Review of From Where I Stand Album by Bill Ortiz

For those of you out of the loop, Bill Ortiz is a widely respected trumpet player who has played on some of the biggest records of all time; most notably Santana's 1999 mega-smash-hit single Smooth. On From Where I Stand, Ortiz swaps the Latin rock stylings of Santana for a more laid back funk and soul approach.

Bill Ortiz From Where I Stand Album

It must be said, for someone as highly regarded as Bill Ortiz, the musicianship throughout this album is, as you might expect, nothing short of world class - and not just the trumpet work. Full Circle features some brilliantly intricate piano work, and the funk guitar solos throughout the album are phenomenal. The album consists mostly of five minute plus instrumentals, so the talents of the performers do really get a chance to shine.

This could however be a double edged sword. There is no real respite from the slow grooves of the album and every song has roughly the same tempo and feel. It is sometimes hard to distinguish between one laid back soulful groove track and another. Don't get me wrong, it is all enjoyable in its own way, but you can't help but feel that perhaps it drags on a little too much.

Another problem with From Where I Stand is that it does sound, in places, a little dated. Songs like Ease My Mind and Highest Wish fall somewhere between mid-90s cheesy pop music (I think this is because of the style of production and the sound of the drum loops) and the background music from porn films (perhaps due to choice of singers, synths and over use of wah-pedal on the guitar).

However, these setbacks aren't to say that the album is bad. There are moments of true technical ability across the board from start to finish, and if you are just looking for an extremely mellow funk album to put on in the background of your daily chores (or, for the more 'adventurous' of you, the bedroom) this is a great album.

Ben Walton

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