Morpheus - For A Second

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Garden Of Delights
Catalog Number: CD 068
Format: CD
Total Time: 60:30:00

This is great stuff and very much unlike what you would expect to hear on the Garden Of Delights label, based on the number of German psych bands the label has reissued in the past. Though the GoD catalog is so deep, and I've not heard it all, maybe there are other non-typical releases in there to. Let's just say then that this is great stuff and very much unlike what I have heard so far from GoD.

Morpheus are a quartet who released their first album, Rabenteuer, in 1976 and their second, For A Second in 2002, 26 years later. What you get on For A Second is instrumental progressive jazz played musicians who truly know what they are doing. What you get on this release are terrific performances and compositions, all wrapped up in terrific production. Even as you dig the music, you marvel at the talent this quartet has. The geniuses behind this release are: Gerold Adler on guitar, Heinrich Holtgreve on alto sax, Alvaro "Chevere" Tarquino on drums, and Peter Blömeke on bass.

If you like funky-jazz rock that is not quite fusion though has some fusiony elements, incorporates guitar-synth and sax, all in a sassy brassy funky and fun mix then you'll like this offering from Morpheus. It's hot, it's cool, it's hip (and never square), it's terrific. Oh, and there are at times a bit of a country twang to the music that gives those pieces a sense of fun, of playfulness. Though I would call the music on For A Second modern jazz it isn't "smooth jazz." Oh the music itself goes down smoothly, even when it's heavy, meaty, and funky as on "May Day Bay," one my favourite pieces. Here we get a steady bass and drum throb while sax sings all over it, with various guitar-synth effects adding a bit of a spacey feel.

And the longest piece on the album, the nearly 22-minute "Cuzzle Puzzle Suite," begins as a very moody piece that recalls some of the hip 60s music used in movies like the James Bond movies of the period. And yet there isn't anything really dated about it. Guitar-synth effects give it an aquatic feel, while bass adds a sexy slinkiness. It becomes less and less abstract as the piece progresses, Adler really spreading out at the 5-plus minute mark. It becomes also a showcase for Holtgreve, as the two play off of and wrestle with each other. What begins at a languid pace, becomes quite agitated by the mid-point, well, just shy of the midpoint? because it's at the midpoint were are what seemed suddenly to me like some post-coital afterglow, though the "coital" part hadn't quite exhausted itself entirely. By the fifteen minute point we get a funky piece that struts triumphantly - this one no mere one night stand, it was love! The sax-guitar duet just before the end seems to put the exclamation point on things, as the two lead us into what would be the "high-kick" portion of the song (in fact, you can almost imagine the Rockettes doing a high kick in unison at that point). We end with a solo from Adler that is just a flurry of notes, capping this epic off nicely as the piece slowly winds down and cools off.

There are two abstract pieces here, too. The first, the short vignette "Go To Stop" which is more than a tad bit experimental with fluttery its horn sounds and abstract percussion. "A Dose Is A Dose" begins with what almost seems like a Hendrixian riff, but then hangs there in that note, in that moment? with sounds that? well, as if someone mic'd a spinning quarter and amplified it ? a fluttering spinning sound.

The next longest piece is that which begins the album, "Spanish Water." This nearly 14-minute piece evolves slowly, sort of early Tangerine Dream like, with sounds slowly coming into being. Once it gets going, it is the sax of Holtgreve and the guitar work of Adler that sets the pace, which is relaxed and languid and beautiful. Holtgreve's tone is warm and brassy, Adler's guitar phrases light and breezy? but this never approaches what is termed smooth jazz or new age. And that's credited to the taut, crisp yet measured drum work of Tarquino, with Blömeke's bass filling nicely the open spaces in between, though this piece is far from feeling crowded.

"Minimal Hip" is a "modern" sounding track, with a warm, deep yet cheerful bass and a singing sax right up front. It is a piece that has a bit of a midwestern-country flavour to it. "Funkturm," is, as the title suggests, funky. It is a modern take on 70s jazz-funk-rock, it is bouncy and upbeat, sure to get your toes tapping. Great sax work from Holtgreve here again. "Ever The Clever" is a mellower, twangy guitar lead balladic piece - melancholic and sweet.

Great. Highly recommended. What are you waiting for?

Spanish Water (13:50) / Minimal Hip (3:02) / Go To Stop (1:32) / Funkturm (3:17) / Ever The Clever (4:12) / May Day Bay (8:03) / Spleep (2:35) / Cuzzle Puzzle Suite (21:46) / A Dose Is A Dose (1:08) / The Last Nandu (2:25)

Gerold Adler - guitar
Heinrich Holtgreve - alto sax
Alvaro "Chevere" Tarquino - drums
Peter Blömeke - bass

Rabenteuer (1976)
For A Second (2002)

Genre: Fusion-Jazz Fusion

Origin DE

Added: August 22nd 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 941
Language: english


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