Friedrich Gulda His Piano and Big Band - From Vienna with Jazz (1964), 6/10

From Vienna with Jazz is a prime example of classical jazz fusion, expertly executed by Friedrich Gulda, who would later establish himself as a formidable classical musician. The album's opening piece immediately grabs the your attention with its undeniably catchy riff, but it goes beyond mere catchiness by exploring various musical variations and styles within the constraints of the album’s thematic tendencies. Gulda takes the lead, showcasing his exceptional talent, but the band also shines, particularly in moments like the latter half of the first movement, where they seize the spotlight. The second movement relies on Gulda's prowess and virtuosity as a pianist, serving as a perfect interlude between two energetically charged pieces. Gulda's command over the piano becomes evident, as he delivers a captivating performance that grabs you and holds your attention through a number of twists and turns. The closer "The Veiled Old Land" takes a more experimental approach. While still rooted in jazz, it ventures into new territory, presenting fresh ideas concerning big band arrangement and composition, even with interplay. The piece successfully refreshes the musical palette, offering a glimpse into Gulda's willingness to push boundaries and explore uncharted musical landscapes. It is consistently apparent that Gulda's expertise as a pianist and composer shines through, while the band's musicianship and ability to complement Gulda's vision add depth and richness to the listening experience. The variation in styles, the energetic performances, and the incorporation of experimental elements make this release a memorable and significant contribution to sixties jazz.