AUSTIN CHRONICLE TOP 10 NATIONAL ALBUMS OF 2017 (JAY TRACHTENBURG JAZZ LIST) - DECEMBER 29, 2017

JOHN MILLS RECORD REVIEW - AUGUST 23, 2017

Adrian Ruiz Quintet   
Premiere: A Collection Of Originals

Trumpeter/composer Adrian Ruiz has strongly established himself over the last many years as 
one of the most effective bandleaders and most consistently exciting soloists in both the Austin 
and San Antonio scenes, and this CD debut under his own name is a fine testament to that fact. 
His quintet, which boasts some of the area’s fastest rising talents, features Gil Del Bosque on 
saxophone, Collin Shook on piano, Sam Pankey on bass and Daniel Dufour on drums. Each of 
these gentleman is a creative force in his own right, but they really click as a unit, so that the 
music comes off as the Adrian Ruiz Quintet, rather than merely a collection of great sidemen. 
The recording features exclusively original material by the group members, ranging from the 
fiery and bluesy to more introspective and unexpected material. Adrian’s compositions are 
particular standouts, displaying the hard bop roots that are his home turf. His hard-charging 
"Elvinism" and the deep groove of "The Offset Strut" serve as strong pillars for this engaging 
premiere recording by The Adrian Ruiz Quintet.

Dr. John Mills, Professor of Jazz Composition and Jazz Saxophone, The University of Texas at Austin 

JAY TRACHTENBERG RECORD REVIEW - AUGUST 18, 2017

JEFF HELLMER RECORD REVIEW - JULY 19, 2017

Adrian Ruiz Quintet  
Premiere: A Collection Of Originals 

Adrian Ruiz and his quintet bring their considerable energies and talents to Premiere, an eclectic offering of new compositions. Ruiz has established a reputation in Texas and beyond as a powerful, creative, and versatile trumpeter, and this debut recording should do nothing but enhance that reputation. The compositions on the recording run the gamut from aggressive straight-ahead jazz (“Elvinism”), to fusion (“Glas”) with a touch of avant-garde (“Breathe”), to inspired portraits (“The Mountains of Tennessee” and “Cancion Para Mi Amor”). Whatever vehicle might be used, the band combines conviction with a sense of teamwork to create a very satisfying musical product. I’m fortunate to have been associated with four of the members of this ensemble during their time at the University of Texas at Austin, and I’m happy to see them making this bold and creative statement as they advance their careers. I know you will enjoy this music. 

Jeff Hellmer, Director of Jazz Studies, The University of Texas at Austin

PETER BLACKSTOCK RECORD REVIEW - JULY 6, 2017

Adrian Ruiz Quintet 
Premiere: A Collection Of Originals 

Though bandleader Ruiz lives in San Antonio, where he teaches jazz at UTSA, he has strong ties to Austin from his years studying trumpet at the University of Texas. Filling out his quintet are four local jazz standouts: saxophonist Gil Del Bosque, pianist Collin Shook, bassist Sam Pankey and drummer Daniel Dufour. All five members wrote at least one tune for this impressive collection recorded in Austin at Same Sky Productions, with Ruiz producing alongside engineers Andre Cantave and David Messier. Premiere  is a joy to behold, ranging in style and substance from full-blown energetic celebrations to playfully inventive excursions to more moody, contemplative soundscapes. Jazz recordings almost always testify to the chops of the players, but this goes beyond mere musicianship: these 10 tracks radiate with spirit and beauty, revealing five instrumentalists and composers who have come together to create something that sublimely transcends the sum of its parts.

Peter Blackstock, Music Writer, Austin American-Statesman

DANIEL J. PALMER LIVE ALBUM RELEASE PERFORMANCE REVIEW AT JAZZ, TX - JUNE 6, 2017

GERRY GIBBS TESTIMONIAL - MAY 25, 2017

I hired Adrian to conduct my big band from 2001 to 2005. That band backed the likes of jazz legends James Moody, Clark Terry, Jon Hendricks and my father Terry Gibbs. People would always come up to me and ask me why Adrian stood in front of the band instead of playing in the trumpet section. My answer was already made up when I hired him. Adrian had a lot of soulfulness, imagination, creativity and vibe, and was able to bring out those qualities in the whole 17-piece band to inspire them to do more than just read and interpret what was on the paper. Adrian has done the same on Premiere: A Collection Of Originals,  with the same impact with his quintet to not just play his part, but to bring the most soulfulness, imagination, creativity and vibe out of his whole band. I am sure you can hear it while listening to his new recording with his band.

Gerry Gibbs, acclaimed New York City drummer and bandleader of The Thrasher Dream Trio (Kenny Barron and Ron Carter), Whaling City Sound Recording Artist                               

SCOTT YANOW RECORD REVIEW - MAY 5, 2017

Adrian Ruiz Quintet
Premiere: A Collection Of Originals 
Ziurga Records 

Adrian Ruiz is an impressive trumpeter who makes his recording debut as a leader on Premiere. In addition to playing regularly throughout Texas and heading his own group, Ruiz is an influential educator as the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

On Premiere, Adrian Ruiz leads his quintet through ten originals written by band members. The trumpeter contributed three songs; there is also one from drummer Daniel Dufour and two apiece by tenor saxophonist Gil Del Bosque, pianist/keyboardist Collin Shook and bassist Sam Pankey. Their music ranges from passionate post-bop to Cuban jazz and the original songs bring out the best in these fine players. 

The uptempo opener, “Elvinism,” serves as an excellent introduction to the quintet. Ruiz contributes a blazing trumpet solo, Del Bosque displays his fluent and muscular style on tenor, and the rhythm section is stirring throughout with drummer Dufour taking some drum breaks for a chorus. The entire performance is barely four minutes long but the group makes every second count. 

“The Desert” has a rhythmic figure played by the horns throughout much of the song with the rhythm section often being in the forefront. “The Mountains Of Tennessee” is a picturesque and thoughtful ballad that has solos by Del Bosque and Shook that take their time and build up effectively. 

The easy-listening ballad “As Of Yet” has Shook stating the melody, includes a fine bass solo, and features Ruiz taking the piece to its close. On “Apache,” Pankey creates an unaccompanied bass solo that leads to the piece’s main theme. The moody piece also features passionate improvisations by both of the horn players. 

On “Glas,” a strutting rhythm set by pianist Shook and the rhythm section inspires heated horn solos; the brooding melody stays close by throughout. The Cuban-inspired original “Cancion Para Mi Amor” gives the musicians an opportunity to stretch out on a relaxed and melodic piece, one with a strong melody and a memorable groove. In contrast, “Friends In The Right Places” is a stormy performance with plenty of fireworks provided by the quintet. The atmospheric “Breathe” serves as a feature for Shook’s colorful electric keyboard. It precedes the lengthy closer, “The Offset Strut.” The Ruiz original begins as a funky and catchy jam before it launches into heated straight ahead solos from all five of the musicians. 

In addition to being a fine showcase for the Adrian Ruiz Quintet, Premiere: A Collection Of Originals, is a fun set of creative jazz that is easily recommended. 

Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including The Great Jazz Guitarists, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76

DAVID KJOLLER LINER NOTES FOR PREMIERE: A COLLECTION OF ORIGINALS - MAY 2, 2017

Premiere: A Collection of Originals, is the first full-length release for Adrian Ruiz as a bandleader. The current lineup of the Adrian Ruiz Quintet came to fruition in 2013 by bringing together three college classmates with whom he had performed with at the University of Texas at Austin, and one newcomer via Dallas, TX. They are: Gil Del Bosque, on saxophone; Collin Shook, on piano; Sam Pankey, on bass; and Daniel Dufour, on drums. 

This quintet's music has no simple classification. It’s the product and amalgam of numerous influences ranging from the bebop era, its subsequent derivatives including hard bop, modal music, fusion, and the avant-garde, to the present day. It has been very much Ruiz’s desire to not overly be restrictive in the group’s styling and allow the band to stretch musically. Ruiz likes to describe it as being “organic and elastic.” 

Forming a band and keeping it together is no small achievement. Having cohesion among the members is paramount, for without it the band's existence is certain to be short-lived. Then there is the matter of repertoire and what it will be. Learning a significant number of songs to play is a formidable task. For this band, with intentions of using original music to a significant degree, it means composing and arranging. Finally, there is the matter of leadership, a word we often associate with other professions. But even in a group of five, someone has to lead and make decisions. With the quintet carrying Ruiz’s name, it is evident who that will be. For nearly three decades, all those experiences – performing as a sideman, composing, arranging, and band directing – have been preparation for this endeavor. 

For a band, finding gigs is an ever-present task. Still, Ruiz manages to land bookings at the Elephant Room in Austin, Jazz, TX in San Antonio, and Cezanne in Houston. Appearances at longstanding regional musical events – the Fiesta Jazz Festival (St. Mary's University), Sunday Jazz at the Witte Museum (San Antonio), Jazz'SAlive (San Antonio), and the KRTU Rooftop Jazz Concert Series (Artpace) – have given the band exposure and aided in establishing a presence in the musical community. Looking ahead, Ruiz ponders venues outside of Texas. New Orleans, the West Coast, even Europe, are places he would like to take his band. For him, there are no self-imposed borders for where the band might play. 

For Ruiz and his quintet, they understand their form of jazz with its leanings, is a difficult space, musically. Having thoughts of writing a big hit song is very much tempered by reality. It is exceedingly unlikely. For each of them, it matters not. They play for the love of their music. Everything else will take care of itself. 

Since meeting Ruiz, I have noted traits that are sure to benefit the band's future. When I first heard his quintet, I saw that he could exude a commanding presence when the moment called for it. That skill is an important attribute for a bandleader. The pace of activity from teaching, of playing gigs, and the necessities of producing a recording, requires a level of energy that few can muster. He seems tireless. That bodes well for anyone engaged in his profession. 

Finally, I perceive a restless spirit dwelling within him. There is a somewhat well worn phrase I have read over the years – “it's not the destination but the journey.” Wherever that journey leads him, I am confident that one day he will have a great deal to reflect on. 

David Alan Kjoller