Muriel Grossman

December is an abyss for releases. With a race to wrap up the year before it officially ends, list season is a beast and burden for those whose records have pushed into the twelfth month. So it would seem that even the promotional push of Jack White’s haven at Third Man couldn’t float the flag higher on this excellent release from Muriel Grossman. Following up on her beloved 2022 release Universal Code, Devotion finds Grossman sliding into her fourteenth release with a confidence and a slightly shuffled band behind her. Returning from the ranks of its predecessor are Radomir Milojkovic on guitar and Uros Stamenkovic on drums, but making a heavy mark on the album is Abel Boquera on Hammond B3 organ. Grossman picks up multiple duties throughout Devotion, lending tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, flute, percussion, tambura, upright bass, kalimba, and harmonium.

The album doesn’t shy away from breadth and scope, pushing songs even further into the ether than Universal Code. Opening with the 21+ minute monster “Absolute Truth,” the band sets expectations for what’s to come over three more sides of spiritual jazz and deeply grooved fusion. It’s easy to get lost in Boquera’s runs on the opener, giving a lightly proggy counterpoint to Grossman’s sax heft. Darkness threads through the smoked-glass lines of “Calm” while “Knowledge and Wisdom” embraces the album’s themes of clarity through meditation. Several cuts showcase the nimble guitar work of Milojkovic, winding his sections around the listener’s head in phone cord curlicues. At this point in her career Grossman could easily sit back on her reputation, which makes Devotion hit that much harder. The record finds her constantly pushing the band’s sound, letting the listener careen over four sides of slippery sonics that rank among her best.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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