Austrian alto, soprano, tenor saxophonist and composer Muriel Grossmann was born in Paris. She grew up in Vienna where she studied the flute and later switched to the saxophone (alto and soprano) to further her studies in music. Grossmann played and toured with various Rhythm & Blues, World Music and Jazz groups. In 2002 she moved to Barcelona where she started to lead her own bands for recordings and concerts. She played and recorded with many well-respected musicians including Christian Lillinger, Robert Landfermann, Johannes Fink, Wolfgang Reisinger, Joachim Kühn, and Christoph Kurzmann. Muriel Grossmann was able to translate the influence of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman into her own experience, creating a highly personal language. Besides the pursuit of her own music, Muriel Grossmann can also be heard playing Jazz and Rhythm and Blues with small and large orchestras, up to 200 concerts throughout the year.
Guitarist Radomir Milojkovic met Muriel in 2002 whilst playing on and off in different ensembles. It was not until 2006 that they joined forces to record an extensive body of work culminating with the records AWAKENING (Dreamlandrecords, 2013) and EARTH TONES (Dreamlandrecords, 2015). Working with Grossmann, Radomir Milojkovic recorded fine rhythm and solo guitar work, rooted in the style of Blues and Jazz, providing a moderate, effective and direct way of playing.
Drummer Uros Stamenkovic joined Muriel Grossmann and Radomir Milojkovic in 2014. Uros and Radomir were childhood friends. Radomir recommended Uros because he knew that he would complement the group with his more “swinging” type of jazz drumming and groove oriented type of playing.
Gina Schwarz, the contrabassist, a long time friend and colleague of Muriel from their Vienna days, joined the group in 2015 for the work on NATURAL TIME record (Dreamlandrecords 2016) and the tour that followed. Gina is a highly respected musician who provides an extraordinary groove and completes the quartet.
The album NATURAL TIME marked the beginning of the new quartet, which has gone on to become a working group, playing tours and concerts. The present record, MOMENTUM, seems like a logical step forward for these four immensely talented musicians.
Momentum’s opening composition, Elevation, reveals a high-energy approach to music. It is an inspired performance, packed with exciting rhythms and epic hymn-like melodies. Both Grossmann and Milojkovic are very much kindred high-intensity players, who have a deep and stimulating rapport, which has been honed over many years.
The title composition, Momentum, is an ecstatic piece of music. It inspires a strong feeling of positivity and is powerfully executed by the quartet.
After an explosive opening, Grossmann brings us to the meditative state of mind where the leader’s tenor saxophone voice is up-close and warm, seeking emotional communication and giving space to the lyrical ideas. Chant presents itself as a perfect vehicle for Gina Schwarz to take a long and exploratory pizzicato solo.
With the composition Sacred, Grossmann delivers an uplifting and mesmerising solo funnelled with melodic motifs. Grossmann has an ability to compose transcendent music. Using the saxophone as her expressive voice she explores the depths and ranges of the instrument. Especially in this piece Gina Schwarz excels in groove and flow of ideas confirming why she is the rhythm woman of choice for many musicians.
The composition Horizon puts on display Muriel Grossmann’s work as a composer, deepening the concepts started on the Earth Tones record. In this particular tune, orchestral layers — or as the composer calls them ‘drones’ — are coming forward like overtone sculptures creating polychordal structures. “The drones are played” as Muriel Grossmann puts it: ”in a harmonic structure to give more dimensions to the music”.
Through the composition Rising, Grossmann savours space and nuance, making music of the highest order. Rising serves also as a natural vehicle for Uros Stamenkovic, a straightforward player, who provides solid groove and embellishments, therefore keeping the character of the composition intact.
Gratitude is like an orchestral work where instruments intertwine in a powerful way, producing stealthy and mysterious music, slowly revealing itself.
With this record, the Muriel Grossmann Quartet delivers a fluid and power packed opus, which features the leaders torrid saxophone soloing. As Muriel herself says “Music should elevate people and bring listeners into an uplifted state of mind. Momentum is a call to take up your talent and give it forth for humanity, fighting for our values, preservation of nature and collaborating all now for our future generation.” This record has plenty of “ear candy” for dedicated listeners to enjoy.
— Bert Jannick
IMPROJAZZ, France Jun/2018 by Marc SARRAZY
Like a handful of cherries dancing at the end of the branch, prey to the wind, a few notes of beaded, suspended guitar that rock and rise. Who is calling a rhythm like others would perform a rain dance? Thus, in a few seconds, a real musical incantation takes shape that suddenly takes flesh by the thunderous arrival of the tenor saxophone. We have all seen, one winter day closer to the hearth, a bunch of flames instantly born from a carpet of glowing embers, take shape and begin to swell, spinning in a crazy dance, growing, inexorably amounting. This picture, this story, is the one told by the album Momentum and this, from the very first measures of the inaugural piece, the aptly named “Elevation”. The music, initially evanescent, embarks on a perpetual, almost spiritual quest, which inevitably rises to the sound of a primordial groove, supported by the sturdy swaying of the double bass play and by the odd structures attracted by the rhythmic excitement of the drummer.
The pieces of the disc often come close to the ten minutes; it is the ideal time for the musical work to present itself blooming in the reminiscences. The ideal time for light saxophonistic fevers spinning in its own drunkenness, because the improvisations unfold freely, inside the rhythmic waves and the effervescence sound. The pieces follow each other, the harmonies come into resonance and reverberate, “Momentum”, as an evidence, “Chant”, natural and universal, “Sacred”, a true hymn turned to the passion for freedom, the incandescent “Horizon”, the powerful “Rising” that responds as an echo to “Elevation”, finally “Gratitude”, as a thank you to the master, lucid and serene. By its structure indeed, its flamboyant path, its moving chants and the solar flights of the saxophone, Momentum can be read as a poignant homage to A Love Supreme.
Muriel Grossmann, who had embarked on a rough free jazz in the late 2000s, crossing the roads of Joachim Kühn and Wolfgang Reisinger, began to refocus on her quartet training with guitarist Radomir Milojkovic, faithful accomplice of the saxophonist: he develops a pointillist game adorned with sparkling trills, who also stubbornly works the resonance of a single note in the manner of … David Gilmour. With the team of Gina Schwarz and Uros Stamenkovic the group has found its ground and the Coltrane aesthetics, initiated since the excellent Earth Tones (2015), was confirmed with Natural Time (2016), a record just as deep, and today with Momentum, the trilogy has found its culmination.
Vibrant, passionate, exhilarating, the music of Muriel Grossmann captivates majestically. And Momentum: a monument of what is called spiritual jazz. Marc SARRAZY, ImproJazz, June 2018
CONCERTO Dec/2017 by Christian Bakonyi
After albums „Awakening“, „Earth Tones“ and „Natural Time“ Muriel Grossmann fascinates once again with „Momentum“, with her highly spiritual, exciting, captivating way of playing the saxophone. Grossmann has recorded „Momentum“ together with the guitarist Radomir Milojkovic, the bassist Gina Schwarz and the drummer Uros Stamenkovic. It offers a wonderful journey into the jazz, that was once played by John Coltrane.
Already the music of the opener composition „Elevation“ reaches out, it does not pull or tear, but invites with sensitivity, to the diverse sounds, which will yet come. Muriel Grossmann and her quartet create a sound space that envelops one like a warming coat in the cold winter, while one is relaxing watching the flickering, natural light off the fireplace, which dips the room in ever new colors with friendly dancing shadows. The almost 67 minutes felt like 20, so exciting are the seven pieces that you can start right away again from the beginning, because you will discover new things, find new sounds in this wonderful watercolor of sounds. (Bak) Christian Bakonyi, Concerto, Aug/Sept 2017
NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORDS Mar/2018 by Elliott Simon
The spiritual connection on Momentum is immediately obvious. Saxophonist Muriel Grossmann has long histories with guitarist Radomir Milojkovic, bassist Gina Schwarz and drummer Uros Stamenkovic, developed through many performances and recordings. Grossmann is clearly in control as she uses tenor, alto and soprano to lead band and listener on a journey that takes off like a missile, passes through meditation, reaches nirvana and ends with thanksgiving.
Grossmann’s intense solo supplication and powerful jousting with Milojkovic begins the session as “elevation” rises into a sanctified setting. The comparison to Coltrane is clear but the quartet finds its own supreme space through the title track’s initial introspection, gorgeous tenor phrasing and penetrating guitar soloing. Schwarz and Stamenkovic buttress the melodies with unceasing rhythm and shifting augmentation. The latter is a beautifully emotive player and ensures that the excursion remains smooth and on course. “Chant” cleverly gives her space, allowing a pizzicato solo to define a mantra answered by the melismatic saxophone/guitar pairing on “Sacred”.
“Horizon” is a glimpse of enlightenment, soprano painting a free landscape before “Rising” snakecharmes its way to a penultimate peaceful Groove driven by percussive decoration. “Gratitude” appropriately closes the session with a grateful benediction, highlighting Grossmann’s improvisational skills. Known primarily for her exceptional work on alto and soprano, Grossmann uncovers new spiritual spaces on Momentum by skillfully incorporating the expanded tonal and textural palette of her tenor in the context of a compatible quartet. Elliott Simon, March 2018, NYC Jazz Record
THE WALKER‘S, Japan 2017 Vol. 51 by Masayuki Koito
In the latest work of Muriel Grossmann – Momentum, you can feel the power of the Austrian-born saxophonist, who releases albums at the pace of one year in the past few years. Each work focuses on a cover design full of art sense, but this new work also shines with a blue-tone design. The same members as in her previous work participated, and Muriel this time playes tenor, alto and soprano saxophone. The album was recorded on Ibiza an island in the western Mediterranean. „Elevation“ the opening piece is played with high energy aproach. „Momentum“ the title piece expresses an ecstatic part of music. The female upright bass player Gina Schwarz playes a great solo on „Chant“. Muriel’s tone on soprano saxophone is impressive on „Horizon“. The last tune „Gratitude“ feels magnificent like an orchestra. The seven songs stand out for the talent for composing of Muriel Grossmann. Masayuki Koito, The Walker‘s, Japan 2017 Vol. 51