Exposé Online banner

Opossum — Bear's Banquet
(Garden of Delights CD 086, 1974/2003, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2005-09-01

Bear's Banquet Cover art

Opossum is another of Garden of Delights’ wonderful finds. The band was a precursor to Morpheus, and never actually released any recordings during their existence (1971-75), though these remarkably clean tapes from a 1974 session were resurrected and prepared for the digital age by guitarist Gerold Adler. The band was founded by Peter Blömeke (flute, drums, synth), Karl-Heinz Cornelius (bass), and Heinrich Holtgreve (sax, clarinet) and eventually expanded to a six-piece with the addition of Adler, Alfred Franke (drums) and Robert Binnewies (keyboards). Their style encompassed the kind of electric improv pioneered by Soft Machine in the Third to Seven era, a comparison strengthened by the prominence of electric piano and sax. The band is elevated from mere Soft Machination by the use of flute and Adler’s guitar, which fits in nicely and does not dominate even though he is listed as composer on most tracks. In addition, the compositions are less riff-based than typical Soft Machine. The quality of the playing, especially the soloing, is very high, and it’s a tragedy the band never managed to get this recording released in its time frame. Of all the German bands playing improvisational jazz-rock in the 70s, Opossum could have taken a place near the top. I find the adventurous spirit of the music refreshing in today’s climate of safe, backward-looking jazz, and super-technical over-arranged fusion. Some brief moments of almost-corny samba are the only missteps in the set, and those are easily overlooked.


Filed under: Archives, Issue 32, 2003 releases, 1974 recordings

Related artist(s): Opossum

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tim Berne - Science Friction – The current direction of modern saxophone icon Tim Berne began in 2002 with this eight piece CD featuring his world class multi-talented quartet. Studio versions of “Huevos,” and “Manatee...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues