Every ten years appears to be a milestone in jazz. During each decade, there have been major influences in jazz that have changed the genre in more ways than one. Bebop came about in the '40s, the '50s saw the advent of cool jazz, while subsequent decades later saw the coming of free jazz in the sixties, followed by the fusion-based soul jazz funk rhythms of the 1970s. It was the latter style of music that would have the most significant impact on jazz in the decades to follow.
During the 1970s, fusion and soul influenced music brought jazz back into the mainstream. The 1960s had seen a gradual decline in jazz as a whole, but artists such as Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Patrice Rushen, Stanley Turrentine, The Crusaders, Roy Ayres, Bob James and numerous others like them had begun to put their own spin on jazz-based rhythmic harmonies and grooved induced melodies. In the mid-seventies, two additional musicians emerged to also make their voices heard, they were Dick Mullen and Dick Morrissey. These two individuals formed a unique partnership in 1975 that would last for 15 years and through seven album releases. The Mullen/Morrissey partnership was even more special because they recorded music that appealed to a cadre of jazz connoisseurs in the United States and Great Britain.
Individually, guitarist Jim Mullen and saxophonist Dick Morrissey were already established players in their own right when forming their partnership in 1975. Influenced by what was happening in the United States, this U.K. based duo began to have a dramatic impact on the populace of Britain. In the United States, their music attracted the likes of George Benson, Herbie Mann, the Brecker Brothers and numerous others during their time together. On their very first album entitled 'Up' on the Embryo/Atlantic Record Label, the Average White Band was a major component of the rhythm section. Jim Mullen's and Dick Morrissey's popularity became so intense, they often played to sell-out crowds all-over the U.S. and Great Britain. Even in the 21st century, fans remember the duo's formative years as one of the top fusion jazz bands of their time.
In November 2000, Dick Morrissey made his jazz passage. To celebrate as well as commemorate the contributions of Jim Mullen and Dick Morrissey, Sulphuric Records has released 'Morrissey Mullen: Everything Must Change (The Definitive Collection).' This is a CD for the ages and well worth a listen! The release features 12-tracks of highly addictive jazz. One track on the album does not follow the overall theme of enjoyment; however, beyond Bill Withers "Lovely Day", the rest of The Definitive collective is a plus. Commercially Morrissey and Mullen developed a following that would endear the two to fans on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean; unfortunately, the true measure of their talent was never enough to make Dick and Jim household names. With the release of 'The Definitive Collective', a new generation of fans may be the end result.