Release: November 3, 2023
The UK’s jazz scene is an internationally-renowned melting pot of cultures and one that Athens-born pianist Maria Grapsa has firmly established herself in. Bringing together an all-star cast of the country’s rising stars including saxophone phenomenon Emma Rawicz, she presents her debut album ‘Life’ (November 3rd, Musical Dojo Records).
Merging a deep affinity for the modern jazz tradition with a classical background, Greek roots and folk, middle eastern and latin influences, she refined her distinctive compositional style at the UK’s prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Birmingham. With her writing in the spotlight, she empowers each member of her ensemble to improvise and explore their way through to new musical discoveries.
Aptly named ‘Life’, the pianist’s debut reflects on her personal journey to date; in particular the early years. A scrapbook of memories reinforced by the photo (Maria’s sister circa 1985) on the album cover, her young nephew chatting on one track, and glimpses of long-forgotten folksongs. A colourful journey which took her, via a masters degree in environmental engineering, to the decision to immerse herself totally into the world of music.
With a wealth of experience at leading venues as part of award-winning UK ensembles including Tomorrow’s Warriors Female Frontline, COLECTIVA and NU Civilisation Orchestra, as well as artists such as Jelly Cleaver and ESKA, ‘Life’ provides the perfect platform for Grapsa’s music to take centre stage.
The sextet’s sound is highly dynamic, moving from pin drop/knife’s edge individual spotlights and emotionally charged balladic melodies, to the untamed energy of burning saxophone solos over a roaring rhythm section. The introspective lyricism of vocalist Becca Wilkins and thoughtful arrangements help create a welcoming, intimate space for the listener to hear Maria’s stories and reflect on their own experiences..
Her compositional work has already been championed by the likes of Jamie Cullum, Jamz Supernova (BBC 6), Jazz FM’s Chris Phillips and Toshio Matsuura of Worldwide FM; a new collection of touching and intricate pieces are about to be discovered!
Maria Grapsa | Piano, compositions
Becca Wilkins | Vocals
Matthew Kilner | Tenor Saxophone
Liam Brennan | Alto Saxophone
Kai Chareunsy | Drums
Tommy Fuller | Double Bass
Emma Rawicz | Tenor Saxophone (track 7)
Tom Pountney | Guitar (track 9)
Torin Davies | Guitar (track 9)
The Fundamental Difference
Nothing Is Static
Palace On The Hill
Floating In A Hundred Colours Sea
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