more from
Biophilia Records

Magdalena

by María Grand

supported by
Tudor
Tudor thumbnail
Tudor Beautiful poetic, inspired, musical, dramatic, melancholic - always interesting... a wonderful new album from a great new composer and bandleader.
Eric Mulkey
Eric Mulkey thumbnail
Eric Mulkey A journey through this album is an emotional voyage through stories brimming with symbolism and narrative drama. Grand’s artistic genius is rivaled only by her technical prowess as a singer and saxophonist, while her exceptionally talented fellow artists weave a robust and original aesthetic to the composition. If you like to be challenged by a piece of music, this work will have you sitting at home many evenings over, peeling back layer after layer of meaning as you dust off the pages of your Joseph Campbell books.
Bob Ross
Bob Ross thumbnail
Bob Ross Because Maria is so Grand!
Favorite track: TII: María.
more...
/
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $15 USD  or more

     

  • VIDEO: smarturl.it/biopholiovideo01
    (English, Español, 日本語, Français, Deutsche, Nederlands)

    The Biopholio™ is a two-sided, 20-panel origami-inspired medium, bursting with vibrant artwork and liner notes; each one made entirely out of FSC-certified, robust paper, hand-folded and printed using plant-based inks. There is no Compact Disk (CD) or plastic in this product.

    Found inside each Biopholio™ is a unique code for the listener to digitally download the music in hers/his preferred format (high CD-quality, uncompressed WAV files, et cetera...)

    This innovative design caters to the environmentally-conscious listener, who is aware of the harmful effects of plastic in the environment, yet feels that a digital download is just not enough. With your purchase, you are supporting the future of this music and the artists who create it with the added bonus of receiving a tangible piece of original album artwork that you can proudly cherish for years to come.

    Artwork & design by Zora Oberhänsli.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Magdalena via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ... more
    ships out within 6 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $20 USD or more 

     

1.
01:59
2.
3.
04:29
4.
06:14
5.
6.
02:23
7.
8.
05:31
9.
04:15
10.
02:23
11.

about

Following up her 2017 debut EP Tetrawind (“kinetic and abstract … intuitive and confident,” jazzweekly.com), tenor saxophonist, composer and vocalist María Grand returns with her full-length debut Magdalena from the innovative Biophilia Records. Her guiding intent is to explore modern family relationships through the lens of Egyptian and early Christian myths, connecting them to the pioneering work of family therapist Virginia Satir. Proceeding from the conviction that “healing families heals humanity,” Grand conceives a set of music within “a feminine non-hierarchical power structure,” she explains. “This means that the traditional form of solos is exploded into a more collective conversation.”

In the mercurial, asymmetric rhythms and flowing dialogue of Grand and her core trio with bassist Rashaan Carter and drummer Jeremy Dutton, we hear the musical analogue of two parents and a child. This trio dynamic is manifest most clearly on “TI. Isis,” “TII. María” and “TIII. Magdalena,” each constructed around a particular triad and inspired by three mythical women who serve “as examples of a woman’s power,” Grand says. These pieces also contain layers of symbolism: on “TI. Isis,” as Grand states in the liner notes, “The melody has every note that exists in a chromatic scale except for one, the piece that Isis didn’t find after Osiris died.”

The guests appearing on Magdalena serve to vary the sound and the relational dynamic, “providing more complex domestic structures to the music,” Grand offers. Pianist David Bryant, who played a brilliant role on Tetrawind, lends bracing and mysterious harmonic aspects to five tracks. On the duet piece “Imani/Walk by,” inspired by vocalist and composer Imani Uzuri, we hear from pianist and Biophilia founder/director Fabian Almazan, who interprets the song with gradually increasing adventurism. We also hear Grand stepping away from the saxophone to sing. “I’ve always written songs with lyrics,” she says, “and I don’t see that as fundamentally different from the instrumental music. For me it’s about balance: it’s a more vulnerable and fragile part of my expression.”

Grand’s cool legato voice surfaces again on two duets with acclaimed guitarist Mary Halvorson, playing acoustic with otherworldly effects (“I don’t know her secrets,” Grand says with a laugh). The two met while teaching at Karl Berger’s Creative Music Studio and formed a close friendship. “She came in and did exactly what I love,” Grand enthuses. “I love the tones that she got. She’s a great accompanist, she doesn’t overplay. The harmony was specific because there’s all these weird clashes that I wanted, and in Mary’s choice of voicings she found ways to highlight those clashes.”

Grand’s compositional methods tend to mirror the often very personal meanings of the songs themselves. “Workshop,” with its heightened tension and release, is the most directly inspired by Virginia Satir’s model of the family therapy workshop or “family constellation.” In this experience, Grand explains in the notes, “tension builds when people release deep trauma into the world. The pain that was hidden makes its way to the surface and is finally recognized.”

“Where Is E,” a reflection on Grand’s estranged sister Eleanora, is more personal still: “In the intro the piano and saxophone are together, and then eventually they separate. The whole thing is about looking for her, so we go through every triad and see if we can find her. It’s kind of like going through the whole phone book. I wrote the song hoping it would move the energy so that then I would actually meet her.”

“La Inmortal” and “Ejes y deseos” serve as narrated opening and closing statements, the former with the poetic recitation of vocalist Jasmine Wilson, the latter with the rap vocal of Amani Fela. Grand wrote the words herself but wanted to incorporate other voices to bring them to life. “I recited a poem on Tetrawind,” Grand recalls, “but on ‘La Inmortal’ I wanted someone with unaccented English, and it was important to me to have another woman on the album. On the closing track, which is in 11, Amani got it right away. If he hears a rhythm he understands what it is. He sang on my 2017 Jazz Gallery commission ‘Embracements’ and was just incredible.”

Born in Switzerland in 1992 to a Swiss mother and Argentinian father, Grand moved to New York in 2011 and became a mentee of greats such as Billy Harper, Antoine Roney, Von Freeman, Doug Hammond and Steve Coleman. She has appeared on Coleman’s Synovial Joints and Morphogenesis, worked extensively with such colleagues as Rajna Swaminathan and Roman Filiu, and grown increasingly active as an educator. Incorporating aspects of dance and performance art into her recent work, Grand seeks to explore modern mythical stories in fresh and compelling ways, as she states in her liner notes: “A revamped mythology to fit us, to fit who we are today, to connect the ancient and the future as expressed in the present moment.”

credits

released May 11, 2018

María Grand, tenor saxophone; Jasmine Wilson, spoken word; Amani Fela, spoken word; Mary Halvorson, electric guitar; David Bryant, piano; Fabian Almazan, piano; Rashaan Carter, acoustic bass; Jeremy Dutton, drums

Album was recorded at Douglass Street Recording and HarvestWorks in New York City on January 2-3 2018. Produced by Sam Jackson. Engineered by Peter Karl and Kevin Ramsay. Mixed by Chuck Zwicky. Mastered by Aaron Spencer.

license

all rights reserved

tags

about

María Grand New York, New York

María Grand is a saxophonist, composer, and educator currently based in NYC.

contact / help

Contact María Grand

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Track Name: La Inmortal
stories of ancient times
a little girl walks by
into
a wild peaceful land
she wears a crown
and is adorned
by signs of Hathor
around her
is the open sky
in an open land
she’s the heiress
under her feet
rivers grow
she stands in the middle of a sea
she creates an ocean as she grows
her breasts nourish a hundred children
as she becomes a woman
through her womb
all the animals are formed
and they come out moist
and filled with life
and all the animals
drink milk
from her breasts
as she nourishes them
with food
and life

her foot steps
in solitude
Track Name: Imani / Walk By
Walk by the sea
You know how I feel
Walk by the sea
She knows what I feel
Bury the past
The harrowing feelings
Can never last

You know what I mean
You know who I mean
And throughout the days
He’d throw me away

You know what I mean
You know what I mean
I mean, that when you walk alone
You aren’t really all alone
I mean that when you walk away
You aren’t really all alone
I mean, that when you feel alone
You’re part of all that’s ever known
I mean that, when you walk alone
You’re part of all who’ve ever grown
Track Name: Last Year
I feel
your lips and tears
on my lips
oh you are such a child
pretty soul
oh you can tell how sad
I am for hurting you
there is
no thing that I can do now
to make you love me
the same
as what
you did
before all this
and before all this stuff
went wrong
last year
_
I owe you an explanation
for all of my behaviors
and strange things I did
_
I wanted to run
and to be strong for you
but I was strong
only in the walls
I put between us

only in the walls
I put between us
Track Name: Sing Unborn
still from the sky
she reaches for
me_
her daughter
while my unborn child
watches
wise child
you came here
sleeping through my womb
you came here
seeping through my
being
oh my unborn child
oh my unborn child
I love you
no matter where you came from
I love you
no matter who you came from
I love you

If you like María Grand, you may also like: