Missing Link

Missing Link were a German jazz-rock sextet from Munich that released the album Nevergreen! on United Artists in 1972.

Members: Markus Sing (guitar), Günther Latuschik (saxophone), Gabriel Dominik Mueller (vocals), Dieter Miekautsch (keyboards), Dave Schratzenstaller (bass), Holger Brandt (drums)

The comic, colorful cover art of the band’s sole release animates the virtuosic energy of the music contained on the album.

“Kid’s Hunting” opens with a windmill strum in Dmin that gives rise to the woodwind of Latuschik, who takes over with a choppy 9/8 chart. Brandt pile-drives each count with double-up snare and kick-drum as an organ/sax riff in Gmin takes hold. Almost as suddenly, Mueller’s soaring vocals herald a walloping, diatonic bassline that plunges from F# to four and back as Sing scale-shreds. The prior two sections each repeat between vocal/organ interludes.

At the outset of “Time Will Change,” Sing and Latuschik interlock on a descending scale in Dmin as Brandt lays out a swinging rhythm with four snare/bass wallops per bar. Counterpoint ensues between the aforementioned sololists as the track switches between major and minor tonalities, during which Miekautsch infuses the piece with crisp ivory. Midway, the track slows to accommodate Mueller, whose stanzas are constantly overrun by the brimming, scaly musicianship.

Though starting life as an organ-based herky jerk in Cmin, “Sorcery” switches to a brisk, bassline-driven Emin and remains that way for the bulk of its five-plus minutes. Amidst the flurry, Sing’s leads alternately ooze and wail as Miekautsch fights for the spotlight with creamy fills of Fender Rhodes.

After a thundering ensemble entrance, Mueller takes command of “Spoiled Love”, but even in this ballady framework the energies of the soloists cannot be contained. Lyrical fretboard leads give way to an electric piano spotlite, which is overtaken by a martially ensnared structure of Mellotron-laced acoustic plucking in Amin. The following “Song for Ann” is a solo, double-tracked Miekautsch etude of pearly keys and watery glissando’s in the root of E.

Dual sax over a drum-pummeled, darting-third, Dmin bassline propels “Only Me” into existence. Though the party breaks for Mueller to declare “I am the guy that I love,” the marquee-woodwind riff wrests back the number. Later, the drumming turns densely tribalistic as Sing and Latuschik take turns accenting the theme.

Miekautsch and Sing remained the most active after Missing Link split. The keyboardist went on to play with Embryo, Missus Beastly, and the Real Ax Band, while the guitarist became a sideman to local star Konstantin Wecker.


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