Thursday, June 01, 2017

Aruan Ortiz - Cub(an)ism (Intakt Records, 2017)

Coming hard on the heels of last years superb trio album, Hidden Voices, Cuban born and Brooklyn based pianist Aruan Ortiz moves into even more deeply personal territory with an angular and fiercely played album of solo piano. This album is the result of an interesting convergence of musical ideas and styles, which draws upon the variety of musical and personal experiences of Ortiz’s life, as a musician and a world traveler, and as one who is relentlessly curious and humanistic musician and individual. On this album, Ortiz’s compositions are derived from well developed thoughts and sensations, and they course along synaptic constructions which are shot through with the unexpected, allowing the music to flow naturally and organically. He plays the length and breadth of the instrument, with blasts of powerful lower end bass notes and chords that ring and resonate with astonishing clarity throughout the music. While he has a definite stylistic approach to the music, the music on this album remains diverse at all times. Using clear but flexible approaches, the music engages through structure and surprise, as well as tension and release. Clear and shimmering musical constructions are abruptly altered as the deep rhythmic nature of the music asserts itself. Each of the performances has a unique mood of their own. Ortiz makes carefully structured music into a compelling mix of sounds, rhythms and improvisation. All these elements combine to make a very unique sound. Musical forms converge like eddies, swirls and whirlpools of sound in a grand current, but Ortiz maintains the vision to keep the music under control. This album works quite well, with the music ranging widely in the traditions of jazz piano while keeping melodic structure at the forefront. The Cuban influence infuses Ortiz’s music with further drama that jolts the proceedings like a burst of electricity, creating interesting structures that allow for flowing improvisations and continually interesting music. Cub(an)ism -

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