Mark Ortwein | It Was Time (February 202)

1.It Was Time 2.Peppermint Grande con Queso Mas 3.I Can’t Make You Love Me 4.After You’ve Gone 5.Basso Bossa 6.No More Butterflies 7.Lonnie’s Lament 8.Lunar Love 9.I Might Be Happy 10.Schizoid 11.Bigfoot

Mark Ortwein – saxo tenor (1,4,7,9,11), saxo alto (3,5,8), saxo soprano (10), saxo barítono (2,6,11), fagot (3,9,10), fagot electrificado (2,7,11), clarinete (3,10),clarinete bajo (1,3), flauta (3,6) 

Josh Kaufman – voz (3)

Kenny Rampton – trompeta (4,11) / John Fell – guitarra (4-10) / Frank Glover – piano (1) / Paul Langford – piano (3) / Gary Walters – piano (8) / Pavel Polanco-Safadit – piano (2), percusión (2) / Peter Hansen – bajo (3,5,8,10) / Ola Ortwein – contrabajo y bajo eléctrico (1,2,4,6,7,9,11), guitarra (11), teclados (11) / Francis Wyatt – batería (1) / Craig Hetrick – batería  (3,5,8,10) / Carrington Clinton – batería (4,6,7,9) / Johnny Concannon – batería (11) / Matt McGraw – batería (2) / Jon Crabiel – percusión (8)

Born in Harlowton, Montana, Mark Ortwein grew up in Las Vegas, where his parents and two brothers still live. He attended Loyola University in New Orleans for two years majoring in jazz bassoon and saxophone. After transferring to Boston University, Mark received a Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

After freelancing in New York for a year, Mark played for a season with the Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra and then joined the United States Air Force Band at March Air Force Base in California as a soloist. saxophone player (and wind instrument doubler).

Four years later, he transferred to the Air Force Academy, where he was principal bassoonist of the United States Air Force Rocky Mountain Band for four years. He moved to Cincinnati to study bassoon at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and completed his master’s degree.

Over the past 30 years, Mark has performed in many different musical projects, including professional recordings, musical theater, chamber ensembles, jazz and R&B groups. Mark plays all saxophones, clarinets, flutes and bassoons. He is a professor of bassoon at the University of Indianapolis.

Ortwein had wanted to make his own album for years, but his commitments had prevented him from doing so until now. It was during the pandemic when he finally considered it and prepared two albums: one of jazz and the other of classical music.

This is how “It Was a Time” was born, his first album as a leader. The album addresses different musical genres, such as jazz, Latin jazz, ballads, rock, post-bop and fusion. Ortwein is the author of five cuts and plays nine instruments: tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax, baritone sax, bassoon, electric bassoon, clarinet, bass clarinet and flute. The album showcases Ortwein’s mastery of woodwind instruments and his prowess as a composer and arranger.

The album begins with “It Was Time”, it is a beautiful song, dark and sad. The title refers to the death of his mother two years ago, it was “time to leave” and also has the meaning that it was time for him to publish an album as a leader.

The arrangements are by Glover who plays the piano. He is also accompanied by Ortwein’s son Olas on double bass and Joe Henderson’s former drummer Wyatt.

The song “Pepperoni Grande con Queso Mas” was written by Ortwein several years ago when he was in the U.S. Air Force Band.” It is a cheerful Latin song where he plays the surprising electrified bassoon and the tenor sax.

The beautiful song “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is covered by Ortwein, without losing a bit of its original essence. The voice is provided by his friend and singer, Josh Kaufman.

“After You’ve Gone” had been performed by Ortwein as a duet in concert with guitarist John Fell for some years. Joining Fell is his great friend and trumpeter Kenny Rampton who plays in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and is also the trumpeter on the television show Sesame Street.

“Basso Bossa”, composed by bassist Peter Hansen, is an upbeat bossa that turns into rock.

“No More Butterflies” is another Ortwein song that he wrote after returning from a tour in Poland where he visited Auschwitz. The gloomy tone of the song reflects the impression the visit made on him.

“Lonnie’s Lament” by Coltrane is a piece that Ortwein regularly plays in his concerts and gives it a certain funky touch. His son Olas does a good bass solo and Fell does the same on the electric guitar. Ortwein again uses the spectacular electrified bassoon.

“Lunar Love” also bears Ortwein’s signature and is dedicated to his wife Carrie. It is a sexy piece that as it progresses gains strength thanks to the solos of Fell and Ortwein mainly, well supported by Hetrick’s drums, Cabriel’s percussion and Walters’ piano.

Fell is the author of “I Might Be Happy”, written for this album. Ortwein trades solos with tenor sax and bassoon.

“Schizoid” is an Ortwein composition written while waiting for his college saxophone student who had not shown up for class. It is dedicated to his ex-wife. It reminds us of “Take Five” at specific moments.

The album closes with a strong rock song written by his son Olas titled “Bigfoot.” Ortwein plays electric bassoon, tenor sax and baritone. Rampton plays a nice trumpet solo. Concannon proves his worth on the drums. Olas plays the electric guitar, keyboards and bass creating an interesting riff.

“It Was a Time” is an eclectic, fun album, with a good performance by all the musicians involved, where Ortwein demonstrates his worth as an instrumentalist, composer and arranger.

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