Friday, August 7, 2015

Colosseum - Those Who Are About To Die Salute You (1969 uk, impressive prog jazz blues rock, 2004 remaster and expanded)

British band Colosseum fuse the progressive rock of the time with the experimentation of modern jazz. In a career that lasted a little over three years the band were one of the most popular bands on the progressive rock circuit due to their constant gigging and many sessions recorded for the BBC. They did eight sessions for Radio One within the space of twelve months.

The bands leader was drummer Jon Hiseman, who along with saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith, after stints with early British R&B group The Graham Bond Organization, and the short lived John Mayall's Bluesbreakers big band line-up which recorded the legendary album "Bare Wired", wanted to form a group "in which there were no drug addicts or other time wasters, no passengers". They were joined by Dave Greenslade on organ who had played with the very popular soul covers band "Geno Washington And The Ran Jam Band", and bassist Tony Reeves who had both played with Hiseman as teenagers in a couple of bands around South East London.

The debut "Those Who Are About To Die Salute You", the title taken from the gladiators of ancient Rome, was released in March 1969. The album consisted of mainly sturdy instrumentals with each musician being given the chance to take the spotlight, unlike certain other groups of the era who were basically a vehicle for one member to hog the limelight. The bonus tracks on this CD reissue are mainly BBC sessions of the album tracks. 
by Derek McCann
1. Walking In The Park (Bond) - 3:55
2. Plenty Hard Luck (Greenslade, Heckstall-Smith, Hiseman, Litherland, Reeves) - 4:29
3. Mandarin (Reeves, Greenslade) - 4:26
4. Debut (Greenslade, Heckstall-Smith, Hiseman, Reeves) - 6:20
5. Beware The Ides Of March (Greenslade, Heckstall-Smith, Hiseman, Reeves) - 5:38
6. The Road She Walked Before (Heckstall-Smith) - 2:44
7. Backwater Blues (Leadbelly) - 7:39
8. Those About To Die (Greenslade, Heckstall-Smith, Hiseman, Reeves) - 4:55
9. I Can't Live Without You (Litherland) - 4:16
10.A Whiter Spade Than Mayall (Unidentified) - 4:50
11.Walking In The Park (Bond) - 3:43
12.Beware The Ides Of March (Greenslade, Heckstall-Smith, Hiseman, Reeves) - 4:09
13.Plenty Hard Luck (Greenslade, Heckstall-Smith, Hiseman, Litherland, Reeves) - 2:42
14.Walking In The Park (Bond) - 3:17
Bonus Tracks 9-14

*Dave Greenslade - Organ, Vibraphone, Piano, Backing Vocals
*Dick Heckstall-Smith - Saxophones
*Jon Hiseman - Drums
*James Litherland - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Tony Reeves - Bass Guitar
*Jim Roche - Guitar
*Henry Lowther - Trumpet

Related Acts
1969  Sweet Pain - Sweet Pain
1969  Jack Bruce - Songs For A Tailor (expanded edition)
1970  Keef Hartley Band - Overdog (extra track remaster edition)
1970  Mogul Thrash - Mogul Thrash
1972  Dick Heckstall Smith - A Story Ended (2006 Japan Remaster)
1973-82  Bob Theil - So Far...

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  1. In 1968, Jon Hiseman was 24 years old, but he was already a respected drummer, having behind her, work in such groups as Mike Taylor Trio, The Bluesbreakers and, above all, The Graham Bond Organisation. Jon for some time had wanted to appoint a group that based on the rock, will present an ambitious, sophisticated music that combines elements of blues, jazz and rock. He assumed that it will play musicians who use a perfectly instruments, assumed the careful composition and rich, fine-tuned arrangements, but with a great deal of improvisation. Today, this may seem normal. But in 1968 it was unheard of! Quite impossible! But Jon did. The final decision was made during a romantic trip to Rome that Jon took place with his beautiful wife - Barbara Thomson. Well, and since Rome, the Colosseum name until he begged!
    Oh and it happened!

    In the first composition of the Colosseum, which began rehearsing summer of 1968 starring Jon Hiseman (drums), Dave Greenslade (organ, vibraphone), Tony Reeves (bass), James Litherland (guitar, vocals), Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophones). But the composition was unstable It sometimes happened that the band began recording the album in any composition, and he ended in a somewhat different. The situation has stabilized, while Jon gained further musical geniuses: Clem Clempsona (proper name: Dave) on guitar, Mark Clark on bass guitar and singing Chris Farlow. It is this composition (Hiseman, Greenslade, Heckstall-Smith, Clempson, Clark, Farlowe) increasingly marked album "daugter Of Time" and the most perfect work team; album "Colosseum Live". Behind the irony can be seen in the fact that when the album "Live" appeared, in November 1971, the band no longer existed. Solution team was a blow to many fans, but it was also an important part of building a legend Colosseum. And the legend continued, lasted, and the cult to grow!

  2. In 1969, they seem at once two albums - "Those Who Are About To Die Salute You" and "Valentyn Suite". They had already signed a record deal with Vertigo Records, also having under its wings pioneers of heavy metal - Black Sabbath. First album was recorded in winter 1968/1969 year. and released in March 1969 year and wore a rather complicated title: Those Who Are About To Die Salute You - Morituri te salutant. And these were the words which spoke gladiators in ancient Rome greetings for Caesar (walking down for death, salute you) so much that in two language versions, English and Latin.

    The album was "audaciously eclectic, innovative, sparkling with ideas, unusual and difficult in perception" as it combines unparalleled then the elements of rock, jazz and classical music. Such as in a phenomenal instrumental song Beware The Ides Of March based on the same recital drawn from Bach, which based their band Procol Harum A Whiter creating famous Shade Of Pale. The song opens beautiful, lazy theme played the saxophone. Theme acquire Hammond organ allowing yourself a bit more freedom. Up until suddenly turns harpsichord. It turns out this introduction to dynamic guitar solos, which is gaining momentum Gentiles by the rhythm section. Culminate, and further discharge, in the form of the original theme on saxophone, but this time in a version not lazy, but feisty. The album was innovative, because no one had created a work so harmoniously combining rock with jazz sophistication, verve and virtuosity executive. As in the instrumental track Those About To Die, characterized by a superb rhythm and dynamics. It begins with a sharp and quick motif played by the whole team. Then takes over the guitar, playing solo against the rushing rhythm section. A little calm brings a saxophone solo, but only to more efficiently yet another dynamic firework went off; This time the leadership role of the authorities. In late returns saxophone, who improvises in a climate of psychedelic. Precision, excellent workshop and freedom: a brilliant piece!

    The album was unusual sparkling with ideas, because each song was a masterpiece in itself. Such as Backwater Blues, which reads as ... classic blues. By James Litherland sung with great feeling and culture, varied solos on guitar and skasofonie (Dick excellent empathizes with the atmosphere, playing against the slow rhythm section), it is a jewel that could embarrass the likes of contemporary British blues John Mayall such as. And finally album is difficult in perception ... There is no denying that there was a pop. But the songs were so thrilling, so perfectly arranged, so subtle and so full of energy that I just could not not like it. The album presented a very consistent blend of blues, rhythm and blues, rock and songs under the influence of Baroque music. All songs are presented in the heavily jazzy sound. Both Jon Hiseman and Dick Heckstall-Smith were in the past strictly jazz musicians. Despite the innovative form, unusual and variable rhythms, and mostly instrumental forms of composition - the album enjoyed great success and was well received by critics.