Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Muriel Grossman - Quiet Earth (Dreamlandrecords, 2020)

Saxophonist Muriel Grossmann, originally from Austria though now based in Ibiza has carved out her own space, playing and recording with jazz greats, and also releasing several fine solo albums on her own Dreamlandrecords Label. On this album she plays soprano, alto and tenor saxophone along side Radomir Milojkovic on guitar, Gina Schwarz on bass, Uros Stamenkovic on drums and Llorenç Barceló on organ. "Wien" opens with a sense of spiritual reverence, resolving to rather swinging quartet section. The music has a soulful touch that gradually grows more potent, then a twanging guitar solo breaks out proving an interesting touch to the music, slide guitar rarely used in jazz and Milojkovic uses it to great effect here over simmering organ and cymbals. There is a subtle organ and cymbal percussion interlude, after which the saxophone returns with aggressive drumming reprising the theme. A slinky guitar and  fast complex bass rhythm opens "African Call," with Grossman developing a lighter faster saxophone tone, along side rich, bubbling  accompanying playing. She plays spirited saxophone in a loose and imaginative manner, leading to a guitar solo that is equally fast, showering notes along the path. Shimmering organ and drums groove through a featured segment, locked in tightly, and everyone returns to the bouncy effervescent theme for the closure. "Peaceful River" has a warm and welcoming feeling, with more space and nice patient organ and cymbals. The leader takes flight with some exciting soaring saxophone, over lightly comping guitar. The saxophone focus is clear as the musicians bubble and simmer, and she rides the thermals before returning to the quieter more inward looking saxophone theme. Shifting percussion with saxophone developing a deep swirling rhythm usher in "Quiet Earth" with Grossman's taut saxophone tone cutting through fine layers guitar, keyboards, percussion. She is very expressive on each of the saxophone she plays deftly using narrative development within a solo. Soaring and playing in a very organic and natural fashion, the group is in on point with a spiffy guitar solo, leading to an equally interesting organ and percussion duet that explores while holding the groove down. Tenor saxophone coda with thick bass and strong drums provide a memorable tag ending. This is another fine entry in Muriel Grossman's steadily growing discography. The band plays very well supporting her solo endeavors and working positively as an ensemble, and the leader's saxophone playing is bright and memorable. Quiet Earth - Bandcamp.com

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