Bill Ortiz made a name for himself as a trumpet player with the band Santana. From 1999’s “Smooth” until 2016, Ortiz could be heard with the iconic group. “Points of View” is Ortiz’s third solo album, his first since 2016. “Points of View” will be available June 17, 2022. While the entire recording artfully showcases Ortiz’s perspective and breadth of experience, two songs stand out: “Ain’t Gon Change a Thing” and “A Toast to the People.”
The sound of Bill Ortiz on “Points of View”
If a person was compelled to find one word to describe the soundscape on “Points of View,” a word that person might choose is “rich.” Throughout the recording, rich textures of vocals, horns, piano, drums, percussion, and effects swirl in a deft dance. Ortiz’s trumpet is not always showcased. The musicians do what is good for each song.
“Ain’t Gon Change a Thing” by Bill Ortiz
A bouncy rhythm opens the track. Trumpet and saxophone seem to have their own agenda, separate from the rhythm section, then, suddenly, seamlessly, the instruments are playing together. The sumptuous sound is groovy without stereotypical beats. People could dance to this, or they could simply listen. The rumbling, but nimble percussion continues as horn showcases explode here and there. The piano takes on a different groove, and before the song’s end, listeners realize the tune was nearly perfect. The bouncy beat from the beginning comes back, and after several measures, all instrument groups slow down and audiences have an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the piece.
Bill Ortiz takes on a classic: “A Toast to the People”
Here, listeners are treated to Ortiz’s take on the Gil Scott-Heron classic. Vocalist Terrie Odabi super smooth vocals give life to a cultural and historic lesson. The bass and trumpet shine here. The horn lines call out, as if in an emotional appeal. The piano tinkles persistently, and the percussion shimmers. The beauty of this song exists on multiple levels. When Odabi is joined by background vocalists, the depth of the song is even more greatly felt.
Ortiz’s professional career, besides his time with Santana, included performances with the likes of Tony Toni Toné, TLC, En Vogue, Destiny’s Child, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, and others.
The ability to play across genres is one of the facets of Ortiz’s playing that makes his work fascinating. The rhythms and dynamics of other genres pulsate within the songs on “Points of View,” making it a valuable album for fans of jazz, and of Ortiz in particular.