Interview with Austrian Jazz saxophonist and composer Muriel Grossmann. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.com: – What are the experiences of your life that led you to see music as a spiritual endeavor?
Muriel Grossmann։ – I find that the musical style known as spiritual jazz from the late 1960s and 1970s is closest to how I hear music. Simply said: it just sounds right to me. Ever since I was a child, my greatest desire has been to express myself completely. The pursuit of expression through music and instruments was my constant goal since I started to play an music. Through time I discovered the authenticity of each unique expression in the moment.
Whether it’s Spiritual Jazz or any other genre, I now believe that the intention and dedication behind the music makes all the difference. My deepest wish is to spread joy and bliss through my music. And this discovery I try to bring into all life.
JBN: – Life is more than just music, is there any other field that has influence on your music?
MG: – Music leads the way, but I am also a dedicated mother and I am also a lover of nature and I read spiritual teachings on a daily bases all of which influence the music I express.
JBN: – Where does your creative drive come from?
MG: – What fuels my creativity is the fact that music feels the closest to my heart so I can express and communicate most fluently through music.
JBN: – What are you doing to keep it relevant today, to develop it and present it to the youth?
MG: – I am digging deep into the roots of jazz and the deeper I dig, the more I am able to showcase its beauty. I long for younger generations to experience its power and be inspired by it. The likelihood of motivating young listeners through a live performance is much greater than via the release of a record due to modern day listening behaviors. However, if given the opportunity to attend our concert, our music can offer them great music, great time, lots of energy and lots of rhythm.
JBN: – Do you have any interesting stories about the making of the new album?
MG: – My body of work encompasses more than 15 albums and all are clearly showing a continual thread. I am pleased that Third Man has chosen to release Devotion. Third Man Records was founded by a musician, and their policy prioritizes artist autonomy. Despite releasing various jazz reissues, Third Man is not typically associated with jazz music. Composing my latest record ‘Devotion,’ songs were just pouring out in a very organic way and when the rest of the band heard them and we started to practice for the recording session we realized that they have that down to earth quality, that was especially reflected in the tunes Calm and Devotion. These tunes have that more rock, blues and country feeling, so we naturally started to look for that kind of sound, lot of open tunings, slide guitars. It was crucial to integrate these elements in a manner consistent with my previous works.
JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2023: Muriel Grossmann – Devotion, how it was formed and what you are working on today.
MG: – I enjoyed working with my new quartet. Our new member is Abel Boquera, a fantastic Hammond player who really provides the band a solid foundation to explore the group playing.
His addition has allowed Devotion to continue exploring the outskirts of spiritual jazz, which play an integral part in this genre, by following the thread of Universal Code, my release from last year. I composed the songs in a special sequence to create the feeling of a musical journey.
I always work on many things simultaneously, and I can tell you that there will be some great live records, then some wonderful recordings from my vault that were never published before and of course the new studio record with brand-new compositions, scheduled for next year.
JBN: – Why Devotion: Devotion to what?
MG: – You can see the meaning of this word reflected in this album in many aspects. I am devoted to music that makes me feel good, delivering an integral album that reflects our musical development as a band, bringing happiness to my fans, being in the here and now. What you are devoted to, you give all your energy.
JBN: – Did your sound evolve during that time?
MG: – The sound of our band progresses primarily through playing live, then through rehearsing and recording and of course through our personal engagement in practicing the newly found elements for each album.
JBN: – And how did you select the musicians who play on the album?
MG: – I love to work with the same band as this provides ground to develop together not only planting seeds but also nurturing, harvesting, and replanting.
JBN: – What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far?
MG: – Highlights are now in this very moment. I am grateful and honored to have released a new album, to go on tour with my band. This experience brings us closer in every way as we work on and perform each album ․․. I cherish moments I spend with my kids and then the opportunity to travel, I love exploring a new place.
JBN: – Do you think that young people can become future audiences and fans?
MG: – Yes, if they are exposed to our live playing and albums, this is a given.