Album Notes — Natural Time


               When I was asked to wri­te liner notes for this record, I met with Muri­el Gross­mann to hear the music and make the inter­view. Lis­ten­ing to the Natu­ral Time record in its ent­i­re­ty, was inde­ed an expe­ri­ence, like tra­ve­ling without moving, and I could not help but think, that the­re is a link to what some­bo­dy once said: “There’s a lot of modal music, that is play­ed every day throug­hout the world. It’s par­ti­cu­lar­ly evi­dent in Afri­ca, but if you look at Spain or Scot­land, India or Chi­na, you’ll dis­co­ver this again in each case. If you want to look bey­ond the dif­fe­ren­ces in style, you will con­firm that the­re is a com­mon base. That’s very important. Cer­tain­ly, the popu­lar music of Eng­land is not that of South Ame­ri­ca, but take away their pure­ly eth­nic cha­rac­te­ris­tics — that is their folk­lo­ric aspect — and you’ll dis­co­ver the pre­sence of the same pen­ta­to­nic sono­ri­ty, of com­pa­ra­ble modal struc­tures.”

              The link was not only con­fir­med, but also broa­den­ed during con­ver­sa­ti­on, through ano­t­her aspect that is equal­ly important to the artist. “For me Natu­ral Time is about brin­ging for­ward the essence of ones natu­re. You have kept your path and one day, ever­y­thing comes toge­ther. In Music it is like in life. It feels like, when living accord­ing to that inner call, your ener­gy is having direc­tion. You just know, what you have to do, each step you are taking feels to be at the right time. Same goes for this record and tunes, par­ti­cu­lar­ly in Peace for All and Your Pace, it ela­bo­ra­tes on the same thought of making things right and brin­ging for­ward the best in yours­elf, other peop­le and the situa­ti­on you are in. As for Afri­can Dance, it’s a homage to this abundant land and it’s gre­at peop­le, while Hap­pi­ness is a medi­ta­ti­on on hap­py thoughts from moment to moment.”

                   Fin­ding the right musi­ci­ans was an important part in the making of Natu­ral Time, musi­ci­ans who play it peace­ful­ly but inten­se. “I’ve play­ed with Uros Sta­men­ko­vic many years ago in Bar­ce­lo­na, befo­re he went to live and play in Toron­to, but on his way back to Euro­pe, we star­ted to play a lot more toge­ther — a gre­at musi­ci­an who knows to play for the group and knows what music needs. As for Gina Schwarz, we know each other from Vien­na whe­re we play­ed with dif­fe­rent groups. Her strong bond with music comes through with every note she plays. With Rado­mir Milo­j­ko­vic I have worked for so many years and we made a lot of music toge­ther and yet every new record is a new adven­ture. This time it tur­ned out to be about voya­ge, open space, dri­ving through woods, desert, moun­ta­ins, near sea­si­de. We were also try­ing to imple­ment dif­fe­rent kinds of instru­men­ta­ti­on and sets of musi­cal dro­nes to the com­po­si­ti­ons like sar­an­gi, flu­te, har­mo­ni­um, bells and others, as we alre­ady intro­du­ced in our pre­vious album ‘Earth Tones’ DR 07 CD.”

                 What works good for the con­clu­si­on of this liner notes, is what Muri­el Gross­mann said to me at the end of our con­ver­sa­ti­on. “Natu­ral Time is a simp­le true messa­ge, sim­ply play­ed for peop­le like you and me.”
J. C. San­ders


I have had the plea­su­re to acquaint our readers with the works of Aus­tri­an saxo­pho­nist Muri­el Gross­mann, living on the Ibi­za, Spain, for her 2015 album Earth Tones. On the first day of 2016 Muri­el released a new album under the name of Natu­ral Time. If the pre­vious work car­ri­ed a con­cep­tu­al Gross­mann (an over­view of the disk can be found on the web­site), the out­ward­ly Natu­ral Time is not. As Muri­el descri­bed in an inter­view with JC San­ders, which for­med the basis of his liner notes, „Natu­ral Time is just a sin­ce­re messa­ge, an album, whe­re we play for ordi­na­ry peop­le like you and me.“ I per­so­nal­ly think, it is not so, becau­se here almost every com­po­si­ti­on, even if not lin­ked by a com­mon the­me, has its phi­lo­so­phi­cal impli­ca­ti­ons. 

Howe­ver, let us first hear about the obvious chan­ges in Natu­ral Time in com­pa­ri­son with her pre­vious work. Muri­el plays here not only on the sopra­no but also the alto saxo­pho­ne. Pre­ser­ving the for­mat of the quar­tet, she and her regu­lar part­ner, the gui­ta­rist Rado­mir Milo­j­ko­vic, work here with a new rhythm sec­tion. It is the Aus­tri­an bas­sist Gina Schwarz, an old fri­end of Muri­el still in Vien­na, and the Ser­bi­an drum­mer Uros Sta­men­ko­vic. The quar­tet her­ein reaches gen­der pari­ty, and perhaps the balan­ce of yin and yang was the key to the har­mo­ny and inner balan­ce of the per­for­mance of Muri­el Gross­manns music. This, of cour­se, a joke, but in the past, and now the posi­ti­ve ener­gy real­ly comes through with each song of the album.

The Tit­le­song and one of the lon­ger pie­ces of the album ( „Natu­ral Time“) – I took it as a reflec­tion on the flee­ting time, dating back to the bibli­cal „time to be born and a time to die“ of made and mis­sed – has a beau­ti­ful solo of Gross­mann and Milo­j­ko­vic, in the back­ground a relent­less­ly repe­ti­ti­ve rhyth­mic sound­s­cape, inspi­red by just such a pos­si­b­ly erro­neous inter­pre­ta­ti­on. In con­trast to this tit­le pie­ce, in the final com­po­si­ti­on „Bliss“, it see­med to me, the­re is no time at all. From this pie­ce bre­a­thes Bud­dhism, it is full of inner peace, as if lost in the ascetic nir­va­na – again in my free inter­pre­ta­ti­on of Muri­el Gross­manns music. And the „key“ for the music which hap­pens, the com­po­ser gives herself in the same inter­view for the liner notes. Reflec­tions on hap­pi­ness („Hap­pi­ness“) with an impres­si­ve bass solo by Gina Schwarz in the intro­duc­tion, and also ano­t­her does not requi­re explana­ti­on, the pie­ce cal­led „Peace For All“, and dedi­ca­ted to the plight of Afri­ca „Afri­can Dance“ a pie­ce with a grace­ful rhyth­mic pat­tern.

And for all this pro­found­nes, this music is sur­pri­sin­gly easy to lis­ten. If the­re is the con­cept of „user-fri­end­ly inter­face“, is app­lies to the music of Muri­el Gross­mann, she is fit to intro­du­ce a „fri­end­ly new jazz“; this style of music is not always found. And the final touch to this review: one thing in the new pro­ject remai­nes unch­an­ged, com­pa­red to the pre­vious: the album cover art again is deco­ra­ted by Muri­el and her child­ren – abs­tract bright jui­cy colors – as in the music of Muri­el Gross­mann.
Leo­nid Aus­kern, Jazz­Quad — Bela­rus  03.02.16

The Aus­tri­an saxo­pho­nist Muri­el Gross­mann, who is living on Ibi­za, has again brought out with „Natu­ral Time“, as well as with the albums befo­re a timel­ess­ly beau­ti­ful, inten­se Album, inspi­red by Coltrane’s Sound. With gui­ta­rist Rado­mir Milo­j­ko­vich Muri­el Gross­mann has a long­stan­ding com­pa­n­ion at her side and he knows to use the sound of his gui­tars to accom­plish the band extre­me­ly well in addi­ti­on to the fan­tastic, bas­sist Gina Schwarz and drum­mer Uros Sta­men­ko­vic, this time respon­si­ble for the rhythm.

Soli without idlers or pla­tes quo­ta­ti­ons are the spi­ce of this gre­at audio medi­um. The tit­le track, which main­ta­ins the rhythm from the first until the last minu­te, about ten minu­tes but it could also go twen­ty minu­tes, so hap­pi­ly one allo­wes him­s­elf to fall into this medi­ta­ti­ve music. Ins­te­ad, the­re are still seven other tracks that never dimi­nish the atten­ti­on and bring musi­cal influ­en­ces from Afri­ca and India, for examp­le. Albums with this cer­tain jazz spi­ri­tua­li­ty have beco­me rare, the more important that with the saxo­pho­nist Muri­el Gross­mann someo­ne is the­re, to not let us for­get this spi­ri­tua­li­ty. (Bak) Chris­ti­an Bakonyi, Con­cer­to — Aus­tria  Aug/Sept 2016

Saxo­pho­nist Muri­el Gross­mann grew up in 
Vien­na but has lived in Ibi­za for over a deca­de, record­ing eight albums the­re, all but one with gui­ta­rist Rado­mir Milo­j­ko­vic; her latest, Natu­ral Time, enlists Vien­nese bas­sist Gina Schwarz and drum­mer Uros Sta­men­ko­vic (who, like Milo­j­ko­vic, is from Bel­gra­de). Over the cour­se of their part­nership Gross­mann and Milo­j­ko­vic have deve­lop a signa­tu­re aes­thetic based on modal cen­ters, pen­ta­to­nic melo­dies and poly­pho­nic dro­nes, a Spar­tan approach pro­vo­king inte­rest through its medi­ta­ti­ve qua­li­ty. The dro­nes are thi­c­ke­ned with discreet tam­bu­ra (or shru­ti box), sar­an­gi, whist­les and chi­mes. Milojkovic’s tril­ling obb­li­ga­to parts are often laye­red and pan­ned, with a third gui­tar hol­ding chor­ds, while bass and drums keep time. Gross­mann, at the cen­ter, sup­plies cool pas­si­on. New York City Jazz Record