The beautifully arranged free spirited live orchestral jazz release Homecoming is one of two albums that trombonist-bandleader Christian Muthspiel celebrating his 60th birthday is releasing this autumn.
The erstwhile Vienna Art Orchestra luminary and brother of celebrated guitar star Wolfgang Muthspiel has also released Diary 1989-2022 - Selected Recordings. Certainly not rinky-dink in any way, Homecoming is an advanced, deeply seasoned piece of work - Muthspiel leading his 18-piece group Orjazztra Vienna in existence for around three years, the fruits of a live-without-an-audience recording at Vienna club Porgy & Bess made during Covid in March 2021. You get a scintillating filthy blues-like feel on 'Old Wine in New Skins' while 'She Cries Out Loud' begins at funereal pace to quickly skip into a loping more uptempo Ellingtonian swagger. Elsewhere on 'Tribal Dance' in the same vein you get jungle-isms in the braying horns and galloping momentum developed in the rhythm section. Ensemble work throughout is both ridiculously virtuosic and yet comes over despite the complexity highly relaxed and relatable. Arrangements allow lots of light to poke through and let us experience the essence of the instrumentalists' individualism. Easily one of the best releases from a mainland continental European ''big band'' act that we have heard at any time during 2022, Homecoming brings back fond memories of hearing the dazzling Vienna Art Orchestra - particularly the way they covered Fats Waller's 'Jitterbug Waltz' - on the South Bank in the 1990s. What goes around… comes around. SG