Cuban Nocturne (Newvelle Records NV011LP)
The latest in Newvelle Records’ subscription-based releases on 180-gram vinyl is this one from Cuban pianist Aruan Ortiz. The title track is the theme from Ben Chace’s film Sin Alas. In trying to emulate the melancholic song that haunts the film’s main character, Ortiz creates a reverie-tinged nocturne using a tango rhythm with his left hand and a Caribbean groove with his right. His uncanny ability to expand the music without overshadowing the core essence of the song construction is impressive. He then plays Tres Lindas (Antonio Maria Romeu), Frederic Mompou’s eerie Musica Callada, and three interpretations of works by Ignacio Cervantes. Cuban Nocturne is both a testament to Aruan Ortiz’s musicianship and an historical tribute to Cuban classical music. The vinyl pressing is excellent, with no distortion or rumble and the recording has the piano miked to capture both the percussive and the tender piano tonalities.