Monday, July 27, 2015

Colosseum – Colosseum Live


   The history of progressive rock is full of bands creating ambitious musical projects, merging music with valuable poetic lyrics with elements of avant-garde theatre. Many of them gain considerable popularity in late sixties when antisystemic sentiments focused public attention on any kind of alternative art. This wide social appreciation faded out with the end of the era. The highest bar was to find the point of equilibrium between rock and jazz and to create music that can be interesting for jazz and rock worlds. This was midmost idea of jazz-rock genre started from both directions. Jazz and rock provenience was popular music. But jazz parted earlier and for more than two decades was considered to be fully artistic domain. Rock was more inceptive but many rock musicians still have complexes of popular and utility music. It had a lot to do with aspirations of rock music to connect with more intellectual, more ambitious jazz. Such great bands as Nucleus or Soft Machine had their specific positions in jazz-rock because of clashing together rock sound or rock patterns with the idea of improvisations.
   The legend of jazz-rock history, English band Colosseum found different solution. They back to the roots of rock and jazz and started from the elementary blues ideas. Connecting blues and gospel elements with rhythms of popular blues occurred to be simple and efficient. The idea came from sixties, when two founders of Colosseum drummer Jon Hiseman and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith were playing in legendary Graham Bond Organization. The list of blues experiences of Heckstall-Smith is much longer. Before Colosseum saxophonist was playing with Alexis Korner and John Mayall in their groups Blues Incorporated and Bluesbreakers where future Colloseum saxophonist again played with Jon Hiseman. Together with Tony Reeves, the bass player they’ve met during sessions to legendary Bluesbreakers album Bare Wires, in September 1968 they have started Colosseum. To the first line-up the band recruit two more musicians: organist Dave Greenslade and guitarist Jim Roche, who was shortly superseded by James Litherland who was one year later replaced by Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson.

Colosseum – Colosseum Live (1971)

   Colosseum was supergroup from the very beginning and there is no surprise the history of the band, although full of creative achievements, was not too long. In first two years of existence group recorded four studio albums and in March 1971 one live album released in September the same year. Publication of the album Colosseum Live was closing moment in three years history of the band. In 1975 Jon Hiseman established changing whole lineup new formation called Colosseum II, playing more fusion style jazz-rock. This group was disbanded in 1978. In 1994 Colosseum reunited in its 1971 lineup. After Dick Heckstall-Smith’s death, his place in the band took Barbara Thompson. Culmination of first period was Colosseum Live, one of most illustrious live albums in history of progressive rock and blues-rock. Although it’s impossible to spread this rate to jazz-rock because this is exactly the qualities most jazz live recordings have. But there is also regularity: in some way this album has mixed jazz emotional posture with blues-rock sound.
   Without considering relations between members of the band and the public, this phenomenon couldn’t be understood. This powerful and intense music has its source in sequence of rhythmic patterns, although every member of the band has equal contribution in final creation. Atmosphere of concert event Mach 18, 1971 at Manchester University was so unusual, the band decided to repeat concert for free five days later. Both shows were recorded and with fragments of March 27, 1971 at the Big Apple Club in Brighton published as double LP album. In a way the success of this album was the success of most intensive contact with the listener while every musician has widest artistic freedom. It was the moment of establishing classic Colosseum lineup: Dave Greenslade (organ, vibes), Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophones), Jon Hiseman (drums), Mark Clarke (bass, vocals), Dave "Clem" Clempson (guitars, vocals) and Chris Farlowe (vocals). Its idea remains to nineties and returned with reunited band as it was most remarkable achievement in every member's careers. For this kind of success four stars is quite well-founded rate.

No comments:

Post a Comment