Concert Review from Vijazz Festival, by Martí Farré

Ori­gi­nal arti­cle in NUVOL.COM

ARCHIE SHEPP – the remor­seless artist
By Mar­tí Farré,Vilafranca, 10.07.2019

In spi­te of being a cele­bra­ti­on with just a few per­for­man­ces, a fact that, accord­ing to how, incre­a­ses its enchant­ment, this year’s the Sab­a­dell bank Fes­ti­val Vijazz Pene­dès offe­red one of the most eclec­tic pos­ters in its histo­ry. From the jazz song of Made­lai­ne Pey­roux, who left the impres­si­on of the Pla­za de Jau­me I being small, the pro­po­sal swit­ched to Latin ‑and fla­men­co — airs from the group led by Arturo O’Fa­rill and Anto­nio Lizana, and to the pia­no trio of the Jamai­can Mon­ty Alex­an­der, the Elia Bas­ti­da’sma­nou­che jazz or the soul of the Key Sis­ters. But Two of the most out­stan­ding per­for­man­ces of Vijazz 2019 were the one of the his­to­ri­cal Archie Sheppand the one of the also horn play­er Muri­el Gross­mann.


From Ibi­za to the Clois­ter of Sant Francesc

If the his­to­ric Archie Shepp clo­sed the grid of Vijazz 2019, the Aus­tri­an — resi­dent of Ibi­za — Muri­el Gross­mann, was in char­ge of ope­ning the event. Des­pi­te living a stone’s throw away from the main­land, Gross­mann had never left the Piti­usas to per­form at any Cata­lan fes­ti­val or the rest of the main­land. This is a real ano­ma­ly for an artist who publis­hed the first album under her name more than a deca­de ago. The cycle “Elles i el jazz” was, then, the first oppor­tu­ni­ty to lis­ten in Cata­lo­nia to a jazz woman who has been tuto­red by Joa­chim Kühn, among others.

Gross­mann, who began her care­er in the field of the free, has been drif­ting towards a more rhyth­mic pro­po­sal, lin­ked to the con­struc­tion of enve­lo­ping cli­ma­tes. She has tur­ned towards a kind of “wall of sound” almost mantric. Under a diver­se palet­te of syn­co­pa­ted rhyth­mic pat­terns, very pro­noun­ced, exe­cu­t­ed with deter­mi­na­ti­on by drum­mer Uros Sta­men­ko­vic, grew a volu­min­ous music, tin­ged by the spi­rit of the work of the horn play­ers to whom she dedi­ca­tes her last album, Gol­den Rule: from John Col­tra­ne to Sun Ra, going through Albert Ayler, Yusef Lateef and, abo­ve all, Pha­ro­ah San­ders. Also, accord­in­gly, we could add Gary Bartz.

Muri­el Gross­mann at the Vijazz Fes­ti­val @Joan Carles Abel­en­da /Vijazz

In the Clois­ter of San Fran­cesc she play­ed pie­ces from Gol­den Rule, such as the one that gives the name to the album, or “Tran­eing In”, “Core” and “Light”, a bal­la­distic coun­ter­point to the runa­way for­ce of the rest of the reper­toire. She has also advan­ced some songs from her next album, this pro­li­fic creator: 8 CD in 11 years, not to men­ti­on some sin­gles she has also released.

Cast to the sopra­no sax or to the tenor, Gross­mann stood out for the soli­di­ty of her speech, seduc­ti­ve and bril­li­ant at the same time, plas­te­red with the sono­rous mor­tar that for­med the basis of most of the com­po­si­ti­ons of her quar­tet. In this sen­se, we must also assess the atmo­s­phe­ric task of the gui­ta­rist Rado­mir Milo­j­ko­vic, fel­low tra­ve­ler of the Aus­tri­an sin­ce the begin­ning, who also excel­led in the role of soloist.

One of the suc­ces­ses of the evening was the pre­sence — perhaps acci­den­tal, given that on the ori­gi­nal record­ing plays the bas­sist Gina Schwarz — of Ham­mond play­er Llo­rens Bar­celó. Apart from play­ing the role of the bas­sist with mas­te­ry, Bar­celó con­tri­bu­t­ed to the almost lys­er­gic cha­rac­ter of the pro­po­sal with a seri­es of extra­or­di­na­ry solos. The drum­mer Sta­men­ko­vic also had his moment of bril­li­an­ce with a cou­p­le of improvisations.

Muri­el Gross­mann, one of the most uni­que, and at the same time in our coun­try most unknown creators of our jazz, final­ly debut­ed at a main­land fes­ti­val, wit­hin the frame­work of what was perhaps the least con­ces­si­ve ses­si­on of  the “Elles i el jazz” .