Friday, May 6, 2016

Colosseum - 1969 [1990] "Those Who Are About To Die" - "Valentyne Suite"

Those Who Are About to Die Salute You - Morituri Te Salutant is the debut album by Colosseum, released in 1969 by Fontana. It is one of the pioneering albums of jazz fusion.[1] The title is a translation of the Latin phrase morituri te salutant that according to popular belief (but not academic agreement), gladiators addressed to the emperor before the beginning of a gladiatorial match.
The album reached number 15 in the UK Albums Chart
Allmusic's review was laudatory, saying the album "is a powerful one, unleashing each member's instrumental prowess at one point while consolidating each talent to form an explosive outpouring of progressive jazz/rock the next." They highly praised the variety and uniqueness of each song, the playing of the musicians, and the group's ability to create a blend of jazz, rock, and classical elements that was unconventional yet accessible.

Valentyne Suite was the second album released by the band Colosseum. It was Vertigo Records' first album release, and reached number 15 in the UK Albums Chart in 1969.[1]
Though the song "The Kettle" is officially listed as having been written by Dick Heckstall-Smith and Jon Hiseman, a credit which is confirmed by Hiseman's liner notes for the album, bassist and producer Tony Reeves later claimed that it was written by guitarist and vocalist James Litherland
 Allmusic derided the first three tracks, referring to "The Kettle" and "Butty's Blues" as, "tarted-up 12-bar blues", and claiming that "Elegy" was beyond James Litherland's abilities as a vocalist. They were more approving of the rest of the album, and described Dave Greenslade's solo on "The Valentyne Suite" as, "something to offer a challenge to vintage Keith Emerson, but with swing." They were critical of Litherland and Reeves's playing on the song, however, and concluded, "In retrospect this might not quite the classic it seemed at the time, but it remains listenable.

This is one of the pivotal progressive bands that emerged in the second part of the Sixties. Unfortunalety the progressive world was more impressed by The NICE and KING CRIMSON, so in my opinion COLOSSEUM is a bit underestimated progrock band. In 68 the founding members were drummer Jon Hiseman, tenor sax-player Dick Heckstall-Smith and bass player Tony Reeves, later joined by Dave Greenslade (keyboards), Dave Clempson (guitar), Chris Farlowe (vocals) and Mark Clark, he replaced Tony Reeves. COLOSSEUM made three studio albums: "Those Who Are To Die We Salute You" and "Valentyne Suite" (both from 69) and "Daughter Of Time" (70). The music is a progressive mix of several styles (rock, jazz, blues) with lots of sensational solos and captivating interplay. In 71 the band released their highly acclaimed live album "Colosseum live", a proove of their great skills on stage but also showing that at some moments the compositions sounded a bit too stretched. After COLOSSEUM was disbanded in 71, most of these members formed or joined known groups like HUMBLE PIE (Clem Clempson), ATOMIC ROOSTER (Chris Farlowe), GREENSLADE (Dave Greenslade re-united with Tony Reeves) and COLOSSEUM II (founded by Jon Hiseman). In 91 the label Castle Communications released the comprehensive compilation CD entitled "The Time Machine".
The second album "The Valentyne Suite" is considered as their best. It sounds mature and varied with the epic titletrack as the highlight: its build up around a mindblowing solo on the Hammond organ by Dave Greenslade and great guitarwork by James Litherland. And if you like brass (I dont!), Dick Heckstall-Smith delivers stunning tenor-saxophone work.

Tracks Listing

Those Who Are About to Die Salute You: (40:22)
1. Walking in the Park (3:51)
2. Plenty Hard Luck (4:23)
3. Mandarin (4:27)
4. Debut (6:20)
5. Beware the Ides of March (5:34)
6. The Road She Walked Before (2:39)
7. Backwater Blues (7:35)
8. Those About to Die (4:49)

Valentyne Suite: (35:27)
9. The Kettle (4:25)
10. Elegy (3:10)
11. Butty's Blues (6:44)
12. The Machine Demands a Sacrifice (3:52)
13. The Valentyne Suite (16:35)
- a. Theme One - January's Search
- b. Theme Two - February's Valentyne
- c. Theme Three - The Grass Is Always Greener...

Total Time: 75:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Greenslade / organ, keyboards, vocals
- Dick Heckstall-Smith / tenor & soprano saxophone
- Jon Hiseman / drums
- James Litherland / guitar, vocals
- Tony Reeves / bass guitar

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