Review written by: Raul da Gama
For those wishing to hear what kind of music the Andrés Ortiz Trio makes, here is a clue: it would not be possible to describe it in two familiar words: “Latin Jazz”. The two words are most often ascribed to a musician of South American or Southern European origin and although two thirds of the trio would qualify for such ethnicity, their music has a much broader musical topography. The music swings—not only in the rhythmic sense—but in a broader, more classical stylistic sense, cutting a wide swathe that is somewhere between late-romanticism and abstract impressionism. There is much use of whole-tone scales, and going beyond this, modalism. Moreover the glorious timbres of the piano reign supreme, as do that of the shape-shifting bass and drums. But it is the glimmering sound of the piano crowns the magisterium of an enriched timber spot and this, in turn, gives new meaning to the melodicism of the music, through sensual motifs that make for enriched harmonisations.
True that the first few tracks of Recordando agitate the ocean of sound that pervades the album. It is almost as if the group is stirring up the waters, but as time and a gulp of choruses will tell, it is only to find a level for itself and the music to inhabit the real calm of the music. This is one where the pianist Andrés Ortiz V, bassist Antonio Cervellino and drummer Brian Quinn unite in the depths of the music’s emotional diadem: a heartfelt elation. On “Trueno” and “Así Fue” for instance, Ortiz uses the full range of the piano’s dynamics and from the softest expression of pianissimo to fortissimo, including the vast array of hues in between. His lines are like whispering brooks that glide over smooth stones and this is manifest in hushed triplets and faster, but equally soft arpeggios. There might suddenly be a crescendo, as the music demands it and then a great, thunderous chord announces a passage that is forthright and that rumbles above all else like a virtual avalange.
There are tracks—especially ones like “39,9,” with its ominous-sounding bass ostinato and rotating, rumbling tom-toms—that bring a semblance of the Latin tinge by suggesting calypso and other Afro-Caribbean rhythms, but that is all. Mere suggestions that tantalize are no match for the overpowering swell of joy that perpetuates throughout the music. It bears mention, here that the musicians possess sublime technique—and although there is no gratuitous virtuosity the displays of technique on the part of bassist Cervellino, in the bold pizzicato and intricate con arco passages, both on “Picaro” these play a masterly foil to the pianist. Quinn plays with deeply etched empathy here, sliding his brushes over the hoarse drum-skins, and then swishing them over the cymbals.
This is glorious music from end to end and heralds something fresh and new on the so called “Latin Jazz” horizon.
Track Listing: 1. 39:9; 2. Picaro; 3. Recordando; 4. Trueno; 5. Flora; 6. Así Fue; 7. Aral; 8. Inesperado.
Personnel: Andrés Ortíz V: piano; Antonio Cervellino: contrabass; Brian Quinn: drums; Rino Rossi: contrabass (5).
Related links: Andrés Ortíz Trio on the web: www.andresortiztrio.com