Michael Ortega - Man By
person do you associate with the vibraphone? Right, it's Roy
Ayers. Roy has a deep influence on many artists. Among these one
can find Michael Ortega, who
had the opportunity to meet Roy Ayers while working as a chef during
Roy's 1976 tour in San Jose.
Michael's music is a mixture of
Roy Ayers and Paul Hardcastle, of Acid Jazz, Smooth Jazz and New Age.
Michael comments: "I've take a winding path to this album
release. It's taken me into Fusion, Funk, Punk, New Age , Soul, Salsa,
Techno and Hip Hop."
"Man By The Bay" is
Michael's debut album, which will be released in November 2002. An
acoustic proof for his versatility and wealth of ideas. At this time,
when many Smooth Jazz are copying repetitive themselves or others
music, it's delightful to hear some originality. The album is
full-packed with 16 tunes.
The first tune Scattered
Showers has one hypnotical main melody on which Michael
improvise with his vibraphone, drum programmed rhythms and keyboard
One can hear the typical grooving
Acid Jazz shuffle on Highway 1.
This tune is swinging and let you move. Comparable with the best of
What was indicated on the second
tune develops on the third to an R&B highlight. Man
By The Bay features the impressing voice of Eddie Hall. This
tune is worth to buy the whole album.
The tempo slows down to the
contemplative Storm In Winter. The slow
piano piece increase while the synthesizered sounds increase. A conglomeration
of rhythm instruments heat the movement. But the sound keeps flakily and hovers.
deep into the grooving sound of Pleasure
Point. Paul Hardcastle is greeting. By the way I am a fan of
Paul's music, so I also like Michael's. A bassy synthesizered wave
combined with Michael's vibes propulsed by drum programmed rhythms.
Drive is anew such a hypnotical groove already presented in the
You is a smooth slowtempo R&B song interpreted by
Eddie Hall accompanied by Michael's vibes and Noel Catera on
Some Smooth Jazz is to hear on Open
Arms. Stuart Wade recently complained on the forum of
contemporaryjazz.com: "...labels are afraid to go with tracks
containing instruments like flutes or vibes because they dont think
the people who control the format like the sound of those
instruments..". Well, here one can listen to an album, which
should become choose by the radio stations especially because of the
Eddie Hall sings Stroke.
A slow R&B enriched with Michael's keys. Noel Catera 's sax is
outstanding. More solo please!
Field has some more Paul Hardcastle flavor.
Stop Falling is a wonderful slow R&B featuring
Eddie Hall's vocals and Danny Hull's sax. Unfortunately this
tune is not #11 as described in the cover lines but track #13. So
don't get confused by this error.
The mainweight of Almost
is synthesizered based. I consider this tune as a
techno/New Age tune.
has a funky attitude, a record with extensive utilization of vocoders.
Michael calls it "Old School Funk and talk box".
The album finds back to the right
order with Everything. A delightful
R&B tune with Eddie Hall's cajoling vocals.
Sunny Day and Open Arms (Vocals)
are further R&B pieces featuring Eddie Hall's awesome voice. A
second Luther Vandross.
Michael Ortega's album "Man
By The Bay" has something for all. Fans of R&B music, Acid
Jazz, Smooth Jazz will find their respective tailored tunes. Take this
album as a treasury for all occasions.