Interview Muriel Grossmann. About the spirituality in Jazz, AUX121 Jun Jul 2023 by Janire Goikoetxea

Inter­view Muri­el Gross­mann. About the spi­ri­tua­li­ty in Jazz, AUX121 Jun Jul 2023 by Jani­re Goikoetxea

1. You moved to the Balea­ric Islands almost two deca­des ago. How has Spa­nish cul­tu­re affec­ted your music? 

I have moved to Ibi­za in 2003 after having lived in Bar­ce­lo­na for one and a half years and I belie­ve the sun­ny side of the pla­net fits bet­ter to my per­so­na­li­ty or at least hel­ps me to main­tain a posi­ti­ve mind sta­te throughout the year. The Medi­ter­ra­ne­an folk­lo­re rhyth­ms have always fasci­na­ted me, you can hear them in the Kna­wa music as well as in the Ibicen­co folk­lo­re music. The music that I com­po­se comes from various exter­nal fac­tors intern­al­ly trans­la­ted expe­ri­en­cing living here. The sea so clo­se, the clean sal­ty air, the lush Medi­ter­ra­ne­an vege­ta­ti­on, the mul­ti-facet cul­tures repre­sen­ted on this small island by its inter­na­tio­nal inha­bi­tants, the deep spi­rit of the 70s move­ment still engrai­ned here and in my life, the pos­si­bi­li­ties of the place I live now sin­ce more then 10 years (stu­dio at my house gar­den around etc.), time for con­tem­pla­ti­on and of cour­se being a mother or two won­der­ful sup­por­ting kids and the pos­si­bi­li­ty of play­ing on a dai­ly bases during the long sum­mer sea­sons and of going on tour most­ly in the spring autumn and win­ter months.

2. I have read that ‘Uni­on’ was an album that emer­ged from a live set. What led you to make the decisi­on to record and publish it?

With the pan­de­mic shut­ting down every usu­al rou­ti­ne lived befo­re, we were able to publish a record­ing ses­si­on that we added on a small tour in the neigh­bo­ring islands, which we were very fond. Uni­on came to be a prio­ri­ty record in a time whe­re I was not able to record a sequence to Rever­ence and I am very hap­py to have cap­tu­red the live spi­rit of the band again after a long time, the pre­vious live record being Awa­ke­n­ing a record­ing of a live con­cert with the gre­at Chris­ti­an Lil­lin­ger and Robert Land­fer­mann. Cap­tu­ring a live per­for­mance or record­ing during the peri­od of a tour allows the audi­ence to expe­ri­ence the ener­gy and pure spon­ta­ne­ous emo­ti­ons of a per­for­mance as if they whe­re there.

3. When each musi­ci­an has his own side pro­jects, how is your way of working as a quar­tet? Do you cur­r­ent­ly have many oppor­tu­nities to play together?

All musi­ci­ans in my band inclu­ding me have side pro­jects but we choo­se to give prio­ri­ty to my pro­ject. I take the most joy in going deeper with one for­ma­ti­on. Music is a high­ly com­plex rich lan­guage and the pro­found under­stan­ding and more ela­bo­ra­te com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on that plays tog­e­ther in the music heard by the audi­ence comes from play­ing in the same for­ma­ti­on over a long peri­od of time. At least that is how it func­tions for me.

4. Making jazz music requi­res the con­stant use impro­vi­sa­ti­on and expe­ri­men­ta­ti­on. Does the dai­ly trai­ning on this crea­ti­ve mecha­nism also help you see life in a dif­fe­rent way?

My life revol­ves around music. Expres­sing mys­elf through that vehi­cle is the clo­sest to my heart and the ful­lest expres­si­on of my pos­si­bi­li­ties but all my decisi­ons and choices in dai­ly life are always made out of the neces­si­ties of the moment like in music. The most ease and joy I have prac­ti­cing or rea­ding and pro­ces­sing what I read. But in all other acti­vi­ties or non-acti­vi­ties I try come clo­se to that feeling.

5. Fol­lowing the path of some of your recent records in which you plun­ged into spi­ri­tu­al-jazz, the songs on Uni­ver­sal Code, are named after very spe­ci­fic fee­lings, sta­tes and con­cepts rela­ted to the spi­ri­tu­al awa­ke­n­ing pro­cess. How do you mana­ge to trans­la­te the­se com­plex con­cepts into pieces?

My com­po­si­ti­ons are a natu­ral expres­si­on of the evo­lu­ti­on I’m going through in life. Each of them is about a cer­tain reflec­tion peri­od, Earth Tones is about tuning into the needs of our pla­net, Natu­ral Time is about under­stan­ding the moti­va­ti­on behind and brin­ging for­ward ones essence, Momen­tum is about a con­scious decisi­on towards the bene­fit of others, Gol­den Rule is about under­stan­ding of the fun­da­men­tal aspect of human inter­ac­tion, making the choice that pro­mo­tes the well-being of the peop­le around us, Rever­ence is about hono­ring the roots, Quiet Earth is about moment by moment decisi­on making, Uni­ver­sal Code is about trans­cen­ding out bio­lo­gi­cal limi­ta­ti­ons and choo­sing enligh­ten­ment. Each album repres­ents a sta­ge of deve­lo­p­ment during a spe­ci­fic time peri­od. As a musi­ci­an, I use the vehi­cle of music to ful­ly express mys­elf and trans­la­te my expe­ri­en­ces into pie­ces that cap­tu­re the essence of my jour­ney. This pro­cess is a natu­ral one that comes from a deep con­nec­tion to the clear light mind and a desi­re to com­mu­ni­ca­te in the most authen­tic and mea­ning­ful way pos­si­ble.

Text by Jani­re Goi­koetxea. 

Muri­el Gross­mann Quar­tet plays in the Inter­na­cio­nal Fes­ti­val of Getxo on 29 of June 2023

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