Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Muriel Grossmann - Golden Rule (Dreamlandrecords, 2018)

Tenor and soprano saxophonist Muriel Grossmann played in jazz, funk and world music bands across Europe, and on this album she takes a vibrant and very impressive approach to spiritual jazz, accompanied by Radomir Milojkovic on guitar, Gina Schwarz on bass and Urns Stamenkovic on drums. "Golden Rule" develops a deeply rhythmic foundation with soprano saxophone burrowing through, developing a melody for the band to extrapolate upon. Grossmann's saxophone is fleet and nimble, fluttering around the bass and drums and gaining strength, leading to a collective improvisation that works well in terms of excitement and forward motion. Muscular drumming, heavy on the cymbals and thick bass pave the way for Milojkovic to step out for a guitar solo, using sharp pointed notes played at fast speed, on a bed of splashy cymbals before the group comes together to restate the theme and lay the tune to rest. There is a tight groove on the track "Core" that supports the leader's tenor saxophone, which is played with a confident and raw flavor, riding the wave of the strong bass and drums woven with ripples of guitar. They seem to be going for the Trane/Elvin vibe, and it works as the strong drumming with the cymbal flourishes is met by equally powerful and sustained saxophone playing. The rhythm section hits hard when she steps aside, stinging guitar keeping the pace until the leader returns to take the tune home. "Traneing In" has the guitar setting the melody, and everyone else falling in around it, including explosive soprano saxophone which swirls like a whirling dervish, the band playing in a thoughtful and investigative mode, the music lively and dramatic. Grossman has a bright and agile approach to the soprano, and she is in constant motion, with barbed notes of guitar and surges of percussion and bass taking over the midsection of the performance, including a propulsive drum solo. Moving back to theme, the music retains it's joyful intensity, gradually fading out. "Trane" uses multiple saxophones overdubbed, adding different layers of texture, which leads into a full band section that gradually evolves around Grossmann's dark and potent tenor saxophone. The sound of the performance is rich and earthy, organic in its development, and their commitment to the memory and sacrifices of John Coltrane genuine, not through slavish adoration, but through using Coltrane's discoveries as waystations in their own exploratory missions. This album worked quite well, the band is a very close knit unit that works well together and Grossmann is a powerful soloist with a memorable approach to both soprano and tenor saxophone. Golden Rule - amazon.com

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