A New Large Ensemble for Vienna’s Jazz Scene
Following the demise of the Vienna Art Orchestra, the city has been in need of another innovative large ensemble. Trombonist Christian Muthspiel, who had a decade-long experience with the VAO until 2004, might just be the person to fill this void with his OrJAZZstra.
With a focus on young musicians and a few exceptionally talented individuals like trumpeter Lorenz Raab, the OrJAZZstra bears many similarities to the Vienna Art Orchestra.
Muthspiel’s Skills as an Arranger and Composer
The OrJAZZstra has been showcasing Muthspiel’s prowess as an arranger and composer for several years, blending it with jazz improvisation. In fact, it has taken precedence over his own trombonist/composer projects, such as the collaborations with Steve Swallow on the Dowland project.
Inspirations and Influences
Many of the projects that have inspired Muthspiel for his band have been site-specific and influenced by external factors. The latest, performed at Porgy & Bess, began with the 2022 La Strada festival in Graz. This led Muthspiel to explore the films of Federico Fellini, drawing inspiration from specific scenes and immersing himself in Fellini’s work.
However, the music diverges from Fellini’s own composer, Nino Rota, highlighting Muthspiel’s unique interpretations. A particularly memorable section was inspired by the film Ginger and Fred, a retelling of the legendary partnership between Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
A Balance Between Arrangement, Composition, and Improvisation
The OrJAZZstra’s performances exhibit a strong compositional vision. While each member gets the opportunity to solo, the band often provides intricate backing arrangements.
The ensemble has released a new CD that showcases their individual approach to finding the perfect balance between arranging, composition, and improvisation.
- Gerald Preinfalk, Patrick Dunst, Yvonne Moriel, Robert Unterköfler, Ilse Riedler, Florian Bauer: saxophones, clarinets
- Gerhard Ornig, Lorenz Raab, Dominik Fuss: trumpet, fluegelhorn
- Alois Eberl, Daniel Holzleitner, Christina Lachberger: trombone
- Viola Hammer: piano
- Judith Ferstl, Marc Mezgolits: bass
- Judith Schwarz, Marton Juhasz: drums
- Christian Muthspiel: compositions, leader