Album Review for UNIVERSAL CODE by Jan Hocek in SKJAZZ.SK, 02/03/2023


ALBUM REVIEW for UNIVERSAL CODE by Jan Hocek in SKJAZZ.SK, 02/03/2023

Sin­ce 2007, the Aus­tri­an (though born in Paris) saxo­pho­nist and com­po­ser Muri­el Gross­mann has been releasing albums of extra­or­di­na­ry qua­li­ty and artis­tic depth.  She has been living in Ibi­za sin­ce 2004 and has deve­lo­ped a dis­tinct­ly spi­ri­tu­al approach to modern jazz.  She thus deve­lo­ps the lega­cy of John Col­tra­ne, com­bi­nes Afri­can music, modal jazz, gos­pel, blues, free jazz, acid-jazz and Eas­tern tra­di­ti­ons in a com­ple­te­ly natu­ral, com­plex, expres­si­ve, rhyth­mic and nar­ra­ti­ve man­ner with full-bloo­ded vigor and sen­si­ti­vi­ty at the same time.  After all, we alrea­dy review­ed four of her pre­vious albums here: CD Muri­el Gross­mann – Momen­tum (Dream­land Records, 2017), CD Muri­el Gross­mann — Rever­ence (Dream­land Records, 2019), CD Muri­el Gross­mann – Quiet Earth (Dream­land Records, 2020) and CD Muri­el Gross­mann  — Uni­on (Dream­land Records, 2021) and with enthu­si­asm.  On the new record­ing, she found a true uni­ver­sal code of modern jazz;  tog­e­ther with her team­ma­tes, she liter­al­ly crea­ted the essence of the most vital, the most endu­ring jazz, regard­less of cur­rent fashions and trends.  After all, the­re are real­ly excel­lent instru­men­ta­lists play­ing in her quar­tet.  Gui­ta­rist Rado­mir Milo­j­ko­vic, a nati­ve of Bel­gra­de, stu­di­ed music in Bar­ce­lo­na from 2002, then per­for­med and recor­ded with, for examp­le, Chris­ti­an Lil­lin­ger, Johan­nes Fink and Joa­chim Kühn.  He has been living and working in Ibi­za sin­ce 2007, whe­re he beca­me a regu­lar team­ma­te of Muri­el Gross­mann.  Orga­nist Llo­renç Bar­celó was born in Mal­lor­ca, ten years ago he worked in the Euro­pean Jazz Orches­tra, with David Mur­ray and his band accom­pa­nied James “Blood” Ulmer on his Euro­pean tour.  He cur­r­ent­ly plays exten­si­ve­ly with Afri­can musi­ci­ans, is a mem­ber of the Ghost Seed trio, and sin­ce 2018 has also been play­ing with Muri­el Gross­mann.  Drum­mer Uros Sta­men­ko­vic from Bel­gra­de stu­di­ed and worked in Bar­ce­lo­na, ​​from whe­re he moved to Toron­to, Cana­da in 2008, later to New York, and retur­ned to Ser­bia in 2013.  A year later he star­ted working with Gross­mann.  Aus­tri­an bas­sist Gina Schwarz, who cer­tain­ly does not need to be intro­du­ced here, is a guest on three tracks (out of nine).  I’ll admit that her dou­ble bass in Tran­si­en­ce is into­xi­ca­tin­g­ly cap­ti­vat­ing;  howe­ver, her vir­tuo­si­ty is not an end in its­elf, on the con­tra­ry, it expands the expres­si­ve­ness of jazz by a direct­ly phy­si­cal dimen­si­on.  After all, right from the ope­ning, nine-minu­te long track Reso­nance, the lis­tener is expo­sed to the attack of some­thing almost other­world­ly, sim­ply inde­scri­bable.  The rhyth­mic flow is satu­ra­ted with acid, the organ is psy­che­de­li­cal­ly blur­red, as if cra­cked, ever­ything has a hyp­no­tic effect.  And over that rolls a melo­dious and pas­sio­na­te saxo­pho­ne, bea­ting from the heart, from the insi­de of a woman, which has tur­ned into a pul­sa­ting, expan­ding Uni­ver­se.  The sopra­no in par­ti­cu­lar, with her fero­cious melo­dious­ness, enhan­ces the spi­ri­tu­al effect of the music;  in addi­ti­on to Reso­nance, the­re are also the tracks Cla­ri­ty, the more than ten-minu­te long Inter­con­nec­tion and Essence).  Howe­ver, it must be added that the ent­i­re album does not have a sin­gle weak­ness and if you let yourself be absor­bed, you will be rewar­ded with an extra­or­di­na­ry lis­tening expe­ri­ence that has the power to tru­ly enrich your life.  It’s not just music, it’s some­thing that trans­cends a per­son… Of cour­se, I’m bela­ted­ly inclu­ding this album in my Top 10, or rather now Top 11!
Jan Hocek, skjazz, Slovakia
 They play:
 Muri­el Gross­mann – sopra­no, alto and tenor saxophone
 Rado­mir Milo­j­ko­vic — guitar
 Llo­rens Bar­ce­lo Vives — Ham­mond organ
 Uros Sta­men­ko­vic — drums
 … and guest:
 Gina Schwarz – dou­ble bass

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