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Aruán Ortiz Quintet featuring Greg Osby
Aruán Ortiz Quintet
Aruán Ortiz Quintet featuring Greg Osby

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, Switzerland (2001).

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.

Aruán Ortiz Quintet featuring Greg Osby

Greg Osby

Greg Osby

Greg Osby

Greg Osby & Raynald Colom

Raynald Colom



Aruán Ortiz  Quartet - Alameda Greg Osby- Symbols Of Light

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