Parkers KoKo and Ornette Colemans W.R.U. maintain their bebop affectations but are then dismantled in the explorations that follow, consistent with the albums minimalisms, roving meters and chord-less maneuverings."
-John Ephland -Down Beat (August, 2012)
"The defining moment on Orbiting, the excellent new album by Cuban-born pianist Aruán Ortiz, is the arrangement of Charlie Parkers watershed classic Koko. While remaining true to the theme at head and foot, the band stamps its signature on the body by riffing on the songs harmony and rhythm, stretching its borders and ultimately honoring its pedigree by challenging its structure.
Ortiz leads a remarkable quartet with guitarist David Gilmore, bassist Rashaan Carter and drummer Eric McPherson, a band defined by experimental daring and a refreshing spirit of exploration. The song Ginga Carioca exemplifies their interplay. Ortiz muses on the piano as if looking for a melody and soon the other bandmembers join him in the search. When they finally hit on a theme they agree upon, it is discarded at once, a point of improvisational departure to more harmonically free pastures. In fact, throughout the album theres free-form playing behind solos instead of plain mechanical comping.
The quartet feeds off of Ortiz impressive range as a composer: The Heir is a sophisticated tune ignited by a Bad Plus-type of vibe; the gradual crescendo of the brooding Numbers builds toward something mysterious and keeps the listener in suspense and the straightahead Green City is an old-fashioned burner. The band is also dynamite on covers, as proven by its blistering version of Ornette Colemans Wru and the tenderness of the chestnut Alone Together.
Ortiz piano skills are indisputable. He can play with a humorous, open-spaced Monk-ish laconism or a soulfulness both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Although still young, Ortiz has clearly moved past the apprentice phase of his development, forging a startlingly original voice. Orbiting is the calling card of a group of inventive, daring souls who are unbound by musical boundaries and will push them to their limit."
-Terrell Holmes -The New York City Jazz Record
A versatile Cuban-born pianist
"Keep an eye this year on Arúan Ortiz, a Cuban-born New York pianist whos become a mark of quality on gigs and records, though you might miss half his work if you dont listen broadly. Within the past year he has led a quartet on Orbiting (Fresh Sound), a flexible studio record of originals and standards, and appeared on Banned in London (Whirlwind) in a quintet he leads with the London bassist Michael Janisch. (It includes the alto saxophonist Greg Osby, the trumpeter Raynald Colom and the drummer Rudy Royston.) Both of those records are new jazz as we know it, the second one more versatile. But he also made Santiarican Blues Suite (Sunnyside), a meticulous classical piece for chamber orchestra, drummers and voices, written to honor the history of Afro-Haitian dance. And most recently there has been Textures and Pulsations (Ictus), a collaboration with Bob Gluck, a pianist and electronic musician of similarly diverse interests, partly improvised electroacoustic duets and partly two grand pianos virtuosically locking together on short, argumentative themes."
-Ben Ratliff - The New York Times
(January 25, 2013)