Large jazz ensembles have become a rarity. One of the consequences of the decline in wages in the last decade has been the loss of a culture that has shaped the history of one of the greatest musical inventions of the 20th century: From Duke Ellington to Carla Bley, from the Sun Ra Arkestra to the Vienna Art Orchestra, large bands have always been part of the canon of improvised music.

With the 18-piece Orjazztra Vienna, Christian Muthspiel is now – in defiance of the current trend – fulfilling his dream of leading his own jazz orchestra; a dream that he has nurtured since leaving the Vienna Art Orchestra in 2004.

Austria and Vienna currently have an incredibly densely populated scene of great young musicians who play in their numerous own bands, who are curious, keen to experiment and cosmopolitan. Without exception, they have a good musical education and play at the highest technical level.

For the most part, the Orjazztra consists of young people from this local scene. With its unusual line-up – a double rhythm section (two basses, two drums), piano, a six-piece saxophone/clarinet section, three trumpets, two trombones and a tuba – it is better described as a contemporary jazz orchestra than a big band.

After 35 years as composer, conductor and instrumentalist, forever wearing several hats or changing them regularly – from leading numerous jazz bands to conducting a Mahler symphony, from composing for symphony orchestras to producing all signature tunes for radio station Ö1 – the Orjazztra will be Christian Muthspiels musical focus for the next few years and the greatest possible convergence of the sum of these experiences:

An orchestral approach to contemporary jazz with complex scores that also give each soloist due improvisational freedom, marked by a band sound that takes its cue from the virtues of classical orchestral playing and, in this case, deliberately free of electronics.

Ensemble members:

Lisa Hofmaninger, Fabian Rucker,
Astrid Wiesinger, Ilse Riedler, Robert Unterköfler,
Florian Bauer – saxophones, clarinets

Gerhard Ornig, Lorenz Raab, Dominik Fuss – trumpet, flugelhorn

Alois Eberl, Daniel Holzleitner, Christina Baumfried – trombone

Philipp Nykrin – piano

Judith Ferstl, Beate Wiesinger – bass

Judith Schwarz, Marton Juhasz – drums

Christian Muthspiel – compositions, leader



read more on Christian Muthspiel`s website

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