Muriel Grossmann — Ein Echo der Frühen Sechziger’ in daily Berlin Newspaper ‘TAZ’, May 20, 2020

“Jazz saxo­pho­nist Gross­mann: An Echo Of The Ear­ly Six­ties”,
Taz, Ber­lin; May20, 2020

ori­gi­nal arti­cle here

Jazz saxo­pho­nist Muri­el Gross­mann ama­zes with her new album. “Ele­va­ti­on” is char­ming, uncom­pli­ca­ted and inspi­red by the past.

It was not to be expec­ted that Muri­el Gross­mann, born in Paris in 1971, would matu­re into an important jazz saxo­pho­nist. Becau­se after she moved to Vien­na with her fami­ly in 1976, went through various schools the­re and gra­dua­ted from high school, Gross­mann was ori­gi­nal­ly sup­po­sed to beco­me a vete­ri­na­ri­an. In addi­ti­on, she had stu­di­ed the flu­te for 16 years. At 21, she swit­ched to the saxo­pho­ne, after finis­hing vete­ri­na­ry stu­dies she dedi­ca­ted herself to music. Years of try­ing fol­lo­wed: she play­ed in various R&B, funk and jazz bands.

It was only when she moved to Bar­ce­lo­na in 2002 that a jazz care­er emer­ged. On the advice of pia­nist and com­po­ser Joa­chim Kühn, with whom she often play­ed tog­e­ther, she went to the Balea­ric island of Ibi­za in 2004. The­re she met Miko Wea­ver, Prince’s long­time gui­ta­rist, play­ed with him and ear­ned her living as a hotel musi­ci­an. At the same time, Muri­el Gross­mann put tog­e­ther her own band with which she per­for­med many gigs. From 2007 she pro­du­ced her albums and beca­me the label mana­ger (“Dream­land­re­cords”) and com­po­ser in per­so­nal uni­on. She made her bre­akth­rough at the age of 36.

Get­ting star­ted com­pa­ra­tively late, like Muri­el Gross­mann, means no dis­ad­van­ta­ge, espe­ci­al­ly in jazz; a John Col­tra­ne also gra­dual­ly deve­lo­ped into an ace, gai­ned world fame in his mid-thir­ties. Not the only par­al­lel bet­ween the Metho­dist son from North Caro­li­na and the Aus­tri­an tea­cher daugh­ter.

Col­tra­nes Impul­se! Pha­se

Whoever hears Grossmann’s new album “Ele­va­ti­on” imme­dia­te­ly noti­ces that Gross­mann is clear­ly ori­en­ted towards the Impul­se! Pha­se Col­tra­nes, so cal­led after the label Impul­se!. It is the peri­od from 1961 when the Afri­can Ame­ri­can tenor saxo­pho­nist found him­s­elf, but found fre­er forms from the clas­sic com­bo BeBop of the 1950s. He was open to expe­ri­ments, inves­ti­ga­ted the Afri­can origins of jazz, for examp­le, and ope­ned him­s­elf up to the spi­ri­tu­al.

Coltrane’s light­ness in the ear­ly six­ties appeared as a distant, not too acquie­scent echo from Gross­mann almost 60 years later, it inspi­red a signa­tu­re work that con­den­sed Coltrane’s music. At the same time, she is inspi­red by works by the com­po­ser Ali­ce Col­tra­ne, John Coltrane’s second wife, and the pia­nist McCoy Tyner. All of the­se influ­en­ces come tog­e­ther on “Ele­va­ti­on”. In con­sul­ta­ti­on with the artist, the Jazz­man label has recom­bi­ned pie­ces from two of her albums. So you can find “Peace for All” and “Your Pace” from “Natu­ral Time” (2016) as well as “Ele­va­ti­on”, “Rising” and “Chant” from “Momen­tum” (2017).

Musi­cal strin­gen­cy

This does not detract from the musi­cal strin­gen­cy, on the con­tra­ry: “Ele­va­ti­on” is even more con­cen­tra­ted than its ori­gi­nal works. Grossmann’s quar­tet, along­si­de Rado­mir Milo­j­ko­vic (gui­tar), Uros Sta­men­ko­vic (drums) and Gina Schwarz on bass, on full power here. The line-up has remai­ned sta­ble over the past deca­de — in the mean­ti­me has even grown into a quin­tet — and the total trust sounds good.

The five pie­ces are full of soul, warm jazz vir­tuo­si­ty and a look at histo­ry does not trans­fi­gu­re the past. Grossmann’s saxo­pho­ne sound mel­ts into a 45-minu­te dream in which she tran­si­ti­ons gent­ly and fruit­ful­ly at the same time. The artist not only prays Coltrane’s sound here, but always finds her own modern varia­ti­ons that are also colo­red by fusi­on and cool jazz.

Muri­el Grossmann’s “Ele­va­ti­on” pres­ents its­elf immu­ne to show-offs and super­fi­cia­li­ty. Very char­ming, with a fine spring, it always lea­ves space whe­re com­pres­si­on would be exa­g­ge­ra­ted. The phra­sing sounds rela­xed and con­cen­tra­ted at the same time. Luck­i­ly, Gross­mann pre­fer­red the saxo­pho­ne to vete­ri­na­ry medi­ci­ne.

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