Muriel Grossmann and All That Jazz
By Jerry Brownstein
Some years ago I was sitting with friends outside of a café in Ibiza, when suddenly the sweet sounds of music from within transported me back to the jazz clubs of my native New York. “Who is that?” I asked, and my friends said, “It’s Muriel, isn’t she wonderful!” Yes… she certainly is. Muriel Grossmann has been bringing beautiful music to our island since 2004, and it gets better every year. Born in Paris and raised in Vienna, she says that music has been her steady companion almost since birth. Her parents took her to concerts from early childhood, and her personal world of music began when they gave her a flute at age five. The sound left her “in a state of wonder” and it opened up a whole new world of creativity. In time she graduated from the flute, and found her true musical identity in the rich and powerful tones of the alto saxophone. Playing the sax kindled Muriel’s love affair with jazz: “I was fascinated by how it sounded, its melodies, rhythms, harmonies and styles.
The interactions and dynamics in the group; the phrasing of the different instruments, the directness of the music and the constant presence of the blues.” She began playing with several bands and it was a great experience for a young artist to be playing clubs and concerts while also touring and recording. But after a while she yearned for life in a better climate that was close to the sea, so she moved to Barcelona in 2002. She immediately started playing with local bands, and on one of the gigs she met a guitar player named Radomir Milojkovic. It was a musical match made in heaven. Their visions and feelings for music were completely in synch, so working together was inspirational for both of them.
It turned out to be a partnership that has grown and endured to this day.
Muriel played the summer seasons in Ibiza, and became entranced by the magic of our special island - the nature, the light and the multi-cultural ambiance. She felt that Ibiza was the place where she could settle down, start a family, find regular work and have the freedom to create new music in the tranquility of the winters. In 2004 she made the move, and two years later invited Radomir to the Island so that they could continue their musical quest together. They mostly played as a duo but expanded to a quartet for some gigs and for recording. They recorded three albums with their first quartet, and then in 2011 formed another group that played at Ibiza’s annual jazz festival “Eivissa Jazz”. That set was released as the record ‘Awakening’ in 2013, and the experience encouraged Muriel to compose more rhythmic jazz with American blues and gospel influences. “Muriel is passionate about her music and its influence on her life”In 2016, drummer Uros Stamen-kovic, and bass-woman Gina Schwarz joined Muriel and Radomir for a new quartet that plays in a style that some call “spiritual jazz”.
It’s groove-oriented music that is influenced by traditions from around the world. Together they created three albums, culminating in 2018 with ‘Golden Rule’ which was named Best Jazz Record of the Year by the British magazine UK Vibe. That album really clicked with their growing audience, and the next step was to widen the range of the music by adding the rich sounds of the Hammond Organ played by Llorenç Barcelo. This expanded quintet has recorded ‘Reverence’ (2019) and ‘Quiet Earth’ (2020) plus a new album entitled ‘Union’ which comes out in May 2021. Composing and recording albums is very gratifying, but Muriel and Radomir are busy performing artists most of the year, with the talent to entertain in various styles and locales.
They play classic jazz for private parties, hotels, art shows and exquisite restaurants like Giuseppe Cipriani’s Downtown Ibiza, where they have been featured every year since 2012. Their depth of talent allows them to form different bands to fit diverse audiences. Soul Jazz Explosion plays dance music for parties and events in a style that ranges from soul to jazz to gospel. MG & The Hollers rocks the house with Funky Rhythm and Blues, and their octet called Ibiza Jazz Essence plays at swing festivals and swing parties.
In addition to all of that, Muriel and Radomir also play in the Big Band Ciutat d’Eivissa with three concerts a year plus a set at the famous Eivissa Jazz - a festival that will celebrate its 33rd edition in 2021. In 2020 Muriel helped to organize the new Jazz Point Ibiza festival, where she and Radomir performed with numerous American and international jazz greats.
She is very much looking forward to the second edition of this event which will probably take place in the fall of 2021.
Muriel is passionate about her music and its influence on her life. “I have learned that it’s important to pursue your inner vision of what you want to play… to stay true to yourself. It is a never-ending road of self discovery, and the process itself will show you the path that opens the way.” As her art continues to unfold her enchantment with Ibiza remains undimmed: “Over the years I have seen the same love for the island in the eyes of the people who live here and those that pass through. It is of course ever-changing, as is everything in life, but Ibiza is still a great place to be creative and feel well.”