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Swiss, New York-based tenor sax player-vocalist María Kim Grand conceived «Reciprocity», her third album as a bandleader, while she was pregnant with her son, Ayní, Her son danced, jumped and kicked in her womb while she was touring. This emotional, even spiritual and obviously physical and dramatic experience made Grand a «pure presence, a yelling animal, and the Portal of the universe all at the same time». She, as she says, traveled to a different dimension and returned with a new soul, and her songs for the new album were inspired by the Tree of Life and «the ineffable joy of being gestated by my son».

Grand leads an all-female trio – double bass player Kanoa Mendenhall and drummer Savannah Harris, and all are adding vocals to their main instruments. «Reciprocity» was recorded at Samurai Hotel Recordings Studio in February 2020, when Grand was into the sixth month of her pregnancy. As can be expected, the atmosphere of this album stresses optimist and joyful harmony and existential, revenant humility. Mendenhall and Harris are perfect partners. Both know when to propel Grand’s contemplative and serene post-bop flights with nuanced rhythmic patterns and when to abstract her ideas into a playful and propulsive groove.

«Reciprocity», true to its title, speaks not only about the strong bond between Grand and her newborn, but also about the deep, kinetic affinity with Mendenhall and Harris. It offers two main compositions – the six-parts «Creation» and the shorter, two-parts kind of a hymn meets a joyful dance, «Fundamental», both are charged with mysterious yet compassionate aroma. The song «Canto Manta» was composed by Venezuelan singer Jesús Hidalgo, an activist for the rights of our mother nature, fitting into the inclusive Tree of Life vision of «Reciprocity».

Grand is a natural leader, with a strong voice of her own, flowing with melodic and engaging ideas and her own way of telling a story, always with sheer elegance and grace.

Eyal Hareuveni

María Grand (ts, v), Kanoa Mendenhall (b, v), Savannah Harris (dr, v)

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