Richard Grossman

Even Your Ears

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As evidenced on these, Grossman's final recordings, at the end he had created a world so far outside even free jazz, there was only his imagination to rein him in. It is not that the jazz idiom is no longer present in his music -- there are traces both melodically and harmonically of Ellington and Monk and Herbie Nichols -- but they are only a fragment of Grossman's total musical world. That universe is a multi-dimensional non-construct of microtonal complexity, deviant harmony, rhythmic invention, and an anti-lyricism that is nonetheless beautiful and haunting. Grossman's compositions were all immediate, and as they were created in both solo and the various group environments (there are duos and trios as well as solos here), it makes no sense to make distinctions between them. Suffice to say that on Even Your Ears, Grossman had reached such a peak of musical awareness that musical forms, such as they exist in categorization, had literally ceased to exist. And Grossman's playing has no anger or cerebralism in it; it's from pure feeling and is concerned only with "making art out of it." In the six pieces here, one encounters a world that is so far outside one's own, but that one is nonetheless welcomed into with open arms if only one's ears will hear.

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