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by Peter Margasak in DownBeat Magazin, January 2013

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by Christian Carey, Sequenza 21

Swiss trumpeter and composer Marco von Orelli is equally at home in both traditional and “out” settings. Close Ties on Hidden Lanes, a recording of his sextet for Hat Hut, is a snapshot of a band versatile enough to encompass both ends of the jazz spectrum – as well as a healthy dose of contemporary classical reference points – Messiaen, Ives, Scelsi, etc. – to boot. The recording consists of eight originals by von Orelli , which are fleshed out with arranging help from band member and pianist/synth player Michel Wintsch, a performer who isn’t averse to adding electronic rocket fire periodically to the proceedings (listen to the varied and extended cut “Marsala’s Strandgut” for examples). These two are joined by trombonist Lukas Briggen, bass clarinetist Lukas Roos, bassist Kaspar von Grünigen, and drummer Samuel Dühsler.

Make no mistake however, even when the group is moving towards post-tonal terrain, they seldom lose track of strong sense of pulsation. On “Urban Ways,” wah-wah trumpets and long drawn out pitch bends are undergirded by a post-bop groove. The rhythm section eventually coalesces in a series of pounding repeated dissonant verticals that recall Stravinsky doing the “Rite thing.” Even in the more free play environment of “Poetry,” in which talking muted brass overtake the rhythm section for an extended period, there is still a sense of urgency and forward drive in the solos. When drums, bass, and keys forcefully reenter, one doesn’t feel as if gears shift, but that the underlying groove has been maintained during their relative absence.

A particularly fetching tune which shows off all of the players, as well as von Orelli’s composing chops and imaginative sense of form, is “Narragonia,” a fifteen minute long opus that forms the album’s centerpiece. It embraces long lyrical neo noir  solo trumpet and trombone duets, chorale-like tutti passages, and impressively well controlled upper register interjections from Roos. A bracing middle section filled with chromatic coruscation from the piano and terse angular blatting responses from the winds gives way to some avant mayhem from Roos in an extended howling cadenza. Wintsch, von Orelli, and Briggen follow suit, each soloing in equally questing fashion.After the inevitable explosive tutti, we are shifted into a more mysterious soundscape, filled with repeated note filigrees, whole tone piano riffs, and low register glissandi. Another cadenza, this time from trombone, is accompanied by synth, a  bit of prepared piano, and alternately shimmering and terse percussion textures. Gradually, von Orelli and Roos reassert themselves, and the opening chorale, deconstructed, lined out, and elaborately ornamented, brings us full circle. The interwoven chromatic lines from the piano and brass interjections reintroduce an even more ecstatic version of the opening chorale, which brings the composition to a tense and dissonant conclusion. Close Ties on Hidden Lanes brings together notation and improvisation, freedom and structure, chamber music and jazz in an amalgamation that suggests vibrant ways forward on each of these musical thoroughfares.

 

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All About Jazz By GLENN ASTARITA, Published: June 6, 2012

Track review
 of „Urban Ways“ Indeed, an impressive inaugural release by Swiss trumpeter Marco von Orelli, who conveys maturity way beyond his youthful age. On call for writing jingles, session gigs, and theatrical productions, the conservatory-trained artist may have a bright future ahead of him, based on the qualitative aspects of this sextet date.“Urban Ways“ is a prime example of von Orelli’s cunning musicality, when considering the scope of these multifaceted works. With a pumping funk-groove and contrasting unison horns, the band summons a cheery vibe. Framed on a simple melody line and an upbeat modality, the sextet swerves into a free-form avant-garde sequence, tinted with bizarre electronics swashes and shift gears, encompassing notions of anguish and uncertainty. This pattern continues, as von Orelli injects pathos with his muted wah-wah phrasings and a few slippery detours along the way. The group doesn’t pronounce any semblances of complacency, as pianist Michel Wintschshifts the piece to another zone with his lower-register ostinato phrasings. But von Orelli tosses another curve into the grand schema by faintly altering the primary melody during the coda.Von Orelli is a perceptive young man, signaling a variegated approach to the progressive jazz idiom. And while citing someone as a star in jazz circles may be hindered by a few boundaries since most notions of convention go by the wayside, von Orelli does project star potential on the basis of this striking debut.

Personnel: Marco von Orelli: trumpet; Lukas Briggen: trombone; Lukas Roos: bass clarinet; Michel Wintsch: piano, synthesizer; Kaspar von Grunigen: double bass; Samuel Duhsler: drums.

Record Label: Hatology

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Ambitioniert 

Marco von Orelli 6: Close Ties On Hidden LaneshatOlogy 709. 

Der junge Trompeter und Komponist Marco von Orelli stammt aus Basel. Studiert hat er in Winterthur, Zürich und in seiner Heimatstadt. Stilistisch bewegt er sich zwischen Jazz, Neuer Musik und freier Improvisation. Das Erbe von Duke Ellington und Charles Mingus ist ihm so präsent wie Schönbergs Zwölftonmusik. In verschiedenen Formationen hat er bereits sein Talent bewiesen: in der Big Band von George Gruntz etwa, aber auch in Tommy Meiers «Root Down». Nun legt er beim renommierten Avantgarde-Label Hat Hut sein Debütalbum als Leader vor. Es ist weit mehr als eine Talentprobe. Die acht Kompositionen faszinieren durch Eigensinn und Ideenreichtum. Sie spielen auf Sebastian Brants «Narrenschiff» (1494) an, dem mit Mitteln der Zweiten Wiener Schule zu Leibe gerückt wird, aber auch auf Man Ray; sie bringen Sizilien und die unterirdische Welt moderner Metropolen zum Klingen. Marco von Orellis Musik ist nicht eingängig, aber nahrhaft. Sie lebt von der Spannung zwischen so knappen wie komplexen, ausgeschriebenen Themen und freier Improvisation. Um solistisches Schaulaufen geht es nicht, wohl aber um subtile Klangfarben-Kombinationen. Dafür sorgen neben dem Leader Lukas Briggen (Posaune) Lukas Roos (Bassklarinette), Michael Wintsch (Piano, Synthesizer), Kaspar von Grünigen (Bass) und Samuel Dühsler (Schlagzeug).
 
(pap.)
 NZZ am Sonntag, 20. Mai 2012

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There’s much to savour on this debut from Basel trumpeter Marco von Orelli’s sextet, from the wiry lines and multiphonics of trombonist Lukas Briggen to Lukas Roos’s wild bass clarinet, with bassist Kaspar von Gruningen and drummer Samuel Duhsler ensuring the mechanism runs smoothly. Pianist Michel Wintsch deftly counterpoints the horn solos with pockets of activity that perfectly encapsulate the music’s larger harmonic evolution. Orelli’s compositions , like his trumpet playing, are intricately structured and technically impressive without beeing flashy. And it’s not without surprise: love how “ Urban Ways“ moves from M-Base metrics into post-Reductionist splutter without batting an eyelid.

Wire May 2012, by Dan Warburton

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A beautiful little record – and one of the most compelling Hat Art sets we’ve heard from a younger artist in a long time!
The approach here is quite fresh – initially an interplay of tones and textures, which quickly moves into some rhythmically expressive tunes that push the band forward nicely. There’s then a return to more subtle sound shifts – making great use of piano from Michel Wintsch and bass clarinet from Lukas Roos – then opening up with more lively lines from Marco Von Orelli on trumpet and Lukas Briggen on trombone! Wintsch also plays a bit of keyboards, and the set also features Kaspar Von Grunigen on bass and Samuel Duhsler on drums. Titles include “Marsala’s Strandgut”, “Urban Ways”, “Poetry”, “Narragonia”, and “Maris”.
It is a very nice record, indeed!

Rick Wojcik© 1996-2012, Dusty Groove America, Inc

 

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