Tiny Reviews: Aruan Ortiz, Joel Remmel Trio, Mary Halvorson, Jure Pukl, & Ehud Ettun

Tiny Reviews, featuring Aruan Ortiz Quartet Orbiting, Joel Remmel Trio Lumekristall, Mary Halvorson Quintet Bending Bridges, Jure Pukl Abstract Society, and Ehud Ettun Heading North.



Aruan Ortiz Quartet – Orbiting

Since making the move from Cuba to NYC, this classically trained violinist-pianist has been grabbing ears with his compositional skills, as well as his sound.  Making a statement over the last few months with Afro-Cuban music (for instance, Mark Weinstein’s El Cumbanchero, reviewed HERE), Aruan Ortiz comes back this time with a modern jazz piece.  It’s an album of constant motion, simultaneous soloing, and swarming rhythms.  It’s an excellent album of how Modern Jazz is able to put its stamp on the developmental timestream of the Jazz genre, yet not sacrifice its ties to the past as it carves out its own identity.  Thoughtful music with an edge to it.

Your album personnel:  Aruan Ortiz (piano), Eric McPherson (drums), Rashaan Carter (bass), and David Gilmore (guitar).

Released on the Fresh Sound New Talent label.  Jazz from NYC.

Available on eMusic.


Joel Remmel Trio – Lumekristall

The Joel Remmel Trio are very much a part of the Norwegian jazz sound.  Music that lends to plenty of introspection.  Melodies that drift and rhythms that scatter like dust.  Bass player likes to get plenty of arco action in, which adds some pleasing tension to many of the tunes.  Album closes with the solitary vocal track, a trend which I’m kind of fond of, and works fine here, too.

Your album personnel:  Joel-Rasmus Remmel (piano), Heikko-Joseph Remmel (double bass), and Aleksandra Kremenetski (drums & percussion).

Released on Paw Marks Music label (no website).  Jazz from the Tallinn, Estonia scene.

Available at eMusic.


Mary Halvorson Quintet – Bending Bridges

Guitarist Mary Halvorson doesn’t put out conventional albums.  Often, they’re placed in the jazz genre because of her and her bandmates’ ties to other jazz albums, but most of Halvorson’s music defies categorization anyway.  On this recording, her second with the quintet, she adopts (for much of it) a pleasant front porch ease.  Not to say that this is lazy Sunday music, but it’s much less aggressive than past recordings, and it makes for a strong effort.  The sudden shifts of tempo within the span of a tune can be pretty damn exhilarating, especially when Finlayson’s sax calls out over the top while Halvorson shapes the song with warped curvy notes.

Your album personnel: Mary Halvorson (guitar), Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Jon Irabagon (alto sax), John Hébert (bass), and Ches Smith (drums).

Released on the Firehouse 12 Records label.  Jazz from NYC.

Available at eMusic.


Jure Pukl – Abstract Society

This is one where modern jazz composition overlaps what may have once been viewed as avant-garde.  Soprano & tenor sax man Jure Pukl leads a stellar quartet featuring Vijay Iyer on piano, Joe Sanders on bass, and Damon Reid on drums.  Yes, there’s some clash and dissonance on this recording, but there’s elements of swing, and more noticeably, roots the trace back to the blues.  The occasional interludes of serenity are a refreshing wash.  Nothing boring about this album, it engages on many levels.

Released on Storyville Records.  Jazz from the Velenje, Slovenia scene.

Available at eMusic.


Ehud Ettun – Heading North

Bassist Ehud Ettun shows some real promise on his debut album, best illustrated by some of the quieter tunes, like the title-track, which seems to withhold new notes as a way of building anticipation (and it works).  At times, the music comes off as a bit overproduced on the contemporary side.  For instance, the track “Night Portrait” is reminiscent of some of the rock-new age fusion that Andy Summers & Robert Fripp were putting out in the 80s, though it’s worth mentioning that those are still very fun albums to spin.  Overall, the high moments on this album make it worth the purchase, and if you live somewhere that gets lots of rain, maybe even more so.

Your album personnel:  Ehud Ettun (bass), Tal Gur (saxophones), Haruka Yabuno (piano), Nathan Blankett (drums), and Hagai Perets (guitar).

The album is Self-Produced.  Jazz from the Boston, MA scene.

Available at eMusic.



Portions of some of these reviews were originally used in my Jazz Picks weekly article for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…

“New Arrivals Jazz Picks“ and “New Arrivals Jazz Picks“ and “New Arrivals Jazz Picks“, reprints courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2012  eMusic.com, Inc.

As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig.  Cheers.