Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ortega for Old Buzzards, too !

Here is a man who has played with Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Paul Bley, Quincy Jones, Don Ellis, Dinah Washington, and Ella Fitzgerald. Here is a man whose alto saxophone playing has been compared to Charlie Parker's and Ornette Coleman's — both with just cause. Here is a man whose Sixties sessions, long out of print for the most part, are revered by collectors, who hunt them down assiduously — because there have been a few people all these years who knew what Anthony Ortega was doing, and couldn't stand the idea of missing him as he did it.
He was born in 1928 : before Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman (John Coltrane and Miles Davis were two). He joined Earle Spencer's Orchestra in 1947, and Hamp's in 1951. He led his own group. He went to Europe. He gigged in New York with some of the biggest names in the business. Recognition came to them, but not to him. Only they — Dizzy, Hamp, Maynard — knew he was in their league.
He kept working, along with his wife Mona Orbeck Ortega : composing and interpreting standards as only he can : approaching them lovingly and caressing them with care, and occasionally adding the hotfoot to the mix that makes his playing so outstandingly original and unexpected. He has a beautiful tone that serves as the foundation for his outrageous versatility and ability to invest an improvisation with firepower far beyond the ordinary. He bridges the "avant garde" and the "mainstream" : he plays melodies, gorgeously, but he finds possibilities in them that lesser players overlook, or don't dare to explore.
In the Fifties and Sixties he recorded as a leader : a string of legendary and elusive discs. Best known is New Dance ! (1966), which was re-released on CD in the Nineties on hat ART and will soon appear again, to hosannas from those who have waited this long, on hatOLOGY. But it remains to be seen whether these ever reappear : modest masterpieces like Anthony Ortega (1954), Jazz for Young Moderns (1958), Man and His Horn (1961), Permutations (1966), and the later Rain Dance (1978). On the French Evidence label there are a couple of Nineties-vintage easier-to-track-down discs : On Evidence and Neuf.
Through it all, the recognition that should have been his eluded him. Was it just ? Try this : get hold of an Ortega disc and play it right after a recent recording by any contemporary alto saxophonist you care to name. That's right : any one. See who comes out with more to say with his horn. (My money's on Anthony !)
Now there is Anthony's new Hat: Scattered Clouds. It's a welcome return to the scene for a man who has in fact never been away. It's not too late to make the acquaintance of this supreme altoman.
Robert Spencer

Source :

Anthony Ortega
Jazz for Young Moderns
(And Old Buzzards, Too)


1 Just One of Those Things (Porter)  2:53
2 Bat Man's Blues (Ortega)  4:40
3 These Foolish Things (Link, Marvell, Strachey)  4:11
4 Tune for Mona (Ortega)  3:48
5 No Fi (Ortega)  3:36
6 Four to Four (Zieff)  3:18
7 I Can't Get Started (Duke, Gershwin)  2:59
8 Cinderella's Curfew (Zieff)  6:03
9 I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You (Crosby, Washington, Young)  3:37
10 Patting (Zieff)  5:43


[# 1-5] 
Anthony Ortega - as, ts, cl & fl
John Hafer - ts
Jay Cameron - bs
Jimmy Cleveland - tb
Ray Starling - tp & mel 
Bobby Timmons - p
Ed Thigpen - d
Nat Pierce - arr.
[# 6/10] 
Anthony Ortega - as, cl & fl
Art Farmer - tp
Jim Buffington - frh
Ray Tricarico - basn
John Hafer - bcl
Dick Wetmore - vln
Ahmed Abdul-Malik - b
Bob Zieff - arr.
Recorded in New York City ; 1958/59

See also


Baron said...

Thanks Mel ... Ortega was a player that I hadn't noticed before ... Baron

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I tried to download it, but there is a paswword, please I wanno know it

Baruch said...

Go to the main page for the PW

grumpy said...

Thanks, Mel, although I've heard Ortega as a sidesman I hadn't realised he'd recorded in his own name.

Montag said...

Thank you for this rare Bethlehem album!

MrBill said...

Thanks for this - I've been looking for this for a while - not just for Ortega, but also for the compositions and arrangements of Bob Zieff.

FrankDell said...

Am really looking forward to listening to this rarity. Thank you for the opportunity, Mel.

neil said...

Great post, me. Anthony Ortega - A Man & his Horns [1954/61] is also worth checking out...

Michel Sosnin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kovina Kris said...

Thank you for the introduction to Anthony Ortega!

rubberduck said...

Really interesting.

Many thanks MEL

Prof. Yaffle said...

Many thanks

rob 60 said...

Anthony Ortega Jazz for Young Moderns the links are espired, please reupload ! Thanks Rob. 60

Bluenote said...

Thanks for the Ortega, Mel... and greetings, from an old buzzard!

rob 60, you should try again, the rapidshare link still works!

dogon ad said...

thanks for a chance to hear a young anthony ortega.

musician3 said...


deGallo said...

Thank you.

AmyBRAINS said...

Nice post Melanchthon.
Thanks a lot.

fcapeau said...

Many thanks, Mel.

bho wani said...

With all my gratitude, Mel !

Newlyner said...

Nice one Mel. Many thanks.

hcb said...

Yet again, many thanks

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You

kristophermc28 said...

Thanks again Mel!

jazzcat1228 said...

Thank you, Mel!

Dirk Bill said...

Agh, another defunct Ortega link! Can you also please repost this one as well?

Melanchthon said...

Dirk Bill said...

Wonderful, Mel, thanks a million!

Fred Archtop said...

Great Great Mel. Thanks.

daniel genovese said...

Thank you for re-up.

Hard Bop Granddpop said...

Thanks you for the Ortega my friend.