Jorge López Ruiz is one of most versatile of musical talents to emerge from Argentina. As a bass player, composer, performer and arranger he has worked across many genres including jazz, pop as well as stage productions and feature films.
Like many of his fellow artists of the late 60s and 70s, Ruiz found himself increasingly at odds with the direction of the political leadership of Argentina, and much of South America generally. The political struggle across the continent became increasingly violent as successive military and far-right parties took control. In Argentina, two elected presidents, Frondizi (1962) and Illia (1966), were ousted by military coups and in 1966, a military dictatorship under General Ongania was installed that led to a major clash with protestors in the industrial city of Cordoba on 29 May 1969. Such demonstrations became ever more violent and dangerous for those taking part as the police and military used increasingly violent tactics, including kidnapping, torture and summary execution. This was the climate into which Ruiz, and other artists, had to deal with. It’s a testament to his artistic integrity and determination that he was able to produce such a broad and impressive body of work.
BA Jazz was originally released in 1961 on Vik Records as the debut album from Lopez Ruiz featuring a mix of covers and original material. Alongside Ruiz Lopez are Roberto Fernandez on trumpet, Ruben Lopez Furst on piano, Pichi Mazzei on drums and a young musician called Leandro Barbieri on tenor sax. Leandro became better known at Gato Barbieri, who went on to build an international reputation working with Charlie Hayden, Don Cherry, Dollar Brand and Carla Bley and recording for Impulse! Records, Flying Dutchman and A&M Records.
The BA Jazz album has been a rarity for years and original pressings attract huge amounts from collectors. It's rarity is matched by the fantastic music contained with its grooves. It's a genuinely important record in the development of jazz in South America.
Alongside his impressive career as a recording artist, Lopez Ruiz was the A&R director of Trova Records, a leading Argentinean label that issued recordings from such iconic Argentinean artists as Astor Piazzola. Something of a polymath, Lopez Ruiz also led a successful second life as academic, being a Doctor of Music at Columbia Pacific University as well as holding a senior position in the London Institute of Applied Research and Social Sciences.
Cinema was another area in which he excelled, becoming a professor of the Argentinean Institute Of Cinematography and he also worked with the EMI-Odeon film company. As a skilled and sensitive double bassist and composer López Ruiz wrote music for over sixty films and forty-odd plays. His list of musical collaborations is impressive and includes work with Tony Bennett, Nat Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and João Gilberto as well as Argentinean jazz figures such as drummer Pichy Mazzei in the early 1960s and saxophonist Chivo Borrao on the album En Vivo (1973).
From the late 60s into the 70s, Lopez Ruiz’s output was prodigious and he released numerous recordings including El Grito (1967), Bronca Buenos Aires (1971), De Prepo (1972), Viejas Raices (1975) Viejas Raices II (1976) and Un Hombre De Buenos Aires (1978).
Jorge Ruiz Lopez – Double Bass
Roberto Fernandez Trumpet
Leandro “Gato” Barbieri - Tenor Sax
Ruben Lopez Furst – Piano
Pichi Mazzei - Drums