Interestingly enough, West Coast saxophonist Anthony Ortega’s previously unreleased 1966 take on Bird’s "Ornithology," with bassist Chuck Domanico is inserted among these 2005 produced tracks, featuring bassist Kash Killion. Infrequently recorded, Ortega’s discography for this Swiss label convey moments of sheer brilliance. On this adventurous outing he delves into works by Monk, Bird amid two originals and a few pop standards.
The artist communicates warmth and agility throughout, as he formulates a close alliance with Killion. When performing as a duo the musicians take advantage of space, where a sense of buoyancy prevails. On "Blue Monk," Ortega -- performing on alto sax sans accompaniment --belts out a bluesy riff via a cascade of drawling extended notes and winding choruses. Moreover, he personalizes this and other pieces while switching to flute on "I’ll Remember April," underscored by Killian’s nimbly enacted bass lines that build a perimeter of sorts, around the primary theme.
Ortega goes it alone during his original composition titled "Open Spaces," consisting of deep and yearning lyricism, rendered with yearning sentiment and topped-off by his melodic, vibrato techniques. And on the 1966 recording of "Ornithology," the saxophonist and Domanico generate speedy bop choruses. Here, Ortega softens the hard-hitting attack with an airy edge, effectively fortified by Domanico’s brisk and bouncy patterns. Nonetheless, Ortega is one of the unheralded giants of jazz sax, as this outing reaffirms that notion in rather perfunctory fashion.