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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