More beautiful surprises sent thanks to our friends at Jazzfuel, this time featuring the up-and-coming generation of young English musicians, with pianist and composer Maria Grapsa, originally from Greece but now living in England. As we are always excited about new discoveries at Bayou Blue Radio, we always start with multiple listens to an album that we will review and/or broadcast on our radio. The first listen was done with a less attentive ear, intentionally while doing something else. The second was a genuine, in-depth listen—this is when I let myself be inspired when the music is of this caliber. It’s not very difficult, I admit. Then, the third listen, while writing this review.
I mention all this because from the first listen, I smiled, thinking, ‘Ah! Beautiful music.’ And as the album progressed, I focused on how the instruments are arranged in the tracks, exactly what Joe Zawinul or Wayne Shorter would have done. Just like in the music of these two undisputed geniuses, there are the same ingredients of folklore, world music, and so-called ‘classical’ music. Being European, as I’ve already mentioned, Maria started her musical studies with these elements, even though there are now jazz branches in music conservatories.
This live album is above all an album that touches you with its poetic form, its sense of beauty—beautiful in the sublime voices that appear on some tracks, beautiful in the composition of the tracks, beautiful in the quality of the instrumentalists’ play. Despite being young, they know how to listen to each other and give to others. There’s beauty in their unique originality, their way of thinking about music, bringing a form of refreshment. Definitely, the English jazz scene has known how to renew itself for a decade, moving forward into various universes—who would complain? There’s something timeless and magical in the voice of singer Becca Wilkins; she’s undoubtedly an artist to follow. Even though we make no distinction between male and female artists, we are happy whenever one of them shows us their art. In a different style, of course, Maria Grapsa reminds me of Céline Bonacina at the beginning of her career. There’s the same search for energy, rhythms, and vocal work. The music and styles are very different, but the passion is certainly the same.
Throughout this album ‘Life,’ poetry sets in, taking different forms, like scenes on a cinema screen—slices of life unfold, atmospheres from here or elsewhere, from the most structured to the simplest music, or at least it appears so, because the arrangements are breathtakingly beautiful. A track like ‘Childhood’ is a vivid example. Maria Grapsa, whom we are proud to present to you in a few days on Bayou Blue Radio through her album ‘Life,’ has convinced both the Paris-Move and Bayou Blue Radio editorial teams. So, you won’t be surprised to find the live album in our ‘Essentials.'”
PARIS-MOVE, November 22nd 2023