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Ortiz, Aruan : Cub(an)ism (Intakt)

Cuban pianist Aruan Ortiz explores a range of musical idioms and styles, drawing on experiences from many phases of Ortiz' life in Cuba, Spain, France and the US, exploring cubist principles, faceting, and multiple perspectives with folkloric elements, as he presents 10 original compositions of passionate and playful music, performed with virtuosic skill.

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product information:

UPC: 7640120192907

Label: Intakt
Catalog ID: INT290
Squidco Product Code: 24132

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Radio Studio, Zurich, Switzerland, by Martin Pearson.


Aruan Ortiz-piano

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Artist Biographies:

"Cuban-born, Brooklyn-based pianist, violist, and composer Aruán Ortiz has written music for jazz ensembles, orchestras, dance companies, chamber groups, and feature films. His work incorporates influences from contemporary classical music, Cuban-Haitian rhythms, and avant-garde improvisation; and consistently strives to break stylistic musical boundaries. He has been called "the latest Cuban wunderkind to arrive in the United States" by BET Jazz and "one of the most versatile and exciting pianists of his generation" by Downbeat Magazine.

He has received numerous accolades such as the Doris Duke Impact Award (2014); Composers Now Creative Residency Award at Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (2014); the Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant (2013); Latin Jazz Corner's Arranger of the Year (2011) for his contribution on the album, "El Cumbanchero" by flutist Mark Weinstein (Jazzheads, 2011); Fundación Autor, SGAE, and Generalitat de Catalunya Grant study grants (2002); Semifinalist, Jas Hennessy Piano Solo Competition, Montreux, Switzerland (2001); and Best Jazz Interpretation, Festival de Jazz in Vic, Spain (2000)."

-Aruan Ortiz Website (

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track listing:

1. Louverture Op. 1 (Chateau de Joux) 5:59

2. Yambu 3:31

3. Cuban Cubism 10:46

4. Passages 7:46

5. Monochrome (Yuba) 3:33

6. Density (Golden Circle) 4:51

7. Dominant Force 2:32

8. Intervals (Closer to the Edge) 3:42

9. Sacred Chronology 3:24

10. Coralaia 5:25
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The acclaimed Cuban pianist and composer Aruán Ortiz, considered "an avatar of creative and progressive improvisation" (Ted Panken, Jazztimes Magazine) and a "first-rate" pianist (Nate Chinen, WBGO Jazz Radio), releases his solo piano album titled Cub(an)ism. This album was recorded by the engineer Martin Pearson in December 2016 at the Swiss National Radio in Zu¨rich and produced by Intakt Records.

"Cub(an)ism is the result of an in-depth conversation with a range of musical idioms and styles, and various experiences from the phases of Ortiz' life, in Cuba, Spain, France and the USA, which have formed his eclectic concept of music.

On this album, Ortiz' pieces arise from specific ideas and moods, developed imperceptibly along systematic constructions spiked with the unexpected. Despite a certain adherence to system, the music on Cub(an)ism remains sensual at all times. Using clear but flexible systems, the music lives from structure and surprise. Crystalline structures are abruptly dissolved, clear forms blurred like a reflection in stormy water, before resurfacing. Ortiz' music breathes this magic, the allure of dancing structures". "-Florian Keller, liner notes)

Since his arrival to the international jazz scene, Aruán has played, recorded or toured with Esperanza Spalding, Greg Osby, Andrew Cyrille, Cindy Blackman-Santana, Terri Lyne Carrington, Oliver Lake, Don Byron, Rufus Reid, Wadada Leo Smith, and Wallace Roney, to name a few."-Intakt

"Hidden Voices (Intakt Records, 2016) brought Cuban born pianist and composer Aruán Ortiz some long-overdue recognition in the U.S. Cub(an)ism, Ortiz' tenth release, is a solo piano outing and his first such recording in the stand-alone format. Recorded in 2016 in Zürich, Switzerland, the album continues Ortiz' exploration of Cuban Cubism, his method of incorporating cubist principles of faceting and multiple perspectives with folkloric elements.

Cub(an)ism consists of ten original Ortiz compositions that blend Afro Cuban and Afro Haitian tradition with the influences of Spain, France, and the U.S., all locations in which Ortiz has lived. The allusion to cubism is not a generalized throw-away phrase, but very much part of Ortiz' creative process that can be heard and visualized in these pieces. The marriage of visual and musical composition has long been an element in Ortiz' thinking and one can hear this influence in most clearly in the solo setting.

The percussive, avant-garde opener, "Louverture Op. 1 (Château de Joux)," integrates at least three distinct themes amidst vacillating tempos and more than a hint of classical inspiration. "Cuban Cubism" is the embodiment of Ortiz' approach; a minimalist approach builds slowly then pulls back briefly. Over the course of almost eleven minutes, the piece flashes through varying backdrops, miniature melodies and abstractions. The native influences of rumba and yambu can be experienced on "Monochrome (Yubá)" as Ortiz plucks strings, accompanying himself through wavering rhythms.

Ortiz displays remarkable virtuosity across the variety of musical and non-musical disciplines that come into play on Cub(an)ism. He employs Indian mathematics as the framework of "Sacred Chronology," simple-to-complex repetitions on "Dominant Force" and quite lyricism with "Intervals (Closer to the Edge)." The meditative and unadorned "Coralaia" closes the album, with the reverence of sacred music. Ortiz in the solo setting is exceptionally intriguing and for all the theory and extended technique in play, the music is superbly listenable and refreshingly original."-Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz

Get additional information at All About Jazz
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation and Experimental Forms
Piano & Keyboards
Solo Artist Recordings
New in Improvised Music

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