Morpheus — Restless Dreams
(Garden of Delights 183, 2017, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-04-23
Who would have thought after all these years, but the band, which essentially began life as Opossum in 1971, is still alive and kicking (and I mean kicking!) today some 45+ years later. Opossum was a six-piece from Warburg who recorded an excellent set Bears Banquet in 1974 which never daw releae until the Garden of Delights CD in 2003. Even at this early stage they were a masterful group of musicians mining the jazz-rock idiom. Opossum split, but four of its members eventually came back together to form Morpheus: bassist and flutist Peter Blömeke (who hd played in Mythos in the interim), drummer Alfred Franke, Gerald Adler on guitar and Heinrich Holtgreve on alto saxophone, and wasted no time recording their first self-released LP Rabenteur in 1976. The band split in 1977 to pursue different interests, Franke and Holtgreve moved away, but they remained musically active. The band reunited in 2001, with Colombian drummer Alvaro “Chevere” Tarquino (who had played with Paco De Lucia, among others) replacing Franke who opted out due to the distance, and recorded a new album For A Second, released in 2002, with Adler composing most of the pieces. The band has remained active in all the years since, initially recording a couple live-in-the-studio download releases Life Takes Its Toll and Life Takes Another Toll, then following that up with the instrumental studio album at hand, Restless Dreams. Opening with “Charming Faces,” a slower piece with a grand melodic stance, they quickly move to the fifteen-plus minute epic “Too Much of (Anything Goes)” which grooves along at a faster pace, with many detours and sidetracks along the way. One might be reminded of Kraan during their Andy Nogger period, given the swinging funky jazz groove with leading sax, in fact that comparison might be noted on several of the other eight tracks here as well. Other points of reference might be Aera or even Missus Beastly, but with a very updated perspective. “Breitmaulfrosch’s Return” dials up the funk a few notches while an angular lead melody and soe great improvisation propel the piece forward over its ten minute duration. With “Coco Tree” the band brings in guest sax player Dennis Knitterscheidt for a another powerful romp in solid fusion territory. All taken, this is an outstanding release, a must have for any fans of funky melodic jazz-rock.
Related artist(s): Morpheus
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