Eine Wienerin erobert die Jazzwelt’, Die Presse, July 2020, by Samir H. Köck

Eine Wie­ne­rin erobert die Jazz­welt’, Die Pres­se, July 2020, by Samir H. Köck

A Vien­nese woman con­quers the jazz world

The Vien­nese jazz saxo­pho­nist, who lives in Ibi­za, is star­ting her inter­na­tio­nal care­er. Her style of spi­ri­tu­al jazz is of the utmost urgen­cy. BY SAMIR H. KÖCK

          For Euro­pean musi­ci­ans, it is somehow like being appoin­ted to the sta­te of nobi­li­ty when one of the Lon­don inde­pen­dent Jazz labels cat­ches your eye. And that hap­pens more when you make yourself scar­ce. Like to Muri­el Gross­mann, the saxo­pho­nist born in Paris in 1971 and then rai­sed in Vien­na, who has lived and  worked in Ibi­za sin­ce 2007.

         Gerald Short, who once ran a small shop in Cam­den Lock, now his Jazz­man label is a label of the most keen jazz lovers, sup­ply­ing the world with musi­cal deli­caci­es. “We dig deeper” is his slo­gan. He did so in the case of Gross­mann, a pioneer of the cur­rent boom in spi­ri­tu­al jazz. In 2019 he released radio edits of long num­bers like “Gol­den Rule” as a sin­gle. The shor­tening was not everyone’s cup of tea, but the sin­gle spar­ked inte­rest in an artist, who works away from the big busi­ness, and working very actively. Sin­ce 2007 she has recor­ded nine albums on her Dream­land label, and in 2018 two more works fol­lo­wed on RR Gems. Short has now released the haun­ting album “Ele­va­ti­on”, which com­pi­les pie­ces from 2016 and 2017. Ano­t­her opus is to fol­low in autumn. Gross­mann, who ori­gi­nal­ly stu­di­ed vete­ri­na­ry medi­ci­ne, has been fol­lowing the music of the old mas­ters, abo­ve all the music of John Col­tra­ne, but also Pha­ro­ah San­ders, Archie Shepp and Albert Ayler, for lon­ger than Kama­si Washing­ton and Shabaka Hut­chings, who have made spi­ri­tu­al jazz popu­lar again.


         This rubs off on her inten­se tone and on her archi­tec­tu­re of the long arches. She likes to impro­vi­se to exo­tic sound­ing, pre-recor­ded “dro­nes”: The­se are den­se, poly­rhyth­mic sound car­pets with Afri­can and Indian instru­ments such as Kalim­ba, N’Go­ni, Kra­kebs, Bala­fon, Sar­an­gi and Tam­bu­ra, but also with pia­no and Bass. With the­se reme­di­es, she lures you into a space of con­scious­ness bey­ond simp­le wake­ful­ness. But medi­ta­ti­on does not work eit­her. It is rather the case that the lively pul­se of the music and the inten­si­ty of the saxo­pho­ne sound lead into a kind of invi­go­ra­ting trance.

         Gross­mann is not the only jazz capa­ci­ty on the Balea­ric island. Also the Ger­man pia­nist Joa­chim Kühn, who worked with Free jazz gre­ats like Ornet­te Cole­man and Archie Shepp lives the­re. The two made friends. May­be the­re will be a col­la­bo­ra­ti­on some­day. Until then, Gross­mann will pro­bab­ly con­ti­nue play­ing with her regu­lar musi­ci­ans, in addi­ti­on to Gina Schwarz on bass, Rado­mir Milo­j­ko­vic on gui­tar and Uros Sta­men­ko­vic on drums. No mat­ter what wild land­s­capes the music goes in, the four trust each other. The deli­ca­te grace­ful­ness of “Chant”, the flam­boyan­ce in some­what brisk pie­ces like “Rising”, all of this sounds very authen­tic. With the clim­bing aid of the Bri­tish label Jazz­man, Muri­el Gross­mann will soon be a house­hold name in the cen­ters of jazz. Let us hope that she will then still be wil­ling to play at the Por­gy & Bess. BY SAMIR H. KÖCK