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Luzia von Wyl Ensemble

Throwing Coins

hatOLOGY 753



Chromatika [6:08]

Q [3:39]

Akumal [6:04]

Solifati [9:04]

Wasps [2:48]

Antumbra [8:15]

Chromatika II [3:33]

Spark [5:00]

Luzia von Wyl - piano

Amin Mokdad - flute

Nicola Katz - clarinet

Lukas Roos - bass clarinet

Maurus Conte - bassoon

Vincent Millioud - violin

Jonas Iten - violoncello

André Pousaz - bass

Raphael Christen - marimba

Lionel Friedli - drums

Andrea Loetscher - flute (Solifati & Wasps)

Recorded 8-10 September 2017, Bauer Studios, Ludwigsberg, Germany

A native of Switzerland, Luzia von Wyl has gathered a team of highly talented musicians around her for this album, which follows on from a previous release on hatOLOGY 727 called Frost.

The review copy of this album arrived with the list of ‘classical’ releases, but even with the rich line-up of instruments less frequently found in a jazz setting this is unmistakeably jazz music. The opening track, Chromatika has a nicely slinky piano hook that puts me a little in mind of Richie Beirach but becomes quite hard-hitting at its peak. Q opens with a klezmer-feel clarinet and has a freewheeling violin solo, but the groove over an asymmetrical bar structure provides a fascinating and firm foundation for what goes on above.

The album title ‘Throwing Coins’ refers to the tradition of tourists at the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Von Wyl lived in Rome for a while, but her cosmopolitan influences are not bound by a single place. Akumal is inspired by a beach in Mexico, the music at first describing shimmering sunlight and water as well as echoes of the underworld, then playfully interacting with the turtles that inhabit the place with an impressive bass clarinet solo thrown in for good measure. Solifati evokes spring in Lucerne and shows how you can successfully showcase the flute in this kind of music, especially when it is surrounded by sympathetic brethren and an elegant transparency of orchestration. Wasps may or may not refer to the buzz of Vespa scooters in Rome but the solo flute becomes a duet here, a combination I’ve liked in a jazz context since hearing Herbie Mann and Bobby Jaspar together on their 1957 album Flute Soufflé when it was still fairly new. Antumbra takes us into the exotic climes of the Gulf states, this increasingly animated camel train once again initially led by the flute. Chromatika II has a free-improvised vibe, but a powerfully atmospheric one in which you sense the musicians listening to each other, and with the structure of the piece held under a tight rein, becoming a slow march by the end: ‘as if New Orleans has been moved to the Swiss mountains.’ The finale, Spark, is a more conventional jazz number with terrific swing.

With unusual timbres and inventive writing, Throwing Coins is a superbly produced album that is easy to like and one which can stand hearing often, there being a multitude of detail and refinement to discover and appreciate each time you return. Great stuff!

Dominy Clements


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