Composition & Conductor Christian Muthspiel
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, I am now – in defiance of the current trend – fulfilling the dream of leading my own jazz orchestra; a dream that I have 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, cosmopolitan and keen to experiment. 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 the Austrian radio station Ö1 – the Orjazztra will be my 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 band, in this case, deliberately free of electronics.
ORJAZZTRA VIENNA, part 1: “Prelude – Woman and man – She cries out loud”
Composition & Conductor