Sunday, April 8, 2007

COLOSSEUM - 3 great albums @320


Colosseum is a British jazz-rock band considered also a part of the early roots of progressive rock. The band formed in 1968 with founding members drummer Jon Hiseman, tenor sax Dick Heckstall-Smith (who died December 2004) and bass player Tony Reeves. All three had previously played together in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Dave Greenslade (organ) was immediately recruited, and the line-up was completed by Jim Roche (guitar). Roche only recorded one track before being replaced by James Litherland (guitar and vocals).
Colosseum made their live debut in Newcastle, and were promptly recorded by influential BBC Radio One DJ John Peel for his Top Gear Radio program. This appearance gained them valuable exposure and critical acclaim.
Colosseum`s first album "Those About To Die Salute You" was released by label Fontana in 1969. Colosseum's second album, their second release in 1969, was Valentyne Suite, and is arguably the band's best. It is well-known as the first album release from the label Vertigo Records, which also first signed hard rockers Black Sabbath. Vertigo Records was a branch of the Philips brand to sign and develop artists which may not fit the Philips Records brand.
After the second album, James Litherland was replaced by Dave "Clem" Clempson for the 1970 album, The Grass Is Greener, which was oddly released only in America. Tony Reeves was then replaced by Mark Clarke, and Jon Hiseman recruited Chris Farlowe to enable Clempson to concentrate on guitar. This is considered by most fans to be the definitive line-up. They recorded the 1970 release Daughter of Time.
In March 1971, the band recorded a gig at the Big Apple in Brighton, followed by one at Manchester University. Hiseman was impressed with the atmosphere at the Manchester gig, and the band returned five days later for a free concert which was also recorded. the recordings were released as a live double album in 1971, shortly before the original band broke up.
After Colosseum split Jon Hiseman formed Tempest with bassist Mark Clarke, Dave Greenslade formed Greenslade with Tony Reeves, Clem Clempson moved to Humble Pie, Chris Farlowe to Atomic Rooster and Dick Heckstall-Smith did his solo career.
Colosseum has had a couple different sets of band members (and, when it split and then oriented further towards jazz-fusion rock with a totally new lineup, renamed itself Colosseum II with guitar ace Gary Moore, percussion from Jon Hiseman, the keyboards of Don Airey).
A reunion tour for Colosseum happened in 1994, which was the catalyst for a CD release and new studio releases.
Barbara Thompson on saxophone joined the band on various occasions after the death of Dick Heckstall-Smith and is now a permanent member of the band.

Original band members:
Jon Hiseman – Drums (founder)
Dick Heckstall-Smith – Saxophones (founder member, died 2004, replaced by Thompson)
Tony Reeves – Bass (founder member, replaced by Clarke)
Dave Greenslade – Organ, Vocals (from 1968)
Jim Roche – Guitar (first line-up, only one track on the first album, replaced by Litherland)
James Litherland – Guitar (replaced by Clempson)

Later band members:
Chris Farlowe – Vocals (from 1970)
Mark Clarke – Bass, Vocals (from 1970)
Dave "Clem" Clempson – Guitar, Vocals (from 1970)
Barbara Thompson – Saxophones (from 2004)

"Those About To Die Salute You" & "Valentine Suite"(1st & 2nd)
"Live" (1971)
Please leave a comment


Anonymous said...

Many thanks for this - had been trying to get hold of some Colosseum ever since hearing a brief minute or two on the BBC series Jazz Britainica a couple of years ago.

Anonymous said...

awesome the last comment was posted 2years ago huge thanks to megaupload and to you

cuuu said...

awesome, looking for valentyn suite. Sweet!