Morrissey & Mullen

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The duo of saxophonist Dick Morrissey and guitarist Jim Mullen were premier exponents of the British jazz-rock movement of the 1970s. A respected bebop player who deftly adapted his bold, fluid style…
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The duo of saxophonist Dick Morrissey and guitarist Jim Mullen were premier exponents of the British jazz-rock movement of the 1970s. A respected bebop player who deftly adapted his bold, fluid style to fit more abstract contexts with the emergence of free jazz, Morrissey in 1969 founded the pioneering jazz-rock unit If with guitarist Terry Smith. Although inspired by the American acts Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago, If contrasted sharply with their contemporaries by subtracting brass instruments from the equation, relying on Morrissey's hard-edged saxophones, Smith's trebly guitar and frontman J.W. Hodgkinson's velvety, elastic vocals. If proved far more successful at home than across the Atlantic, however, even settling in Sweden for some time. After a series of acclaimed LPs, the group dissolved in 1975. Mullen, meanwhile, cemented his credentials in the nascent jazz-rock culture via stints with Pete Brown's Piblokto! and Brian Auger's Oblivion Express. In the early 1970s, he also reunited with former collaborators Malcolm Duncan and Roger Ball in their blue-eyed funk unit The Average White Band. Both Morrissey and Mullen joined the AWB during their 1975 tour of the U.S. and upon their return to Britain, they continued as a duo, debuting with the 1977 LP Up. Together, Morrissey and Mullen embraced everything from bop to pop to funk and found favor with listeners on both sides of the jazz-rock dyad via acclaimed efforts such as 1979's Cape Wrath. In all, Morrissey and Mullen co-headlined six albums, which increasingly veered towards the mainstream, but never earned the American commercial foothold that would have vaulted their career to the next level. Morrissey and Mullen split following 1988's Happy Hour, but collaborated often in the years to follow. In August 2000, they officially reunited for a concert at Deal's Astor Theatre. It was Morrissey's last major appearance prior to his death from cancer on November 8, 2000.