Anyone familiar with Tibetan Buddhism will know that once their spiritual leader or Dalai Lama dies, officials set off in search of his reincarnation, interviewing and examining potential postulants. Listening to Quiet Earth by Austrian saxophonist Muriel Grossmann one cannot help but ask if she might be the reincarnation or avatar of the late John Coltrane. Certainly that is one heavy label to place upon Grossmann but, a few minutes into the opener "Wien," and there is little doubt this artist has the proper bona fides. The composition carries that A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1965) vibe with a reverence for the ethereal. She is backed by her longtime collaborators, guitarist Radomir Milojkovic, bassist Gina Schwarz, and drummer Uros Stamenkovic, plus organist Llorenc Barcelo who came aboard for the previous release Reverence (2019). Both recordings are available as CDs from Dreamlandrecords or as 200 gram LPs from RR GEMS. "Wien" doesn't parrot that Coltrane masterpiece, it expands upon the concept with Barceló's organ pointing towards the spiritual jazz of Larry Young, and Milojkovic's guitar chewing on some Delta blues.
Like every succession of the Dalai Lama, Grossmann's music carries not just the previous incarnation but also its lineage. "African Call" travels back to the roots of jazz to its motherland, Stamenkovic and Schwarz laying down the rhythms that fuelled the birth of blues, jazz, and rock. If one need more proof of Grossmann's incarnation, "Peaceful River" first finds her on soprano before swapping to tenor saxophone, as its Gospel blues expands into a kind of awakened devotional music where Stamenkovic works his ride cymbal very much in the manner of Elvin Jones. The title track opens with Grossmann drawing first from Ornette Coleman's sound before returning to the Coltrane spirit with her soprano saxophone. Her quartet blossoms with sleek solos by Milojkovic and Barceló before a brief saxophone, bass and drums improvisation acts as a kind of coming attractions preview.
Title: Quiet Earth
| Year Released: 2020
| Record Label: RR Gems/Dreamlandrecords
FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.