|On first glimpse this recording might seem to be a sequel to the 1966 alto saxophone and acoustic bass duo session which formed one-half of Anthony Ortega's critically acclaimed "New Dance". But for Ortega to try and recreate that once-upon-a-time, now legendary date would be folly. He has not changed his approach to the duo (or solo for that matter) format all that much in the years between then and now. But significant differences occur in the details. Remarkably, we have the previously unreleased performance of "Ornithology" from the earlier session, not for comparison, but like a snapshot of an earlier time which provides us with a renewed perspective on the Ortega of today—the same person with some new ideas, a complementary partner, and an improvisational integrity undiminished over time. - Art Lange
This collection of solos and duets is especially welcome because jazz veteran Anthony Ortega records so seldomly. Among West Coast-styled alto saxophonists, he's a maverick who's nevertheless closer to the Charlie Parker-Lester Young traditions than to Eric Dolphy, his contemporary. "Ornithology," the final track here, dates from 1966 and shows him at his best, with great rhythmic and harmonic freedom. Sound and space become a tense, swinging unity, as his broken melodies sing out with singular spontaneity. Ortega's other eight songs, from 2002 and 2005 sessions, exult in similar freedom. His unaccompanied "Blue Monk" is fine, and "Open Spaces" is a clever original song. But his other later solos are less lyrical, with intermittent inspiration. Now and then the nimble lines of his bassist, Kash Killion, a sweetly melodic player himself, seem to shake up Ortega's own melodism. It's certainly an intimate, personal album, and the well-known title song proves to be an unusual, attractive flute-cello duet.