Finally a new world jazz star from Austria” concert review of Samir Köck in DiePresse, Vienna Austria Jan 2022

Final­ly a new world jazz star from Austria
Ori­gi­nal arti­cle HERE
Muri­el Gross­mann. The Vien­nese saxo­pho­nist lives on Ibi­za, relea­ses on an Esto­ni­an Label now she plays again in Por­gy & Bess.
A sharp moti­ve on the electric gui­tar, cym­bal hits, a mild wind from the Ham­mond organ. Then Muri­el Gross­mann began with an urgent tone on the tenor saxo­pho­ne and took off strai­ght away… “Hap­pi­ness” is the name of the pie­ce. Based on clas­sic blue note hard bop aes­the­tics, the saxo­pho­nist quick­ly moves in the direc­tion of spi­ri­tu­al jazz à la Ali­ce and John Col­tra­ne. The com­pa­ri­son with the­se legends of the 1960s, which is often expres­sed by inter­na­tio­nal experts, is annoy­ing and flat­te­ring at the same time. In an inter­view with the “Pres­se”, Gross­mann says that she does not mas­ter her instru­ment as per­fect­ly as John Col­tra­ne, but if her music reminds of him, she is very happy.
She also has joy with her band: the Serbs Rado­mir Milo­j­ko­vic on the gui­tar and Uros Sta­men­ko­vić on the drums have been play­ing with her for almost 20 years. You can hear that. New in the com­bo is the Ham­mond orga­nist Llo­renç Bar­celó. Again and again he for­med inau­di­ble syll­ab­les with his lips, as if he wan­ted to sum­mon his rap­tur­ous his­sing instru­ment. Becau­se bas­sist Gina Schwarz was unavail­ab­le for the last record­ing ses­si­on, he got his chan­ce. And he took it, lea­ding the band into new, more world­ly waters. That evening Gina Schwarz was only “Spe­cial Guest” on two tracks from the album “Gol­den Rule”, released in 2018, which has pro­ven to be a key work in Grossmann’s career.
Until 2018, Gross­mann only released CDs on her own label. Then Esto­ni­an Dmi­tri Kali­nin began releasing their music on LPs. The vinyl pres­sings with new visu­al aes­the­tics and audio­phi­le sound qua­li­ty fue­led inter­na­tio­nal inte­rest. The Bri­tish BBC man Gil­les Peter­son cele­bra­ted them big in his radio broad­casts. Bri­tish label owner Gerald Short soon released a sin­gle and several com­pi­la­ti­ons. No won­der, sin­ce the idio­syn­cra­tic sound fits per­fect­ly into the cur­rent renais­sance of spi­ri­tu­al jazz, which his label Jazz­man is promoting.
Of cour­se, Gross­mann was never inte­res­ted in fashion. She sim­ply plays what comes out of her: flam­boyant, inten­se and in several voice ran­ges, i.e. on tenor, alto and sopra­no saxo­pho­ne. She now has the most fans in the USA and Gre­at Bri­tain. This puts her in the pan­the­on of the few inter­na­tio­nal­ly acc­lai­med jazz musi­ci­ans from Aus­tria. The­re aren’t many becau­se local mas­ters like Erich Klein­schus­ter, Fritz Pau­er and Karl­heinz Miklin pre­fer­red to seek the secu­ri­ty of radio orche­s­tras and jazz uni­ver­si­ties ins­tead of ven­tu­ring out into the world. Only Hans Kol­ler, Joe Zawin­ul, Micha­el Mant­ler, Wolf­gang Muth­spiel and, to a les­ser extent, Karl Rat­zer, who inci­dent­al­ly will be awar­ded the tit­le of pro­fes­sor this week, did that. Perhaps also as a con­so­la­ti­on for not ful­ly rea­li­zing his potential.
Is Ibi­za a jazz island after all?
Gross­mann does the same thing in prac­ti­cal­ly every one of their con­certs. This evening espe­cial­ly in “Tran­eing In”, to which Gina Schwarz con­tri­bu­t­ed a won­der­ful­ly elastic bass figu­re. When she com­po­sed hers, Gross­mann had no idea that John Col­tra­ne had a pie­ce of the same name in his reper­toire. In the Por­gy she cele­bra­ted this win­ding excur­si­on into the open for almost a quar­ter of an hour, star­ting with an ori­en­tal melo­dy on the sopra­no saxophone.
In “Afri­can Dance”, which is backed by a den­se car­pet of rhythm, she show­ed that she also mas­ters the ear­thy. The lyri­cal high­light of the evening was the year­ning melo­dy of “Sun­down”. She con­ju­red up Ibi­za in front of the inner eye. What a striking melo­dy! Not to be com­pa­red with the nar­co­tic sun­dow­ner ambi­ence of a José Padil­la. Sun-satu­ra­ted, majes­tic jazz that streng­t­hens ins­tead of seda­ting. May­be Ibi­za is a jazz island after all?
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