Maria's Intriguing Debut
Bruce Von Stiers
Some people in their mid-twenties don't have a particular direction they are going or a specific vocation in mind. That is not so for one young saxophonist. Maria Grand was born in Switzerland in 1992 but came to New York in 2011. There Maria came under the guidance of top jazz talents Bill Harper and Antoine Roney. Maria has led her own group, DiaTribe, which has had gigs at venues such as The Jazz Gallery, Shapeshifter Lab and the AMR Jazz Club. As a sideman, Maria has toured with Steve Coleman and the Doug Hammond Quintet. She has also performed with Roman Filiu. To top all of that off, Maria gives private lessons and has co-led a seminar on jazz at Lincoln Center. Not too shabby for a twenty-five year old.
At the beginning of 2017, Maria released her debut album. The album is titled TetraWind. Maria calls the album a representation of a path she took for reconnecting with nature and herself after some polarizing life situations.
Technically, TetraWind is an EP. It has four songs and a playing time of twenty-three minutes. Sam Jackson produced the album. It was recorded by Quinn McCarthy and mastered by Chuck Zwicky, who has worked on albums by Soul Asylum, Stacy Orrico and others. Maria composed all of the songs.
Maria played the tenor sax on the songs and did vocals on three of them. Roman Filiu was on alto sax for three of the songs and flute on the other. Dave Bryant provided the keyboard music. Rashaan Carter was on electric bass and Craig Weinrib was on drums. Dave was a member of Ornette Coleman's Prime Time group and has recorded his own albums, including one that featured top jazz drummer Eric Rosenthal. Rashaan has played on albums by Wallace Roney and the Marc Curry Focus Trio. Craig has worked with Ravi Coltrane and sometimes plays in Roman Filiu's Quarteria.
The songs on TetraWind combine eclectic music with vocals. The music is what some people call experimental and is definitely interesting.
In writing about the concept for the songs, Maria stated that they were four distinct paths that took in astrological directional nodes as well as directions gleaned from ancient Egyptian culture. Hence the song titles and focus of each one.
East (Land of the Living) is the song that starts things out. There is some cool flute in the song along with fluid sax. There is some tight drum and bass in the background as well.
North (Self:Real.Power) is up next. Maria begins the song with some lilting vocals. Then she moves into a solid sax block with subtle bass and drums backing her.
West (Sun Shut) is the third song. Maria has some electronic altering of her voice as the intro to the song. There is some nice sax and bass that set the tone for the song.
Tough bass can be found in South (Quantum). That is fronted by sax that was more of a traditional style of jazz. Later in the song there is cool keyboard music. At the end of the song, Maria speaks about racism and people who are minimalized. As she stated in her description of the song, it was intended to be political.
As I wrote earlier, TetraWind is definitely interesting. There are elements of traditional jazz styling mixed with a more modern, experimental sound. Maria brings forth a melding of mysticism and raw emotional healing in her compositions. That makes for a very intriguing listening experience.
You can purchase a copy of TetraWind at Maria's Bandc amp page at https://mariagrand.bandcamp.com/
If you want to find out more about Maria Grand, visit her official web site at https://www.mariakimgrand.com/
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© 2017 Bruce E Von Stiers