I'm late to Muriel Grossmann, only discovering the saxophonist-composer's earlier albums far too late for a topical review but pretty much liking what I could meaningfully glean. My first thoughts turning to Quiet Earth, which is very much part of an ongoing artistic mission by the saxist, are that if you like Manchester saxophonist Nat Birchall you'll probably immediately get this Austrian as she compares favourably. Both fine players swim in the same spiritual, Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, waters and know how to conjure a world that is far bigger than themselves.
Quiet Earth was recorded in Ibiza and with Grossmann are guitarist Radomir Milojkovic, organist Llorenç Barceló, bassist Gina Schwarz and drummer Uros Stamenkovic. The guitar flavours are typically delta bluesy in flavour and can on opener 'Wien' divert away from the core sound. There is room for lots of deviation because the organ solo is more mainstream than what you might expect and bumps along agreeably enough.
Grossmann has a very strong communicative sound and the clarion call of her initial statements on 'African Call' are positive and stirring. Tunes are by Grossmann and they make sense. 'Peaceful River''s altered tuning is a good contrast and shifts harboured assumptions as to possible direction completely away into another space. The album is particularly good at putting up roadblocks to prevent any tendency towards second-guessing.
The title track sequenced last has a cymbal-coloured beginning and again an altered tonal saltiness to it when the sax enters, the Grossmann lead more experimental and rudimental and this is where the saxist is at her most interesting and inspiring. Overall a persuasive approach and a record worth getting to know straight away especially if you are a committed Coltranian and yearn to hear a contemporary and imaginative treatment of the building blocks that derive from that world shattering creativeness. SG