Interview with Marco Torres Walker from Diario de Ibiza, January 2019

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW FOR DIARIO DE IBIZA, DEC 2018 by Mar­ko Tor­res

Jazz. Muri­el Gross­mann has recent­ly published, along with the Esto­ni­an record label RR Gems Records, a dou­ble vinyl ver­si­on of her latest album ‘GOLDEN RULE’. A limi­ted edi­ti­on of 400 copies has been pro­du­ced, that can be purcha­sed on the inter­net and dif­fe­rent stores, and the album can also be found in digi­tal for­mat on dif­fe­rent inter­net stores and ‚strea­ming’ por­tals.

VINYL GIVES ALL THE SENSE TO THE MUSIC THAT WE PLAY

Did this record come out first on CD? Tell me a bit how it was? When did you record it?

Thank you for giving me the oppor­tu­ni­ty to express mys­elf here, for the Dia­rio de Ibi­za.

The record­ing of the ‘Gol­den Rule’ album has been made in 2017 in Ibi­za during the sea­son, and throughout the autumn and win­ter we have cho­sen the takes for the edi­ti­on and recor­ded the addi­tio­nal instru­ments, which color the songs in a har­mo­nic back­ground, what we call dro­nes.

The band was real­ly play­ing strong, we just came from the tour, so it was the right moment to get into the stu­dio and record. I had all the com­po­si­ti­ons rea­dy, and some of them we had alrea­dy play­ed live, so they came natu­ral­ly. The music was just flo­wing effort­less­ly. We were all focu­sed and deter­mi­ned to make a power­ful state­ment and car­ry out the third album of this band; it star­ted by Natu­ral Time (2016), then Momen­tum (2017) and now Gol­den Rule (2018) in the com­pa­ny of Rado­mir Milo­j­ko­vic (with whom I work sin­ce 2002 tog­e­ther) on the gui­tar, Gina Schwarz from Aus­tria as bas­sist and Uros Sta­men­ko­vic from Ser­bia at the drums.

What I’ll tell you now, sounds like fic­tion to me (;-) but nevertheless was real. Hen­ry L. Sar­mi­en­to II, a mas­ter of sound, with a won­der­ful music stu­dio ‘Sonic Vis­ta Stu­di­os’ in Es Cubells, has been say­ing for many years: “open an Insta­gram account … it’s very good to con­nect out­si­de! “… I never real­ly wan­ted to do it sin­ce it gets you more into the world of the net­work, but in Novem­ber 2017 I final­ly ope­ned a pro­fi­le by put­ting all kinds of musi­cal con­tent of ever­ything done to date, and only one month later after regis­te­ring the account, Valen­tin and Dimi­tri from RR GEMS Records an Esto­ni­an label that is dedi­ca­ted to sharing and sprea­ding a word about artists and albums that are not get­ting enough atten­ti­on and prai­se (https://www.vinyloftheday.com/rr-gems-records/) was offe­ring us to bring out a Vinyl from a cur­rent record­ing. And so, in that way we ent­e­red into a very satis­fac­to­ry col­la­bo­ra­ti­on of respect and care, that has resul­ted in this beau­ti­ful 2x12” Gate­fold Vinyl of 180 grams. I’m very hap­py! We agreed in releasing the CD about a month later, so that a momen­tum with the Vinyl could be crea­ted and … that’s how it was!

I find it curious that you make an edi­ti­on on vinyl. Why on vinyl? How many copies have been made on vinyl? You can buy it online, right?

We are real­ly very fond of vinyls. My father had more than 500 vinyls of clas­si­cal music at home and also Rado­mir and Uros have their collec­tion. We have always wan­ted to get our music out on this for­mat, sin­ce it real­ly reflec­ts the qua­li­ties of our music in a very pre­ci­se way.

Lis­ten­ing to music on Vinyl enters you into a much deeper lis­ten­ing. This I have been able to under­stand now, but it has been some­thing, that I have always wan­ted to do, becau­se I have always had the fee­ling that the Vinyl does jus­ti­ce to music. I do not want to say that other for­mats do not do that, but Vinyl gives all the sen­se to the music that we play, and it is just now, that we have been for­tu­n­a­te to do it.

A limi­ted edi­ti­on of 400 copies was released, which are now on sale on the RR GEMS Records home­page (https://www.rrgemsrecords.com), but the label is also dis­tri­bu­ting all around the world. You can find it in online stores and well-known sites such as Jazz­man Records and Juno Records in the United King­dom, HHV in Ger­ma­ny, Dus­ty Groo­ve Record Store in Chi­ca­go, Funk Night in Detroit, Buch Spie­ler Records in Ver­mont in the United Sta­tes and in other parts of the world. … soon I also hope you can get it in Bar­ce­lo­na and Madrid.

And I see that you have adap­ted the CD songs for the vinyl a bit. You have made them a litt­le lon­ger. Did you chan­ge the com­po­si­ti­on, the score or did it impro­vi­sed?

The 7 songs of this album last 80 min and this is the maxi­mum dura­ti­on of a com­pact disc. The Dou­ble Vinyl has 4 sides with the pos­si­bi­li­ty of 20 — 24 min on each one.

The song no. 5 ‘Tran­eing In’ lasts 14.30 minu­tes on the CD, and we were able to make an Intro for it, that can only be heard on Vinyl. For this intro­duc­tion I let mys­elf be gui­ded by the song its­elf using its dro­nes. The­re is not­hing writ­ten. It is like an extra gift for the fans of the qua­li­ties of the Vinyl becau­se it is real­ly a sound with more nuan­ces than a on CD or an mp3 of now.

Of cour­se you can also buy or stream Gol­den Rule in all the usu­al online stores and it is also on my Band­camp page (https://murielgrossmann.bandcamp.com/album/golden-rule) with the rest of my albums.

Why the Gol­den Rule tit­le? What does it mean?

The music of my albums always reflec­ts a the­me in which I have deeply reflec­ted for a long peri­od of time. The Gol­den Rule of which all reli­gious or spi­ri­tu­al tra­di­ti­ons speak of, is unders­tood as the recipro­ci­ty of a com­pas­sio­na­te atti­tu­de. “Do onto others, what you want them to do onto you.”

I am a music gui­de in a won­der­ful Edu­ca­tio­nal Cen­ter here in Ibi­za that is lay­ing the foun­da­ti­ons of the new para­digm of edu­ca­ti­on, it is cal­led Uni­ver­sal Man­da­la and its foun­der and Direc­tor is Belén Köh­ler (http://www.universalmandala.org).

This school works on the deep and unli­mi­ted deve­lop­ment of the human being, and in addi­ti­on to using a visio­na­ry metho­do­lo­gy offers trai­ning for tea­chers, par­ents and all tho­se inte­rested in deepe­ning in the edu­ca­ti­on of the future. I am part of this school, and besi­des deve­lo­ping the music cur­ri­cu­lum; I also help with the expan­si­on of the metho­do­lo­gy and its evo­lu­ti­on.

The Mas­ter trai­ning with Belen leads you to reflect and to work with the tools that lead to that edu­ca­ti­on, that real­ly favors and poten­tia­tes the deve­lop­ment of the human, that we real­ly are: wise and com­pas­sio­na­te. And taking this reflec­tion and tools into my dai­ly life has logi­cal­ly also been reflec­ted in my music, and from the­re I have tried, and I try to trans­mit ide­as or solu­ti­ons that I have come across through the­se reflec­tions, and their effec­ts on the day to day. I hope my music can reach as many peop­le as pos­si­ble and help many peop­le.

I see that they call it modal or / and spi­ri­tu­al jazz. Do you agree? It is your style?

Yes I agree.
It is real­ly just ‘music’ but it has the ele­ments of Jazz that I like, such as swing phra­sing and pret­ty and simp­le melo­dies to sing with. Always influ­en­ced by modal and spi­ri­tu­al jazz, and best rep­re­sen­ted on the albums of Miles Davis ‚Kind of Blue’ and John Col­tra­ne ‚A Love Supre­me’ among other gre­at per­for­mers and records. This music speaks the uni­ver­sal lan­guage, which trans­cends the bor­ders of the gen­re. Our music is based on power­ful rhythms, which are deeply inter­wo­ven in jazz histo­ry. The melo­dic mate­ri­al is based on modes and sca­les, par­ti­cu­lar­ly on pen­ta­to­nic sca­les, which makes it uni­ver­sal, becau­se tho­se sca­les can be found in all cor­ners of the world, in the music of Afri­ca, Chi­na, Japan, Ame­ri­ca, Euro­pe, etc. The har­mo­nic bases are not limi­ted by chords and pat­terns, but are born of the modes and the sca­les, which gives the musi­ci­ans a crea­ti­ve resour­ce and the free­dom to super­im­po­se and find the right thing for the music that is play­ed.

Also, they rela­te your music a lot with John Col­tra­ne. Do you agree? What other refe­ren­ces do you have?

John Col­tra­ne has influ­en­ced all Jazz musi­ci­ans. His sen­si­ti­ve tone, pas­sio­na­te, pure and far-reaching. His hymn-like com­po­si­ti­ons, his choice of musi­ci­ans has been what fasci­na­ted me the most. Lis­ten­ing to it has reso­na­ted a lot with my being. It see­med to me a mas­ter­ful, ener­ge­tic and medi­ta­ti­ve music at the same time. I am also fasci­na­ted with the pos­si­bi­li­ty of deve­lo­ping my own voice in long but ener­ge­tic songs. This ener­gy comes from wit­hin me and I see mys­elf reso­na­ting with his music, but in my own way.

John Col­tra­ne has always been and is a gre­at influ­ence. His work is impres­si­ve, so many chan­ges in such a short time. Each peri­od of his music is very important and influ­en­ti­al. It has spe­ci­fic brands that always search in the past and in the future, but always firm­ly roo­ted in the moment. Dis­co­vering, stu­dy­ing and rese­ar­ching John Col­tra­ne and his music is a lifel­ong expe­ri­ence that requi­res love, time and dedi­ca­ti­on. John Col­tra­ne was one of the most pas­sio­na­te and beau­ti­ful figu­res in the histo­ry of jazz, his music means a lot to me and I owe him a lot. Gol­den Rule is one of the ways to thank him, but not the only one, sin­ce all my records have some­thing to do with the spi­rit of John Col­tra­ne.

I am also fasci­na­ted by Ali­ce Col­tra­ne, her use of the oscil­la­ting harp or Wur­lit­zer organ, and her pre­dilec­tion for the use of Indian and European instru­ments such as vio­lins. ( like in the orches­tra­ti­on of her album, Uni­ver­sal Con­scious­ness ‘, 1971 or, Lord of Lords’, 1972)

I lis­ten to a lot of tra­di­tio­nal Afri­can music from all over the con­ti­nent, from the north like Gna­wa or from Mali, Nige­ria, Sene­gal, Bur­ki­na Faso, .… tra­di­tio­nal world music of Tuva, Bul­ga­ria, ..

Other main influ­en­ces are Char­lie Par­ker, Illi­nois Jacket, Eddie Lock Jaw Davis, Count Basie and of cour­se, Les­ter Young.

How do you com­po­se? What is the pro­cess? Do your musi­ci­ans inter­vene in the pro­cess?

The pro­cess of com­po­si­ti­on is always dif­fe­rent and, in a cer­tain way, it is an open road. Some melo­dies come out on the sopra­no saxo­pho­ne, others on the tenor saxo­pho­ne and others on the alto. Some­ti­mes I wri­te music with the pia­no, some­ti­mes I just wri­te on the paper and then I check it on the instru­ment. I always choo­se a tonal cen­ter that expres­ses well the emo­ti­on of the song. Sin­ce the album ‘Natu­ral Time’ (2016) I have star­ted the com­po­si­ti­on with the bass line. It suits me a lot, becau­se for me the Groo­ve is very important in trans­mit­ting the mes­sa­ge of the song.

The com­po­si­ti­ons that are Ruba­to (which are free of groo­ve) I start on the saxo­pho­ne. I work a lot with Rado­mir in music throughout the year and we make many decisi­ons tog­e­ther. At the time of record­ing I get into the stu­dio with my musi­ci­ans and Uros and Gina inter­pret my idea of rhythm in a fan­tastic way. But also some­ti­mes even while record­ing, song struc­tures can still chan­ge, accord­ing to the impul­ses of each one. The songs that somehow “call” us all are the ones that we later may choo­se for a live con­cert.

Also, I see that you have pre­pa­red ano­t­her album, which will be released in March 2019. Have you recor­ded it yet?

The Record Label RR GEMS Records has pro­po­sed to us the renow­ned record com­pa­ny of United King­dom ‘Jazz­man’ to make a release in 7″ Vinyl for­mat, and make 600 copies. It’s all finis­hed, just mis­sing the vinyl press.

But RR GEMS Records also pro­po­sed us to release ano­t­her 12 “vinyl by about April 2019. So as this past sum­mer we recor­ded a lot, the songs have alrea­dy been cho­sen. Only the dro­ne instru­ments are mis­sing, the mix, and the mas­ter on the musi­cal side.

We are very hap­py that RR GEMS gives us this gre­at oppor­tu­ni­ty to express all our crea­ti­vi­ty.

The­re are some other albums that are rea­dy to go, one with the gre­at Aus­tri­an drum­mer Wolf­gang Rei­sin­ger, and also a gre­at album dedi­ca­ted to Ornet­te Cole­man that I recor­ded with Bar­ce­lo­na quar­tet.

What will that new album be cal­led? Will it be the same style as Gol­den Rule or will it be dif­fe­rent?

The names of the next two edi­ti­ons men­tio­ned above I want to be a sur­pri­se for the time to come. The style is the same. But the­re is ope­ning a way for a new pha­se that will be revea­led at the right time. The first album is alrea­dy recor­ded and will be released at the end of next year. The style is always evol­ving, always in move­ment, always trans­forming, … as well as life, always in con­stant chan­ge.

I’ve seen on your web­site that you alrea­dy have con­certs for next year in Aus­tria. Do you play a lot out­si­de of Spain, out­si­de of Ibi­za?

For each album that we have released we have made a tour to pre­sent it. I feel for­tu­n­a­te to have been able to open the 30th edi­ti­on of Eivis­sa Jazz, in Vara de Rey on August 31 of this year 2018 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBGZCfM24oQ&t=2333s) and to be able to play with regu­la­ri­ty in the Balea­ric Islands.

I can see that with the RR GEMS Vinyl edi­ti­on, our radi­us of action has spread towards the United King­dom and the United Sta­tes. The­re is demand for us to play the­re. I hope we can orga­ni­ze a tour in the­se coun­tries in the next 2 years.

We are also dedi­ca­ted prac­ti­tio­ners of clas­si­cal jazz. We love play­ing music of Les­ter Young, Count Basie, Illi­nois Jac­quet, who are the bread and but­ter of our pro­fes­si­on, and we are very gra­te­ful to be able to play that music and offer more than 140 con­certs a year play­ing clas­si­cal jazz.