Track By Track Guide: Maria Grapsa Sextet – Life

Our ‘Track By Track’ guide sheds light on the stories behind some of our favourite artists’ music.

Athens-born London based jazz pianist Maria Graspa recently unveiled her debut album, Life. This brilliant debut offering unites a remarkable ensemble of some the UK’s talented up-and-coming artists.

Twistedsoul fave Emma Rawicz excites with her mesmerising saxophone skills, as does the captivating vocal prowess of Becca Wilkins, and the soulful melodies created by Matthew Kilner on tenor sax. Joining them on this incredible journey are Kai Chareunsy on drums, Torin Davies on guitar, and many more exceptional players.

Across the album’s nine songs, Graspa combines a deep appreciation for the contemporary jazz tradition with a strong foundation in classical music, Greek roots, and elements of folk, middle eastern, and Latin influences, this melting pot is an incredible fusion of musical styles and cultures. It’s a sound that is both diverse and harmonious.

Aptly named ‘Life’, the album as the press release explains “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.”

Get your hands on he CD complete with artwork by Tusks Media with lyrics/liner notes booklet here. For those who prefer to stream, we’ve got you covered below. And while you listen – read the exclusive track-by-track breakdown by the wonderful Maria Grapsa.

The Fundamental Difference

Artists constantly bin our work well before its aired; self critique is a tight tope we tread; sometimes slip. I’ve been writing for a long time; this is the first piece I’d had the courage to share with the wider world. Once, whilst playing it a friend walked in the room and expressed that it moved them. It motivated me to keep the piece, develop it and finish it.

…We had a conversation that day “how much consideration of how others will perceive the music we write is correct to maintain?”… Care too much, you might find yourself afraid of what other people might think and become stuck. This can be applied to artistic and everyday endeavours, many people can relate to this feeling at times. So there you go, the long title of the piece would be: “The fundamental difference between caring and not caring about what other people will say about you”. My advice is write, paint and share without caring too much.

Nothing is Static

Years back, practicing on my Grandma’s piano, this piece was conceived. Over time, the harmony has been built and rebuilt around the same melody; the bridge constructed and deconstructed, blown up and regrown through many returning visits through it. Each time I sat down it took a new path as I was developing musically. Hence the title. As with life, the story is ever unfolding. Inspiration for the title is of course, from “Ta Panta Rhei” (Everything Flows) of Heraclitus’s theory of flux (you cannot step into the same river twice). 

Palace on the Hill

Remember the pure and innocent love that young friends (kids) have for one another? Those walks that you take in the summertime with your best friend and you both buy an ice-cream and you stare at the sea view or at the boats in the harbour. This romantic nostalgia was the driving force behind this piece. Becca penned beautiful lyrics for the music from her perspective; they resonated with the feeling I’d composed on.

Different landscape – same view.

Almost already

A study on time and our relationship with it. For some of us a more difficult relationship than others. Managing ones time in everyday life. When you want to finish a tune- that ‘ticking’ feeling is always present and pressurising. This was the case here: When you’re almost done but never there already


Back home, Far from where we are now… How the years go by; how we go by. Wherever we were, childhood was another lifetime. 

Sometimes, when words are not enough, only music or poetry can describe some feelings:


moments became aeons

at distance recollecting

early dreams in flight

what was a child 

pages turning 

Floating in a Hundred Colours Sea

This is about the serenity of sailing, Metaphorically sailing through life – some days just flow. The sax harmonies grew to sound like waves or an accordion breathing.


The result of a health scare I had to face some time back. You realise what’s important to you. And slap yourself over small issues that created stress or negativity. They vanish with a bigger perspective about life. I miss that perspective already- it’s all to easy to forget.

Circus Lane

My mind’s eye was on a high mountain peak. I began by singing the melody and played around some voicings on the piano. Immediately a tune appeared that was destined to be void of rhythm section as if there was no ground to this sky. Becca’s beautiful words on the music captured the feeling as always. It’s currently one of my favourites.

Anna Back

Back to playing post covid, I had a great urge to summon a new tune and run it with the band. It had been so long since any of us had been in the same room or played with ANYONE. Getting back felt unreal- playing connecting with people through music- such a unique feeling. Anna jumped in the title later on; one of my best friends she gave me wise advice and lots of encouragement on finalising this piece – Thank you!

CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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