Interview with Muriel Grossmann: Music speaks directly to our heart: Video, New CD cover, Photos

Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Muriel Grossmann. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – Before we jump into anything historical, can you tell us about what we can expect musically this evening?

Muriel Grossmann: – Our latest record ‘Quiet Earth’ came out in December 2020 as a Cd, which you can find on Bandcamp. The vinyl was published on RR Gems Records. You can hear incomparable Radomir Milojkovic on guitar, with whom I am working together since very long time. On drums we have the in-the-pocket-groove-master Uros Stamenkovic. He has been with us from ‘Natural Time’ (2016) through ‘Momentum’ (2017), ‘Golden Rule’ (2018), ‘Reverence’ (2019) and also on our latest record ‘Quiet Earth’. Llorenç Barcelo on Organ Hammond B3 is a core member of our band since the album ‘Reverence’, he is an extraordinary versatile musician. And on the title song of the album you can also here the energetic Gina Schwarz who has been with us as long as Uros. I hope you enjoy the new album as much as we do.

JBN: – Are there sub-genres within the jazz field that you tend to stay away from or focus on?

MG: – Not really. I like jazz in all its sub-genres. It gives a variety and space for musicians to express themselves and build upon and possibly bring something new to the table and create their own sound. It is more of a tool, like different musical instruments that we as musicians choose to communicate the music that is inside of us. Some musicians stay inside of a certain framework, some walk the fine line and some are going through the styles and some are creating them. Our earlier records like ‘Birth Of The Mystery’ (2010) and ‘Awakening’ (2013) were more avant-garde, that was the period when I was influenced by musicians like Ornette Coleman and Joachim Kühn. Later on, starting with the record ‘Earth Tones’ (2015), I was leaning more towards the rhythm-orientated music that led me into spiritual Jazz, a forgotten sub-genre, very much out of the focus of the mainstream at that time.

JBN: – When your first desire to become involved in the music was & what do you learn about yourself from music?

MG: – Music was a steady companion since my birth. My parents were passionate in the arts and I heard music on a daily basis. My parents were taking me to concerts, ballets and opera from early childhood. I was five when I started to play flute and this opened a new world for me where I could be creative. It provided me a special place and soon I started to play music with fellow musicians. What I learned on the way is, that it’s important to pursue your inner vision of what you want to play and how you want to sound and stay true to yourself and keep on learning. It is a never-ending road of self-discovery and finding what is working for you. The process itself will show you the path and opens that road.

I think making music has also the potential to make other people happy and bring them to a higher state of consciousness.

JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

MG: – I guess that preparation is part of a day to day work, trust and focus. Every performance is different; every day, place, the way you feel is different. Each concert you have to start from zero and then slowly build while moving forward, therefore, day to day work, trust in yourself and in your fellow musicians and focus are playing key roles. Besides that, I am also reading spiritual texts on a daily bases and try to refine as a human being.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2021: <Quiet Earth>, how it was formed and what you are working on today?

MG: – Quiet Earth was recorded before these difficult times. The circumstances for us were lucky to bring it out, since we could not record the follow up album for ‘Reverence’. So, we just had to work on the drone orchestra and finished the mixing and mastering. For me ‘Quiet Earth’ has a very good flow and is composed of beautiful songs which makes the album very pleasant to listen. I think it summarizes the essence of what I want for my music to communicate to the listener. We are finishing the mastering of the next album which will come out hopefully around end of May and I am composing the sequel for the album ‘Reverence’, which will be an exciting step for us, hopefully ready to be revealed by the end of this year.

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JBN: – What happened when you first heard Bird? Did it make an immediate impact on you?

MG: – Charlie Parker is a musician that highly influenced me. Starting on alto saxophone he was my first reference. I was most fascinated by his phrases and interpretation of melodies. It made me practice a lot and wishing to attain a similar musicianship. I guess the graffiti that appeared after Parker died ”Bird lives” rings true until today and will continue. Not only in the records where he played but also in our music, in our collective memory. He was truly one of a kind and one of the greatest blues players ever.

JBN: – With such an illustrious career, what has given you the most satisfaction musically?

MG: – Being able to bring out albums year by year, playing with musicians that I honor and love, developing with them our band sound.

JBN: – From the musical and feeling point of view is there any difference between an old and great jazzman and young?

MG: – Music speaks directly to our heart. The scope it opens is vast yet so familiar. There is just good music or music that you don’t enjoy so much. Who the player is, doesn’t really matter. I find myself enjoying very much music from great jazzman of the past. Every period has great musicians, from Louis Armstrong onwards and it is not different today. We as musicians of today are fortunate to be able to look back and hear all those great records and musicians, but that also involves being challenged with that great legacy. If you put it in the context of time, then and now, there was much more work in the past and work gives you the possibility to experiment and improve.

JBN: – What advice would you give to aspiring musicians thinking of pursuing a career?

MG: – Work hard, investigate, know yourself and keep your ears open!

Your sound is the one dear to your heart. Keep your ears open, you can find inspiration everywhere but know it is most true and also most easy to develop your own sound through the music you are most inspired by. Know, that if you continue on this journey it will lead to a lot of joy for yourself and your listeners.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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