• Jonathan Widran

BILL ORTIZ, Points of View

While perhaps best known for his 16 years recording and touring with Santana (starting with the iconic Grammy winning album Supernatural), veteran Bay Area trumpeter Bill Ortiz is a true multi-genre force of nature with a resume spanning 40 years – including a hip/hop R&B splash in the 90s when a resume already bustling with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea and Pete Escovedo added Tony Toni Tone, TLC and En Vogue to the mix.

Considering his passion for and expertise with so many genres, it’s no surprise – and quite a musically freewheeling blessing – that his latest album, the perfectly titled Points of View – is a spirited, expansive and intensely liberating full ensemble experience, with several songs that stretch over frolic filled swinging, jamming and emotionally charged minutes – including the constantly tempo shifting opening jam “Sunburst” (a fresh twist on a mid-70s Eddie Henderson tune), a densely percussive, hypno-exotic rumba swirl through Jaco Pastorius’ “Okonkole & Trompa” and a brassy, lightly swinging, traditional jazz spin on Wayne Shorter’s “Oriental Folk Song.”


Besides Ortiz’s bold fulfillment of his goal to gather musicians who were “open enough not to be locked into a run of the mill, play it safe jazz record” – including legendary saxophonist and longtime Ortiz hero Azar Lawrence - one of the other salient delights of Points of View is including three vocal tunes (“Gil Scott-Heron’s “A Toast To the People,” “Ain’t No Need in Crying” and “Fusion/Noche Cubana”) alternately showcasing the eminently soulful talents of Terrie Odabi and Christelle Durandy.


While it’s a player’s album nonpareil, with a constantly moving and grooving fusion of great melodic, harmonic and rhythmic moments, Ortiz’s desire to send everyone off with a beautiful feeling inspired him to wrap with the subtly elegant flourish of “My Lord and Master” from “The King and I.” driven by the Matt Clark’s intoxicating piano stylings.