Such was Morgan Ågren’s prowess on the drums that he was gigging by the age of seven and had started his own band at 13. He formed Zappsteetoot with keyboardist Mats Öberg in 1984, ostensibly to play the music of their hero, Frank Zappa. Four years later they were special guests of the US legend at a performance in Stockholm. By 1994 Ågren was backing his Frankness on Grammy-winning Zappa’s Universe and providing percussion for sell-out dates in New York.
Mats/Morgan Band: Live
Zonked-out Zappaphilia from Scandinavia.
The Mats/Morgan combo is now into their 30th year of collaboration, and Live is their fifth album, recorded in their native Sweden and now remastered by Ågren himself.
An expanded six-piece line-up tackle compositions that are, predictably enough, very Zappa in stature, specifically referencing his avant-jazz fusion period. There are full scoops of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Egg too, the band serving up a kinetic mix of progressive and freeform music.
Thing is, it sounds like they were having way more fun than the paying punters. There’s a fine line between experimentalism and indulgence – there are three keyboard players – and they frequently cross it.