Yuri Morozov

From Unearthing The Music

Yuri Mozorov in 1990. Photo by Wikipedia user Lerats

Yuri Vasilyevich Morozov (Russian: Юрий Морозов, 6 March 1948 – 23 February 2006), was a Russian rock multi-instrumentalist, sound engineer and composer. He created his own style using Progressive rock, Psychedelic rock, Experimental music, Folk music, Jazz and many more. Besides having his own musical career, he also participated in the recording of albums of bands such as DDT, Aquarium, Chizh & Co, and many others. He is regarded (along with Andrei Tropillo) was the very first artist in Russia to approach sound recording not as a process of mechanical fixation of a concert sound, but as an intrinsic creative act, and to an album not as a random set of songs, but as a finished artistic product.


Yuri Vasilievich Morozov was born on March 6, 1948 in the city of Belogorsk, Crimean region, and later moved to the city of Ordzhonikidze (now Vladikavkaz). He became enamoured with rock music as a schoolboy. After school, Morozov entered the North Caucasian Mining and Metallurgical College. In the fall of 1969, Yuri Morozov created his first band, "Tramps", which, in addition to cover versions of Western standards, performed several of his songs, largely inspired by the harmonic language of The Beatles.

Already at that time, Morozov diligently recorded the results of his musical experiments on tape, which later became one of the main techniques of his artistic method.

In 1971 Morozov moved to Leningrad, where he attended evening classes at the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute at the Faculty of Automation and Electric Drive.

With his own hands, he assembled a home studio, in which he began to experiment with overdubbing, and then with multichannel techniques, finding more and more new and interesting versions of compositions of his own music, and, as a rule, performing all the instrumental and vocal parts himself. In the fall of 1972, he got a job at the Leningrad recording studio of the Melodiya company with a salary of 80 rubles. As a graduate of the institute without a military department, Morozov was drafted into the army. He served in a communications workshop at the headquarters of the Air Defense Corps, just 20 minutes from Moscow, in the city of Dolgoprudny.

The opportunity to sometimes use professional studio equipment allowed the musician to organize and preserve for history his early samples and concert recordings, which made up the "prehistoric" section of his discography: "Retroskop" (1968-1971), "Apocrypha" (1972-1973) and "Tramps" (1971) - a recording of a performance of his North Caucasian group.

In 1973, he recorded the psychedelic album "Jimmy Hendrix's Cherry Orchard", and his works began to meet a wide response in the musical environment, leading Yuri to gradually began to collaborate with other St. Petersburg groups and performers (in particular, with Yuri Berendyukov - later the leader of YABLOKO), and to begin performing once more. In 1975-1976, he briefly played in the final line-up of the popular art / jazz-rock group "WELL WEATHER!" (Gennady Anisimov, keyboards, vocals, Mikhail Kudryavtsev, bass, Gennady Buganov, drums, Vladimir Ermakov, vocals) - their live recordings were Morozov's album "Group in Memory of Mikhail Kudryavtsev." In the spring of 1976, Yuri tried to unite with Kudryavtsev and drummer Igor Golubev (later "JONATHAN LIVINGSTON"), and in the spring of 1977 he assembled an ephemeral trio.

However, after the first and only concert of the trio ("Session'77") Morozov, convinced of the impossibility of realizing his studio ideas on stage due to the more than modest technical equipment of underground concerts, became uninterested in performing live music for a long while and again hid behind the walls of the Melodiya apparatus in the Academic Chapel, from time to time intriguing audiences with his new works, with references to the philosophical teachings of ancient India (Brahma Astra, 1979), then to the culture of medieval China (Chinese poetry, 1980), or to the peculiarly interpreted biblical subjects ("The Gospel of Matthew", 1980) or to Russian folklore ("Three Russian Songs", 1980) - which led him to a long-term collaboration with the folk-rock group "YABLOKO", which at different times recorded a number of his songs, and Marina Kapuro, who in turn sang in some of Morozov's albums.

Although the bulk of the instrumental parts were played by himself, his music sometimes featured participations by Mikhail Kudryavtsev and Vladimir Ermakov (guitars), Melodiya sound engineer Victor Dinov (keyboards) Sergei Ludinov (violin), Viktor Khristosov (viola), Sergei Luzin (harmonica and flute), Leonid Eselson (flute), drummers Igor Kucherov, Evgeny Pavlov, Yuri Nikolaev, Vladimir Yakovlev, and ofthers. Yuri Morozov's recordings sold around the country in thousands of copies: sometimes with art by the musician's wife, Nina Morozova. Many of her illustrations were later reproduced in reprints of the Morozov archives on records and CDs.

The musical experiments and spiritual quests of the mid-70s made Yuri one of the brightest and most influential figures in the Petersburg rock scene of this decade. It would not be an exaggeration to say that before the emergence of the Rock Club and the Antrop studio (whose creator, Andrei Tropillo, was strongly influenced by Morozov's ideas) and the new wave generation of St. Petersburg groups, he was an indisputable authority for musicians of at least two generations, and his work of that time, which did not know any taboos, genre or ideological restrictions, in many ways anticipated the phenomenon of the entire tape culture and predetermined some of the trends in its development in the 80s. Morozov himself, in the early 80s, found himself out of the musical context, and his new works were watched, rather, by old fans and specialists than by the general public.

In the fall of 1981, after a large song cycle permeated with Christian motifs appeared in his repertoire, Yuri Morozov decided to perform it on stage, for which he assembled a trio, which included his old colleague, bass player Mikhail Kudryavtsev and drummer Sergei Zavyalov, however, having rehearsed all winter, they parted, and Zavyalov soon launched his hard-rock group "Plumbum".

In May 1987, after a ten-year pause, Morozov returned to the stage and gave a concert at the video festival “Rock-Niva-87” organized by Andrei Tropillo, accompanied by the young group “Mail”, and after the next year he began his fruitful cooperation with the group DDT (he recorded at least three of their albums). For a year and a half Yuri toured all over the country and performed at the VI Festival of the Rock Club (1988) accompanied by his rhythm section (Vadim Kurylev - bass and Igor Dotsenko - drums), and sometimes keyboardist Andrey Muratov. In addition, during this period Morozov became one of the heroes of Pyotr Soldatenkov's film "Playing with the Unknown" (1987).

In 1988, the St. Petersburg branch of the Melodiya company published the first disc of its sound engineer “Presentation”, which was a retrospective of his work in the 80s and opened another page in Morozov's discography. According to his own recollections, the conservative Soviet artistic council resisted to the end, and only participation in a couple of songs by Marina Kapuro tipped the scales in his favor. In the early 90s, six more vinyl discs of his music were released.

In September 1989 Morozov organized a new group - "OGPU im. Yu. Morozov" consisting of: Alexander Brovko (electric guitar), Viktor Mikheev (acoustic guitar, bass, vocals), Dmitry "Fifa" Ermakov (keyboards) and Sergei Agapov (drums). They made their debut on September 23 at the 1st Festival of the Aurora magazine, and then toured the country performing at the Bjola-90 festival in Dnepropetrovsk and in St. Petersburg (RUSSIAN Memorial at the SKK, concerts in honor of 50th anniversary of John Lennon and 10th anniversary of the Rock Club, at the exhibition "Realities of Russian Rock").

Afterwards, Morozov returned to his studio work, occasionally playing an acoustic duet with Mikheev, and later with Brovko. However, in the 90s his interests began to shift more and more towards literature: back in the 70s, he became the author of two unpublished books inspired by personal life impressions. Later, his stories were included in various collections and anthologies, and with the blessing of the famous dissident V. Maksimov, the magazine "Continent" published a story about rock musicians, "Parachutists". In 1995, the St. Petersburg publishing house Zero published a semi-autobiographical novel by Morozov, "The Underground Blues".

Morozov was very active in sound engineering: in addition to the above-mentioned DDT and YABLOKA, his name can be found on the albums of Alexander Lyapin, Vadim Kurylev, Aquarium, Tamburin, August, Mail, Cloudy Krai, Status, Delta Operator and many others. Chizh & Co occupies a special place in this list, with Yuri Morozov, recording almost all of their studio material and providing high-quality sound at many concerts. In 1997, Chizh and his group, in turn, took part in the recording of his album "Illusion" (published by SoLyd Records) and in its presentation on the stage of the Peterburgsky Concert Hall.

In 1995-2001, together with Sergei Chigrakov, he participated in the recording of three albums of sacred songs by priest Oleg Skoblya - "Forged Cross", "Procession of the Cross" and "Angel of Prayer".

Since the fall of 2000, Morozov's recordings (both archived and those that have appeared in recent years) began to be released under the Antrop label, owned by his old colleague and like-minded musician Andrei Tropillo.

Morozov's discography is a topic for a separate study: while preserving his recordings over the years, the musician often returned to his old recordings, reworking or supplementing them, so both the titles and the content of individual albums could change over the years. In addition, not bound by the length of a standard album, Morozov released song or instrumental cycles, focusing solely on their artistic integrity, so they spread throughout the country in various forms and sets. In addition, since the late 1980s, several compilations of his recordings from different years in different formats, sometimes with similar design, but different content, have been released.

In March 2005, Morozov finished work on his album "The Naked Feeling of Absence".

He died of myeloma on February 23, 2006 in one of the oncological clinics in St. Petersburg, 11 days before his 58th birthday. He was buried at the Serafimovskoye cemetery.

External links

Text adapted from Wikipedia