Drummer Jerome DeupreeLast summer (’99), after finishing their new record, The Night, the Boston-based group Morphine left for Europe to play several festival dates. A few days into the tour, on July 3, in Palestrina, Italy, singer/songwriter Mark Sandman suffered a fatal heart attack on stage. “Mark wanted to be known as a songwriter,” explains Orchestra Morphine drummer Billy Conway. “So when we did a memorial concert for him, we did songs from the new record as well as some old ones.” Hence a new line-up, an ensemble that is more than a tribute to the prolific Sandman. “We put together a group made up of friends who had played with Mark,” Billy explains. Joining Conway, saxist Dana Colley, and original drummer Jerome Deupree, who came back into the fold during the Night sessions, are a keyboardist, bassist, two horn players, and a male and female singer. “The whole thing is such a family affair,” Conway enthuses. “Everybody goes back a long time.”

“Being in a room with people breathing life into the songs feels healthy,” Conway adds. “We’re musicians, so what better way to express how you feel than to play the music””