‚Natural Time’ review by Leonid Auskern, Jazzquad, Belarus

original article by Leonid Auskern in Jazzquad, Belarus, 03.02.16

Translation by Murka

Muriel Grossmann – Natural Time
Natural Time DR 08 CD 2016I have had the pleasure to acquaint our readers with the works of Austrian saxophonist Muriel Grossmann, living on the Ibiza, Spain, for her 2015 album Earth Tones. On the first day of 2016 Muriel released a new album under the name of Natural Time. If the previous work carried a conceptual Grossmann (an overview of the disk can be found on the website), the outwardly Natural Time is not. As Muriel described in an interview with JC Sanders, which formed the basis of his liner notes, „Natural Time is just a sincere message, an album, where we play for ordinary people like you and me.“ I personally think, it is not so, because here almost every composition, even if not linked by a common theme, has its philosophical implications. 

However, let us first hear about the obvious changes in Natural Time in comparison with her previous work. Muriel plays here not only on the soprano but also the alto saxophone. Preserving the format of the quartet, she and her regular partner, the guitarist Radomir Milojkovic, work here with a new rhythm section. It is the Austrian bassist Gina Schwarz, an old friend of Muriel still in Vienna, and the Serbian drummer Uros Stamenkovic. The quartet herein reaches gender parity, and perhaps the balance of yin and yang was the key to the harmony and inner balance of the performance of Muriel Grossmanns music. This, of course, a joke, but in the past, and now the positive energy really comes through with each song of the album.

The Titlesong and one of the longer pieces of the album ( „Natural Time“) – I took it as a reflection on the fleeting time, dating back to the biblical „time to be born and a time to die“ of made and missed – has a beautiful solo of Grossmann and Milojkovic, in the background a relentlessly repetitive rhythmic soundscape, inspired by just such a possibly erroneous interpretation. In contrast to this title piece, in the final composition „Bliss“, it seemed to me, there is no time at all. From this piece breathes Buddhism, it is full of inner peace, as if lost in the ascetic nirvana – again in my free interpretation of Muriel Grossmanns music. And the „key“ for the music which happens, the composer gives herself in the same interview for the liner notes. Reflections on happiness („Happiness“) with an impressive bass solo by Gina Schwarz in the introduction, and also another does not require explanation, the piece called „Peace For All“, and dedicated to the plight of Africa „African Dance“ a piece with a graceful rhythmic pattern.

And for all this profoundnes, this music is surprisingly easy to listen. If there is the concept of „user-friendly interface“, is applies to the music of Muriel Grossmann, she is fit to introduce a „friendly new jazz“; this style of music is not always found. And the final touch to this review: one thing in the new project remaines unchanged, compared to the previous: the album cover art again is decorated by Muriel and her children – abstract bright juicy colors – as in the music of Muriel Grossmann.
Leonid Auskern 

© & (p) 2016 Dreamlandrecords
7 tks / 63 mins
Muriel Grossmann – as and ss, Radomir Milojkovic – g, Gina Schwarz – b, Uros Stamenkovic – dr