Mats/Morgan Band – Heat Beats Live – Cuneiform Rune
Published on January 6, 2009
Mats/Morgan Band – Heat Beats Live – Cuneiform Rune 265/266, 51:58 CD + DVD ****:
(Mats Ågren – drums; Morgan Öberg – keyboards; Tommy Tordsson – bass; and others)
Drawing from the widest possible range of influences—Frank Zappa, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Indian subcontinent world/jazz, Miles Davis, classical fugues, San Fran jazz/funk, progressive rock, who knows what else—the Mats/Morgan Band produces a frenetic musical stew that always intrigues and usually ingratiates, although not always. Equipped with jaw-dropping chops, the band sometimes lets unbridled virtuosity get the better of it (e.g., “The Bössendorfer of Advokaten”) to the detriment of musicality. Yes, the listener sits slack-jawed, the feverish sounds bombarding his sensibilities with a sonic assault of heroic proportions, but one is left with a feeling more of admiration than satisfaction.
But wait – sometimes the utter wild musicianship trumps everything: One finds oneself bowing in humble acknowledgment of genius bracketing whatever reservations one might have about the downright audacity of the proceedings (“Tuvas Rumba”). Other times (“Cry of Laika”) there’s such a pure folk sensibility operating, that grousing would be curmudgeonly without cause.
This will probably not be a disc that I’ll return to often, but if you’re at all taken by chops-heavy world/jazz/rock/classical fusion, it’s certainly worth a listen. The DVD, containing snippets of drum solos and fragmentary group interactions, is a throwaway [of rather amateurish videos...Ed.], subtracting about a half star for the increased price for the twofer.
TrackList: The Return of Advokaten, Rhinecliff Hotel, Mats Jingle, Pulse, Friis, Tvingle, Watch Me Pleasure, Hermetoast, The Bössendorfer of Advokaten, Riff at Play, Truvas Rumba, Cry of Laika
– Jan P. Dennis