Born in Paris, raised in Vienna, resident in Ibiza, saxophonist and composer Muriel Grossmann embodies the borderless, pan-continental energies of contemporary European jazz. Her music emerges from the lineage of European jazz that's absorbed the progressive music of Coltrane, Dolphy and Sanders. Today, she cites players such as Illinois Jacquet and Lester Young in the same breath as the masters of the avant-garde, and her playing marries the directness and eloquence of the older generation with the questing, spiritualised playing epitomised by Coltrane. The roster of musicians she has played with is long, and includes veteran European avant-gardists including Joachim and Rolf Kühn, Wolfgang Reisinger and Thomas Heidepriem, and she works tirelessly with contemporary groups and big bands across the continent.
Since her first recordings in the early 2000s, Grossmann has released a dozen albums as leader, featuring sounds ranging from hard-swinging modernist jams to free improvisation, expansive spiritual work to rhythm-focussed Afrocentrism. But at the centre of her work is a thread of pure and heartfelt spiritual music in the modal tradition defined by Coltrane and close collaborators like Pharoah Sanders and Alice Coltrane. You can't play this music successfully if you don't mean it – like the music of her contemporary Nat Birchall, Grossmann's engagement with the Coltrane tradition is sincere and deep. Her music resonates within the tradition – more than just a style, it adds a new chapter to the story of modal and spiritual jazz in Europe.
This Jazzman set draws a selection from her 2016 album Natural Time ('Your Pace', 'Peace For All') and from 2017's Momentum ('Elevation', 'Chant' and 'Rising'). Featuring her regular quartet of Radomir Milojkovic (guitar) Uros Stamenkovic (drums) and Gina Schwarz (bass), the music on Elevation is pure sound, soul and spirit!