Jack Bruce – Live ’75 (2003)

FrontCover1John Symon Asher Bruce (14 May 1943 – 25 October 2014) was a Scottish bassist, singer-songwriter, musician and composer. He gained popularity as the co-lead vocalist and ‍bassist ‍of British rock band Cream. After the group disbanded in 1968, he pursued a solo career and also played with several bands.

In the early 1960s Bruce joined the Graham Bond Organisation (GBO), where he met his future bandmate Ginger Baker. After leaving the band, he joined with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, where he met Eric Clapton, who also became his future bandmate.

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His time with the band was brief. In 1966, he formed Cream with lead guitarist Clapton and drummer Baker; he co-wrote many of their songs (including “Sunshine of Your Love”, “White Room” and “I Feel Free”) with poet/lyricist Pete Brown. After the group disbanded in the late 1960s he began recording solo albums. His first solo album, Songs for a Tailor, released in 1969, was a worldwide hit. Bruce formed his own band to perform the material live, and subsequently formed a blues-rock band West, Bruce and Laing in 1972, with guitarist Leslie West and drummer Corky Laing. His solo career spanned several decades. From the 1970s to the 1990s he played with several groups as a touring member. He reunited with Cream in 2005 for concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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Bruce is considered to be one of the most important and influential ‍bassists ‍of all time. ‍Rolling Stone magazine readers ranked him number eight on their list of “10 ‍Greatest ‍Bassists ‍Of All Time”. He was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993,[2] and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006,[3] both as a member of Cream.

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Live at Manchester Free Trade Hall ’75 is a live album by the Jack Bruce Band released in 2003. It was compiled from a rough mix of a recording of a performance at Manchester Free Trade Hall in June 1975, the only surviving remnant of an abandoned live album project. Bruce’s bass guitar is not very prominent in the mix. (wikipedia)

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This double-CD set was one of the unexpected bonuses of the 2001/2002 remastering of Jack Bruce’s RSO/Polydor catalog — amid a search of the vaults, a tape of this performance, the only official live recording of the Jack Bruce Band, was unearthed. They were news to Bruce at the time of their discovery, rough mixes done in contemplation of a concert album that was abandoned. It has its technical problems, but it was possible to clean up most of the sound to a fully professional modern standard, except for a couple of spots where extraneous noise does intrude, especially on the opening of disc two. But those are insignificant flaws in relation to the overall content of these tapes, which capture the band in fine form, especially Bruce, lead guitarist Mick Taylor, and keyboardist Carla Bley — Ronnie Leahy fills out the keyboard sound and Bruce Gary handles the drumming. Their sound is surprisingly tight and their playing rich and crisp, doing a mix of progressive rock and blues-rock in which there are at least four potential lead instruments beyond Bruce’s voice, which is extremely powerful throughout and, indeed, more expressive on-stage than it ever seemed amid the cacophony of Cream’s concerts.

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The repertory is drawn almost entirely from his solo catalog (though they do close with an extended version of “Sunshine of Your Love”), with a special emphasis on songs from Out of the Storm. Though Carla Bley gets a lot of the spotlight for her work on piano, organ, Mellotron, and various other keyboard instruments, Leahy gets an extended featured spot on the piano for the medley of “Tickets to Waterfalls”/”Weird of Hermiston”/”Post War.” Although there are a few standard-length songs here, this was a band that mostly preferred to stretch out, a fact illustrated by the presence of only four numbers on the second CD, which runs the better part of an hour. What made it work was that they had enough to say to fill that length, even on the 23-minute “Smiles and Grins,” and the otherwise familiar “Sunshine of Your Love,” here flexed out to over 13 minutes. They switch gears effortlessly between vocal numbers like “One” and instrumental-driven jams such as “You Burned the Tables on Me,” without skipping a beat or letting the listener go.

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It’s difficult to imagine how RSO would have released this recording reasonably intact in its own time — there are too many tracks here that would have taken up a full side of an LP, and while Leon Russell and a few others had made the triple-live album a reality in rock, one is hard-put to imagine RSO springing for that with Bruce, whose critical notices were fantastic but whose sales — especially in England — had never matched his reviews. So perhaps it’s just as well that this recording was forgotten but not lost, to show up today. The mix of blues, jazz elements, and hard rock, all in a free-form jam format, now seems all the more bracing and the CD market allows it to be kept intact. It’s also doubly fortunate that this show was recorded during the period in which technology had finally mastered the art of capturing the sound of various electronic keyboard devices on-stage intact — it’s a small matter, but fans of the Mellotron will probably love this release.(by Bruce Eder [-])

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Personnel:
Carla Bley (keyboard, clavinet, synthesizer)
Jack Bruce (vocals, bass piano)
Bruce Gary (drums)
Ronnie Leahy (piano, synthesizer)
Mick Taylor (guitar)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Can You Follow? (Bruce/Brown) 1.45
02. Morning Story (Bruce/Brown) 7.55
03. Keep It Down (Bruce/Brown) 5.44
04. Pieces Of Mind (Bruce/Brown) 5.55
05. Tickets To Waterfalls/Weird Of Hermiston/Post War (Bruce/Brown) 25.05
06. Spirit (Williams) 10.43

CD 2:
01. One/You Burned the Tables On Me (Bruce/Brown) 16.59
02. Smiles and Grins(Bruce/Brown) 24.36
03. Sunshine Of Your Love (Brown/Bruce/Clapton) 12.06

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Colosseum – The Collectors Colosseum (1971)

LPFrontCover1Colosseum are an English jazz rock band, mixing blues, rock and jazz-based improvisation. Colin Larkin wrote that “the commercial acceptance of jazz rock in the UK” was mainly due to the band. Between 1975 and 1978 a separate band Colosseum II existed playing progressive rock.

Colosseum, one of the first bands to fuse jazz, rock and blues, were formed in early 1968 by drummer Jon Hiseman with tenor sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith, who had previously worked together in the New Jazz Orchestra and in The Graham Bond Organisation, where Hiseman had replaced Ginger Baker in 1966. They met up again early in 1968 when they both played in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, during which time they played on the Bare Wires album. Childhood friend Dave Greenslade was quickly recruited on organ, as was bass player Tony Reeves who had also known both Hiseman and Greenslade since being teenage musicians in South East London. The band’s line-up was completed, after lengthy auditions, by Jim Roche on guitar and James Litherland (guitar and vocals), although Roche only recorded one track before departing.

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Their first album, Those Who Are About to Die Salute You, which opened with the Bond composition “Walkin’ in the Park”, was released by the Philips’ Fontana label in early 1969. In March the same year they were invited to take part in Supershow, a two-day filmed jam session, along with Modern Jazz Quartet, Led Zeppelin, Jack Bruce, Roland Kirk Quartet, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, and Juicy Lucy.

Colosseum’s second album, later in 1969, was Valentyne Suite, notable as the first release on Philip’s newly launched Vertigo label, established to sign and develop artists that did not fit the main Philips’ brand, and the first label to sign heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath.

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For the third album, The Grass Is Greener, released only in the United States in 1970, Dave “Clem” Clempson replaced James Litherland. Louis Cennamo then briefly replaced Tony Reeves on bass, but was replaced in turn by Mark Clarke within a month. Then Hiseman recruited vocalist Chris Farlowe to enable Clempson to concentrate on guitar. This lineup had already partly recorded the 1970 album Daughter of Time.

In March 1971, the band recorded concerts at the Big Apple Club in Brighton and at Manchester University. Hiseman was impressed with the atmosphere at the Manchester show, and the band returned five days later for a free concert that was also recorded. The recordings were released as a live double album Colosseum Live in 1971. In October 1971 the original band broke up.

After the band split, Jon Hiseman formed Tempest with bassist Mark Clarke; Dave Greenslade formed Greenslade together with Tony Reeves. Chris Farlowe joined Atomic Rooster; and Dick Heckstall-Smith embarked on a solo career. Clem Clempson joined the hit group Humble Pie.

Hiseman formed another group called Colosseum II in 1975, with a stronger orientation towards jazz-fusion rock, which featured guitarist Gary Moore and Don Airey on keyboards. They released three albums before disbanding in 1978.

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Colosseum reunited on 24 June 1994 at the Freiburg Zelt Musik Festival, with the same line-up as when they split in 1971. On 28 October they played a concert in Cologne at E-Werk which was recorded for a TV Special. Recordings from this show were released in 1995 as a CD and a video, and re-released in 2004 as a DVD. The rejuvenated band then played a lengthy tour of mainly German concerts. A second tour followed in 1997, to promote their new studio album “Bread and Circuses”. They also appeared at major festivals in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

In 2003 they toured on the back of “Tomorrow’s Blues” CD, followed also by gigs in England in 2004. Hiseman’s wife, saxophonist Barbara Thompson, joined the band on various occasions. When Dick Heckstall-Smith died in December 2004 she became a permanent member of the band.

In 2005, there were three memorial concerts for Dick Heckstall-Smith, one in Hamburg Germany and two in England.

On 24 September 2005 they performed in Moscow, followed by more concerts in 2006.

In 2007, the made their first appearance in Japan and returned to play more dates in Germany.

Further tours of Europe were made in 2010.

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In October 2010, Jon Hiseman’s biography, Playing the Band – The Musical Life of Jon Hiseman, was published. In November 2012, a Kindle version (with minor re-edits) of Playing the Band was published.[6]

Colosseum played their “Summer 2011” tour of 22 gigs in Germany, Italy, Austria, Finland and Poland. The tour started in June and ended on 20 August in Germany, Rostock, at Bad Doberan “Zappanale” festival. According to the interview of the bandleader Jon Hiseman, Bad Doberan was the last concert of the band. Their second ‘last’ concert was in Poland, Slupsk, at “Legends of Rock” festival on 13 August 2011 and the third ‘last’ concert in Finland, Äänekoski, at “Keitelejazz” festival on the 23 July 2011. These announcements were based on Barbara’s worsening Parkinson’s condition preventing her from playing. However, with the arrival of new medication, her ability to play was renewed, so those announcements proved to be premature and the band continued to record and play until 2015.

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More studio releases followed, as expanded editions of Valentyne Suite and Colosseum Live, and several compilation sets of earlier work. From 2011 to 2014, Colosseum gradually recorded their final album, titled “Time on our Side”, which was eventually released late in 2014, to coincide with their final flurry of dates in Germany and the UK. These included 24 concerts during 2014 in Central Europe, starting 23 October at Steinegg Festival, Collepietra, Italy. Followed by concerts in February 2015 before ending on 28 of that month at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London. At all these concerts, Jon Hiseman confirmed from the stage that this tour would be Colosseum’s last.

After 23 years, the band played what Jon referred to as ‘the last hurrah!’ before a packed and very appreciative audience at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London on 28 February 2015. Special ‘guest’ was Ana Gracey, the daughter of Jon Hiseman and Barbara Thompson. Together with Chris Farlowe she sang her own composition “Blues to Music”, which was also included on the final Colosseum CD.

Jon HisemanColosseum reunited again after the death of Jon Hiseman to play selected shows in 2020. The line-up is Chris Farlowe, Clem Clempson and Mark Clarke, joined by Kim Nishikawara (sax), Adrian Askew (keys, organ) and Malcolm Mortimore (drums). In August 2021, it was reported that the keyboard position would be filled by Nick Steed. This line-up started touring on the 29th of August in Hamburg at Landhaus Walter to be continued in UK. On April 15 2022, they released their new studio album “Restoration”.

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The Collectors’ Colosseum is a compilation album (with some previously unreleased tracks !) by Colosseum that was released in England in 1971.

Enjoy this excellent music … Colosseum were in these days one of the most imporant Jazz-Rock groups and they are still today eminently important in the history of music ! And they are still active, although their founders, Jon Hiseman and Dick Heckstall-Smith has unfortunately long since died

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Personnel:
Dave Clempson (guitar, vocals on 01., 06. + 08.)
Chris Farlowe (vocals on 01.)
Dave Greenslade (keyboards)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
Jon Hisman (drums, percussion)
James Litherland (guitar, vocal on 02., 03., 04. + 05.)
Tony Reeves (bass)

An Italian re-issue:
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Tracklist:
01. Jumping Off The Sun (originally recorded late in 1969 (1) (Taylor/Tomlin) 3.36
02. Those About To Die (excerpt from their first LP) (Hiseman/Greenslade/Reeves/ Heckstall-Smith) 4.53
03. I Can’t Live Without You (recorded 1968; previously unreleased) (Litherland) 4.18
04. Beware The Ides Of March (from their first LP) (Hiseman/Greenslade/Reeves/ Heckstall-Smith) 5.38
05. Walking In The Park (from their first LP) (Bond) 3.55
06. Bolero (recorded late in 1969; previously unreleased) (Ravel) 5.28
07. Rope Ladder To The Moon (recorded late in 1969; previously unreleased) (Bruce/Brown) 3.20
08. The Grass Is Greener (recorded late in 1969; previously unreleased) (Heckstall-Smith/ Hiseman) 7.33

(1) with Chris Farlowe’s vocals overdubbed over Dave Clempson’s originals. In addition, there are extra guitar overdubs by Clempson.

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Colosseum – Transmissions – Live At The BBC (CD 1 + 2) (2020)

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Colosseum are an English jazz rock band, mixing blues, rock and jazz-based improvisation. Colin Larkin wrote that “the commercial acceptance of jazz rock in the UK” was mainly due to the band. Between 1975 and 1978 a separate band Colosseum II existed playing progressive rock.

Colosseum, one of the first bands to fuse jazz, rock and blues, were formed in early 1968 by drummer Jon Hiseman with tenor sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith, who had previously worked together in the New Jazz Orchestra and in The Graham Bond Organisation, where Hiseman had replaced Ginger Baker in 1966. They met up again early in 1968 when they both played in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, during which time they played on the Bare Wires album. Childhood friend Dave Greenslade was quickly recruited on organ, as was bass player Tony Reeves who had also known both Hiseman and Greenslade since being teenage musicians in South East London. The band’s line-up was completed, after lengthy auditions, by Jim Roche on guitar and James Litherland (guitar and vocals), although Roche only recorded one track before departing.

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Their first album, Those Who Are About to Die Salute You, which opened with the Bond composition “Walkin’ in the Park”, was released by the Philips’ Fontana label in early 1969. In March the same year they were invited to take part in Supershow, a two-day filmed jam session, along with Modern Jazz Quartet, Led Zeppelin, Jack Bruce, Roland Kirk Quartet, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, and Juicy Lucy.

Colosseum’s second album, later in 1969, was Valentyne Suite, notable as the first release on Philip’s newly launched Vertigo label, established to sign and develop artists that did not fit the main Philips’ brand, and the first label to sign heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath.

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For the third album, The Grass Is Greener, released only in the United States in 1970, Dave “Clem” Clempson replaced James Litherland. Louis Cennamo then briefly replaced Tony Reeves on bass, but was replaced in turn by Mark Clarke within a month. Then Hiseman recruited vocalist Chris Farlowe to enable Clempson to concentrate on guitar. This lineup had already partly recorded the 1970 album Daughter of Time.

In March 1971, the band recorded concerts at the Big Apple Club in Brighton and at Manchester University. Hiseman was impressed with the atmosphere at the Manchester show, and the band returned five days later for a free concert that was also recorded. The recordings were released as a live double album Colosseum Live in 1971. In October 1971 the original band broke up. (wikipedia)

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“This is the BBC Radio 1 Service. We proudly present one of the world’s greatest bands… Colosseum!” Fans tuning into their wireless sets during the great age of progressive rock would have been thrilled to hear the announcer introduce one of their favourite bands about to hit the airwaves. They wouldn’t be disappointed. Few bands played with such power, fire and intensity whether in a club, at a festival or even in the confines of a radio station studio. Led by drumming legend Jon Hiseman, Colosseum was guaranteed to give an exciting performance as soon as the red recording light went on and the engineer gave the thumbs up. Even so, it seemed like a fleeting moment, once the broadcasts were over, never to be heard again. But here is the exciting news.

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Many of the shows when Colosseum roared into epic arrangements like ‘Walking In The Park,’ ‘Daughter Of Time’, ‘Tanglewood ’63’ and ‘Rope Ladder To The Moon’ were captured on tape for posterity, not only by the BBC but by listeners armed with their own home recorders. So now it is Repertoire’s turn to proudly announce the release of an amazing 6CD set Transmissions Live At The BBC featuring shows like John Peel’s ‘Top Gear’ and ‘Sounds Of The 70s’, and comprising some 60 tracks recorded between 1969 and 1971. We hear the earliest version of Colosseum with founder members Jon Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Dave Greenslade and Tony Reeves joined by guitarist/vocalist James Litherland. Later classic line-ups include Dave Clempson on guitar with Chris Farlowe (vocals) and Mark Clarke (bass) with guest appearances by Barbara Thompson (sax/flute) and the New Jazz Orchestra. This vast treasure trove of material has been rescued from the BBC and Colosseum archives, along with rare recordings by fans and enthusiasts. It has been painstaking collected, collated, restored and digitalised by the combined forces of historian and archivist Colin Harper, Jon’s daughter Ana Gracey and Repertoire’s own audio genius the mighty Eroc. With liner notes by Repertoire’s Chris Welch including new interviews with Dave Greenslade, Tony Reeves and Chris Farlowe, this promises to be the biggest classic rock album release of the year. So ‘The Machine Demands A Sacrifice’? Here it is! (press release)

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I have just taken delivery of this set & am very impressed. I haven’t listened to a note though – that goes without saying. What I wish to comment on is the packaging. The box is beautifully made & the 6 discs & booklet fit snugly so whole thing takes up a minimum of space (& apart from the actual discs, contains no plastic) so it will easily be stored with other CDs. Would that all CD boxed sets were like this. (The Duckmeister)

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Superb collection of high class radio broadcasts. Brings me back to those fabulous days when I heard them when first broadcast when I was a teenager. Brilliant music. (Bob Mitchell)

Without any doubts: a must for every serious Colosseum collector !

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Personnel:

From Top Gear Januar 1969 to Radio 1 Jazz Workshop July 1969:
Dave Greenslade (organ, vibraphone)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
Jon Hiseman (drums)
James Litherland (guitar, vocals)
Tony Reeves (bass)
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Barbara Thompson (saxophone, flute on Top Gear July 1969)

from Top Gear November 1969 to Sounds of the 70’s April 1970:
Dave Clempson (guitar, vocals)
Dave Greenslade (organ, vibraphone)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
Jon Hiseman (drums)
Tony Reeves (bass)
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Barbara Thompson (saxophone, flute on Top Gear November 1969

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Tracklist:

CD 1:

Top Gear, 19 January 1969:
01. The Road She Walked Before (Heckstall-Smith) 2.51
02. Backwater Blues (Leadbetter) 5.01
03. A Whiter Shade Of Powell (Pale) (Brooker/Bach) 2.46

Symonds On Sunday, 16 March 1969:
04. Walking In The Park (Bond) 3.23
05. Interview with Jon Hiseman 1.00
06.Beware The Ides Of March (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 4.08
07. Plenty Hard Luck (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 2.41

Johnnie Walker, 24 May 1969:
08. Elegy (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 3.04
08. Walking In The Park (Bond) 4.19
10. Butty’s Blues (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 5.59
11. I Can’t Live Without You (Litherland) 4.48

Top Gear, 6 July 1969:
12. Elegy (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 2,51
13. The Grass Is Greener (Heckstall-Smith/Hiseman) 7.25
14. Hiseman’s condensed history of mankind 2.30
15. February’s Valentyne (Heckstall-Smith/Hiseman(Greenslade) 6.18

Symonds On Sunday, 20 July 1969:
16. Elegy (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 3.07
17. The Road She Walked Before (Heckstall-Smith) 2.24
18. Walking In The Park (Bond) 3.41
19. Butty’s Blues (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 3.12

CD 2:

Radio 1 Jazz Workshop, 17 July 1969:
01. Elegy (take 1) (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 3:01
02. I Can’t Live Without You (Litherland) 4.45
03. Walking In The Park (Bond) 4.17
04. Those About To Die (take 1) (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 6.29
05. Butty’s Blues (take 1) (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 6.50
06. Mandarin (Reeves/Greenslade) 6.32
07. The Grass Is Greener (Heckstall-Smith/Hiseman) 2.02

Top Gear, 22 November 1969:
08. Interview with Dick Heckstall-Smith 1.41
09. Lost Angeles (Greenslade/Heckstall-Smith)  8.47
10. Arthur’s Moustache  6.26

Unknown Session late 1969 / early 1970:
11. Jumping Off The Sun (Taylor/Tomlin) 3.29
12. Theme For An Imaginary Western (Bruce/Brown) 3.57
13. Take Me Back To Doomsday (Greenslade/Clempson/Hiseman) 2.32
14 Lost Angeles (partial) (Farlowe/Greenslade/Heckstall-Smith) 1.28
15. Angle 3:52
16. The Machine Demands A Sacrifice (Hiseman) 2.44

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Box front + backcover:
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Coming soon: CD 3 + 4, 5+ 6 + booklet

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Colosseum – Live `71 (2020)

FrontCover1Colosseum was one of the most exciting British rock bands of the 70s and while they made fine studio albums, notably the classic Those Who Are About To Die (1969), it was on the road, playing night after night to devoted fans, that the group led by master drummer Jon Hiseman really came – alive! Mercifully, thanks to skilled recording engineers, many of their best shows were captured on tape. This superb collection of live performances reveals Colosseum blasting at full strength and with extraordinary power and passion. This 3LP set is packed with alternative versions of many of their most iconic songs and arrangements. Keyboard player Dave Greenslade and other past members of the band explain how Colosseum developed its sound and style in extensive liner notes by Repertoire’s Chris Welch, a rock journalist who saw the band from their earliest days onwards. Colosseum was truly great live in 1971. Thanks to this treasure house of high-quality recordings, professionally restored by digital craftsman Eroc, the band comes alive and kicking for us to enjoy 50 years later. (Press release)

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The first thing that strikes you about this new 2CD live album from Colosseum, professionally recorded across several shows in early 1971, is how sensational it sounds. Vibrant, clear, sparkling, dynamic and alive. Mixing/mastering engineer Eroc (one Joachim Ehrig, a pro recording artist in bands and solo, as Eroc, from the 70s to the 90s, now a mastering maestro) has done an astounding job!

It’s a blistering performance, too. For those who don’t know much about Colosseum, their sound is – to my mind – part of a peculiarly British sort of jazz/rock blend, involving the likes of brass, Hammond and vibraphones, that thrived briefly for roughly a year either side of 1970. It’s a sound world that had its origins in the Graham Bond Organisation of the middle 60s – in which Colosseum mainstays Jon Hiseman (drums) and Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxes) both played – was influenced by the absurdist songwriting of Pete Brown with Jack Bruce in Cream, and that was developed by Jack Bruce’s ‘Songs for a Tailor’ (1969) album arrangements (again, featuring both Hiseman and DHS) and his 1971 touring band (which reunited him with Bond), by the Keef Hartley Band (a briefly flourishing drummer-led band with horn section), by Neil Ardley’s New Jazz Orchestra (which collaborated with Colosseum on some live shows), by the first two albums by jazz/rock arranger Michael Gibbs (1970-71) and his live band, and by one or two other acts of that brief period. It wasn’t ‘jazz-rock’ as represented by the likes of Nucleus in Britain or the Mahavishnu Orchestra in the US; rather, it was a kind of progressive rock music with jazz players and influences involved and, in Hartley and Colosseum’s cases, based more around songs than instrumentals.

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If this new 2CD is so sensational, one might ask why it has languished so long in the late Colosseum bandleader Jon Hiseman’s archive, although really that question refers specifically to Disc 1, recorded live at a university in Canterbury on 12 February 1971. Let me explain…

During a British tour in early 1971, Colosseum, with doubtful enthusiasm from their management and label, set about recording shows with the Granada mobile, with the intention of capturing their onstage magic, and a clutch of hitherto unrecorded numbers, on a live album (Jon feeling their three studio albums to that point had lacked something of this). In Jon’s 2010 autobiography ‘Playing the Band’, it is explained that while nobody could by then recall how many shows had been recorded, the first was at Canterbury, the third was at Manchester University on 13 March, there was another at Manchester University on 18 March and the final recording was made at the Big Apple in Brighton on 27 March. Somewhere in between, there had also been a recording made at Bristol. The second show in Manchester – a free gig – was put on because the band had felt the first one was below par, with a ‘huge row’ in the dressing room after, and they were desperate to try and get something good on tape.

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After the Brighton show, their manager, Gerry Bron, pulled the plug on more live recordings and Jon became despondent. However, they all listened again to the first Manchester show at Lansdowne Studios and realised it was much better than they’d reckoned at the time. Thus, five tracks from Manchester on March 13, and one from Bristol (date not given, track not identified) – according to Jon in his book, the only one from a show other than Manchester that they thought was any good – became the June 1971 double LP ‘Colosseum Live’. It would be their last album, bar a compilation of oddities, until reforming in 1994.

In Jon’s book, bar a passing mention, there is no discussion of the Canterbury show. The presumption is that, for whatever reason, it was simply not considered for release and everyone moved on to the next gig recording (and the next…).

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Emails with Eroc reveal that the original multi-track recording from Canterbury was rather weak and needed a lot of work. Clearly, his results with today’s technology would not have been possible in 1971. Indeed, the eventual ‘Colosseum Live’ 2LP that was mixed back in the day, from the first Manchester show, was often thought to be an imperfect, rather gritty presentation, albeit capturing the energy Jon was after (the 2016 Esoteric Records expanded edition of the album, remastered by Ben Wiseman, significantly enhanced the sound). So, one presumes that technical issues rather than any questions about the performance were why the Canterbury show was never considered for release in 1971, and nor for a disc’s worth of further drawings from the well of these 1971 tapes that appeared in 2009 (more of which below).

So, what’s on the new album? Well, in different order, Disc 1 comprises Canterbury versions of five of the six (Manchester) numbers on the 1971 LP – Mike Gibbs’ ‘Tanglewood ‘63’, Jack Bruce’s ‘Rope Ladder to the Moon’, Graham Bond’s ‘Walking in the Park’ and band originals ‘Skellington’ and ‘Lost Angeles’. The 1971 LP’s sixth number* was ‘Stormy Monday’ – famously, an entirely spontaneous encore version (after that dressing room contretemps) of the classic T-Bone Walker blues. It was immediately added to the Colosseum repertoire – but, of course, it had been absent at Canterbury. The sixth number on the Canterbury disc of the new 2CD set is a barnstorming 15-minute ‘The Machine Demands a Sacrifice’ (incorporating Jon’s ‘Time Machine’ drum solo).

(* Note: ‘I Can’t Live Without You’, recorded at the first Manchester show, was added as a seventh track to all CD versions of ‘Colosseum Live’ from 1992–2004; indeed, a 1990 Japanese CD edition of the album remains the only one to NOT feature this extra.)

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Disc 2 of the new 2CD ‘Live ‘71’ comprises five numbers over its 73 minutes (Colosseum specialising in rather long items) that have been released before in two contexts: firstly, as a live disc of previously-unreleased tracks in the 2009 4CD Colosseum box set ‘Morituri Te Salutant’, presumably mixed by Jon Hiseman and certainly mastered by Peter Reynolds; secondly, as the second disc in Esoteric’s 2016 2CD edition of ‘Colosseum Live’, mastered by Ben Wiseman. These are: ‘Rope Ladder’ and ‘Skellington’ from Brighton; ‘I Can’t Live Without You / Time Machine / The Machine Demands a Sacrifice’ from the first Manchester show (the ‘I Can’t Live’ section being the bit added to those 1992-2004 single CD editions of the original live album, mentioned earlier); ‘The Valentyne Suite’ from the second Manchester show; and ‘Stormy Monday’ from Bristol.

Is Eroc’s mastering of the items on this disc better than the previous two outings? I believe it is. Others with more time can do a more comprehensive A/B, but from a few minutes each of two tracks compared between the Esoteric release and the Repertoire one, it’s clear that there is more warmth and depth in Eroc’s mastering without sacrificing any of the presence; Wiseman’s mastering on the Esoteric release is good, but chooses to emphasise the top end, with a slight harshness (albeit plenty of punch). At the very least, Eroc brings something fresh to the tracks on this disc.

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It is Disc 1, however, the 74 minutes of magic from Canterbury, that make this release essential for anyone interested in British progressive rock. To reiterate: the performance is great and the mixing and mastering are sensational. In short, a deftly covered Chris Farlowe fluffed entry into one track aside, it’s better in my view than the released-at-the-time ‘Colosseum Live’, which is itself a classic of the era.

‘Colosseum Live ‘71’ is one of five (!) Colosseum live albums that Repertoire has just released – the others being a ‘best of the bootlegs’, from quality amateur recordings made between 1969–71 at Boston, Montreux, Turku and Rome, and newly mastered (also by Eroc). The first three of these are probably of most interest to fans, in featuring vocalist Chris Farlowe’s predecessors James Litherland and Dave Clempson along with a diversity of material. The Rome 1971 set, with Chris, comprises four numbers familiar from the pro-recorded Canterbury set. Seventies ‘Melody Maker’ personality and uber Colosseum fan Chris Welch contributes notes to all of these releases. (Colin H.

In other words: A masterpiece !

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Personnel:
Mark Clarke (bass, vocals)
Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson (guitar, background vocals)
Chris Farlowe (vocals)
Dave Greenslade (keyboards, vibraphone)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
Jon Hiseman (drums)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:

Live At Canterbury University Of Kent, 1971:
01. Tanglewood ’63 (Gibbs) 13.08
02. Rope Ladder To The Moon (Bruce/Brown) 8.39
03. Walking In The Park (Bond) 8.13
04. Skelington (Clempson/Hiseman) 13.20
05. The Machine Demands A Sacrifice (Brown/Heckstall-Smith/Hiseman/Litherland) 14.58
06. Lost Angeles (Farlowe/Greenslade/Heckstall-Smith) 15.52

CD 2:

Live In Brighton, 1971:
01. Rope Ladder To The Moon (Bruce/Brown) 11.14
02. Skelington (Clempson/Hiseman) 14.17

Live In Manchester, 1971:
03. I Can’t Live Without You (Litherland) / The Time Machine (Hiseman) / The Machine Demands A Sacrifice (Brown/Heckstall-Smith/Hiseman/Litherland) 21.36
04. The Valentyne Suite 21.12
04.1. January’s Search (reenslade/Heckstall-Smith/Hiseman)
04.2. February’s Valentyne (Greenslade/Hiseman)
04.3. The Grass Is Always Greener (Heckstall-Smith/Hiseman)
05. Stormy Monday (Walker) 5.11

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Dick Heckstall-Smith:
(September 26, 1934 – December 17, 2004)

Jon Hiseman:
(June 21, 1944 – June 12, 2018)

Brian Auger – Live At The Jazz Open Stuttgart (2009)

FrontCover1Brian Albert Gordon Auger (born 18 July 1939) is an English jazz rock and rock music keyboardist who specialises in the Hammond organ.

Auger has worked with Rod Stewart, Tony Williams, Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Eric Burdon. He incorporated jazz, early British pop, R&B, soul music, and rock into his sound. He has been nominated for a Grammy Award.

In 1965, Auger played on “For Your Love” by The Yardbirds as a session musician. That same year, Auger formed the group The Steampacket with Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll, Vic Briggs, and Rod Stewart. Due to contractual problems there were no official recordings made by the band; nevertheless, nine tracks were laid down for promotional use in late 1965 and released as an LP in 1970 in France on the BYG label. They were released on a CD by Repertoire Records in 1990 (licensed from Charly Records) as well as 12 live tracks from Live at the Birmingham Town Hall, February 2, 1964. Stewart left in early 1966 and soon thereafter the band broke up.

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With Driscoll and the band Trinity, he went on to record a cover version of David Ackles’ “Road to Cairo” and Bob Dylan’s “This Wheel’s on Fire”, which appeared on Dylan Covered. In 1969 Auger, Driscoll, and Trinity performed in the United States on the NBC special 33⅓ Revolutions Per Monkee.

In 1970, he formed the jazz fusion ensemble Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express shortly after abandoning the abortive “Wassenaar Arrangement” jazz rock commune in a small suburb of The Hague. Oblivion Express cultivated the talents of several notable musicians, including Average White Band drummers Robbie McIntosh and Steve Ferrone, as well as guitarist Jim Mullen. In 1971 Auger produced and appeared on Mogul Thrash’s only album, Mogul Thrash. Two members of that band, Roger Ball and Malcolm Duncan, would go on to form the Average White Band.

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Auger toured with Kim Simmonds, Gregg Errico, and Tim Bogert in the mid-1980s in a band they called Maestro. No album resulted from this collaboration and tour. In 1986, he played keyboards for the Italian singer Mango on the album Odissea.
Brian Auger after a show at the Cabaret de Monte-Carlo with bassist-arranger Pino Presti in 2006

In 1989, Auger was musical director for the thirteen-part film retrospective series Villa Fantastica made for German TV. A live recording of the series, Super Jam (1990), features Auger on piano, Pete York on drums, Dick Morrissey on tenor saxophone, Roy Williams on trombone, Harvey Weston on bass guitar, and singers Zoot Money and Maria Muldaur.

Auger toured with Eric Burdon in the early 1990s and recorded the live album Access All Areas with him in 1993. Oblivion Express was revived in 2005 with recording and touring. The group featured Brian Auger, his son Karma Auger on drums, his daughter Savannah Auger on vocals, and Derek Frank on bass.

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In 2012, Auger released Language of the Heart, one of the few solo albums of his career, produced by Tea. It features Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Julian Coryell on guitars.

In 2014, Auger was invited by producer Gerry Gallagher to record with El Chicano as well as Alphonse Mouzon, David Paich, Alex Ligertwood, Ray Parker Jr., Lenny Castro, Vikki Carr, Pete Escovedo, Peter Michael Escovedo, Jessy J, Salvador Santana, Marcos J. Reyes, Siedah Garrett, Walfredo Reyes Jr., and Spencer Davis. In the same year, Brian Auger and Oblivion Express played at the KJAZZ festival in Los Angeles, and toured in Japan and Europe with Karma Auger on drums, daughter Ali Auger on vocals, Alex Ligertwood on vocals, Yarone Levy on guitar, Les King on bass, and Travis Carlton on bass. (wikipedia)

Brian Auger

And here´s another high energy live recording. Brian Auger was and is really hot !

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Personnel:
Brian Auger (organ)
Karma D.Auger (drums, background vocals)
Savannah Auger (vocals)
Andreas Geck (bass)

Savannah AugerTracklist:
01. Freedom Jazz Dance (Harris) 6.20
02. Truth (Ligertwood) 6.51
03. Straight Ahead (Dean) 6.28
04. Season Of The Witch (Leitch) 7.20
05. Indian Rope Man (Price/Roth/Havens) 10.00
06. Bumpin’ On Sunset (Montgomery) 7.31
07. Whenever You’re Ready (Auger/Dean) 8.45
08. Light My Fire ((Morrison/Krieger/Densmore/Manzarek) 6.35

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Jean-Luc Ponty – Live At The La Paloma Theater, Encinitas (1976)

FrontCover1It has been a long, fascinating odyssey for Jean-Luc Ponty, who started out as a straight jazz violinist only to become a pioneer of the electric violin in jazz-rock in the ’70s and an inspired manipulator of sequencers and synthesizers in the ’80s. At first merely amplifying his violin in order to be heard, he switched over to electric violin and augmented it with devices that were associated with electric guitarists and keyboardists, like Echoplex machines, distortion boxes, phase shifters, and wah-wah pedals. Classically trained, with an unquenchable ability to swing when he wants to, and consumed by a passion for tight structures and repeating ostinatos, Ponty has been able to handle styles as diverse as swing, bop, free and modal jazz, jazz-rock, world music, and even country, mixing them up at will. Starting in 1977, he also pioneered the use of a five-string electric violin with a low C string. Undoubtedly, he rivals Stéphane Grappelli for the title of the most prominent and influential European jazz violinist. (by Richard S. Ginell)

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Jazz fusion by itself is already a vast field. Violin jazz fusion might narrow things down somewhat and Jean-Luc Ponty stands out among its practitioners. Ponty might have been trained in classical music but under the influence of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, he switched to jazz and for someone who has played on John McLaughlin/Mahavishnu Orchestra albums, he certainly needs no introduction. And anyone who is endorsed by Frank Zappa is certainly worth at least a listen.

The mid-’70s was a fruitful period for Jean Luc Ponty. In May 1975, he released Upon The Wings of Music. He recorded Aurora in December 1975 and got it out in February 1976; and before the year was out, he had released Imaginary Voyage.

Thanks to ledwhofloyd for sharing the show at Dime

Recorded live at the La Paloma Theater, Encinitas, CA; October 23, 1976
(Early Show). Very good soundboard

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Personnel:
Mark Craney (drums)
Tom Fowler (bass)
Jean-Luc Ponty (violin)
Daryl Stuermer (guitar)
Alan Zavod (keyboards)

PontyTracklist:
01. Imaginary Voyage 25.39
02. Passengers Of The Dark 10.21
03. Renaissance 8.51
04. Question With No Answer 6.09
05. Lost Forest 9.19
06. Wandering On The Milky Way 3.54
07. Aurora 13.18
08. New Country 4.01
09. Tarantula 3.05

Music composed by Jean-Luc Ponty

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Nguyen Le – Songs Of Freedom (2011)

FrontCover1Nguyên Lê (Vietnamese: Lê Thành Nguyên; born 14 January 1959) is a French jazz musician and composer of Vietnamese ancestry. His main instrument is guitar, and he also plays bass guitar and guitar synthesizer.

He has released albums as a leader and as a sideman. His 1996 album Tales from Viêt-Nam blends jazz and traditional Vietnamese music. Nguyên Lê has performed with Randy Brecker, Vince Mendoza, Eric Vloeimans, Carla Bley, Michel Portal, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Per Mathisen, Marc Johnson, Peter Erskine, Trilok Gurtu, Paolo Fresu and Dhafer Youssef.

In spring 2011 he released Songs of Freedom, an album with cover versions of pop hits from the 1970s. (wikipedia)

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For over twenty years, Nguyên Lê has collaborated with a growing cadre of like-minded musicians—mostly Paris-based, where the guitarist of Vietnamese origins resides—building a body of work that is, in the truest sense of the word, “world music.” From the Afro-centric band Ultramarine, and exploration of his own roots on the seminal Tales from Vietnam (ACT, 1996), to recent explorations of a nexus where programming and spontaneity meet on Homescape (ACT, 2006), Lê has carved out a unique space—often fusion-like in its electricity and energy, but avoiding the negative connotations; undeniably jazz-centric, too, but largely eschewing overt references to traditionalism. These days, plenty of jazzers draw on pop music, but you’d be hard-pressed to find another taking a crack at one of the 1960s’ most iconic—and, often, reviled—songs, Iron Butterfly’s “In A Gadda Da Vida,” as Lê does on Songs of Freedom.

Musicians

With an unorthodox core quartet, reliant on mallet instruments for much of its chordal support, Lê tackles other ’60s chestnuts, like Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”—which, after a seemingly non sequitur introduction, filled with thundering percussion and wailing voices, turns relatively faithful, albeit at a brisker pace and with an uncharacteristic complexity of percussive detail. But once singer Himiko Paganotti gets past the first verse and chorus, the harmonic center shifts, and suddenly, with vibraphonist Illya Amar layering a shifting cushion of chords over bassist Linley Marthe’s lithe underpinning, the song turns into an odd-metered solo feature for Lê, his mesh of oriental microtonality and occidental grit and grease moving in parallel with background vocal percussion, leading to a knotty, thundering finale.

As for “In A Gadda Da Vida,” sure, its near-Jungian riff remains intact, but delivered on marimba, and driven by drummer Stéphane Galland’s lithe 17/8 pulse, there’s none of the Nguyên Lê02original’s gravitas, as Lê takes its preexisting Indo-centricity further, giving it an idiosyncratic arrangement; its chorus gradually building to staggering contrapuntal confluence and impressive solos from Lê and Amar, before a newly composed section leads to an ostinato-driven drum solo that avoids all the clichés of the original…all in a nice, compact five minutes.

Elsewhere, Lê tackles The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” with Youn Sun Nah making one of two guest appearances (the other, a tabla and konnakol-driven version of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” ), the guitarist’s swirling, ethereal guitar lines supporting the singer during an extended intro before the band enters, eastern linearity meeting western harmonies in Guo Gan’s erhu and Lê’s electric guitar, for a more subdued yet undeniably grooving album opener.

When it comes to interpreting music in a jazz context, freedom more often than not means improvisational freedom, and to be sure, Songs of Freedom has plenty of that. But clearly, for Lê, the concept has more to do with an unfettered prerogative to draw on what, in many cases, are the simplest of song forms, as grist for far more elaborate compositional reworks filled with pointillist detail. Songs of Freedom combines heartfelt respect with absolute irreverence, breathing an utterly different kind of life into these songs, four decades after they first hit the airwaves. (John Kelman)

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Personnel:
Illya Amar (vibraphone, marimba, electronics)
Stéphane Galland (drums)
Nguyên Lê (guitar, electronics)
Electric Bass, Vocals – Linley Marthe (bass, vocals)
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David Binney (saxophone on 09.)
Keyvan Chemirani (goblet drum)
Erhu (guo gan  on 01.)
Ousman Danedjo (vocals on 01., 02., 05., 07. +15.)
Prabhu Edouard (tabla, vocals on 10.)
Stéphane Edouard (percussion on 01., 02., 04., 09., 12. vocals on 02.)
Hamid El Kasri (guimbri)
David Linx (vocals on 02., 07., 09. + 15.)
Youn Sun Nah (vocals on 01., 10.)
Himiko Paganotti (vocals on 02., 05., 07., 12. + 15.)
Julia Sarr (vocals on 07., 11. + 15.)
Chris Speed (clarinet on 15.)
Dhafer Youssef (vocals on 03., 04.)
K. Ziad (percussion on 05., 10., 12., drums on 12.)

LinerNotes

Tracklist:
01. Eleanor Rigby ( Lennon/McCartney) 6.59
02. I Wish (Wonder) 5.46
03. Ben Zeppelin (Youssef/Lê) 0.52
04. Black Dog (Page/Baldwin/Plant) 6.18
05. Pastime Paradise (Wonder) 8.01
06. Uncle Ho’s Benz (Lê) 0.40
07.Mercedes Benz (Joplin) 6.21
08. Over The Rainforest (Lê) 0.36
09. Move Over (Joplin) 6.56
10. Whole Lotta Love (Page/Baldwin/Bonham/Plant) 5.16
11. Redemption Song (Marley) 5.26
12. Sunshine Of Your Love (Bruce/Brown/Clapton) 4.42
13. In A Gadda Da Vida (Ingle) 5.25
14. Topkapi (Lê) 0.43
15. Come Together (Lennon/McCartney) 5.47

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The official website:
Website

Passport – Handmade (1973)

FrontCover1Passport is the creation of saxophonist Klaus Doldinger, who has stated that Passport is not so much a set group but a label and a name for his many projects. Doldinger, who had started out playing Dixieland back in the 1950s, by the following decade was a modern tenor saxophonist who also worked in the studios. His mind has always remained quite open and in 1970 he formed Passport to explore the combination of advanced jazz improvising with rockish rhythms. Passport matches Doldinger’s reeds (tenor, soprano, flute, and occasional keyboards) with an electric rhythm section. The group’s first recording (1971’s Passport) also included Olaf Kübler on second tenor and flute, organist Jimmy Jackson, electric bassist Lother Meid, and drummer Udo Lindenberg.

Passport

Soon the group went through the first of many complete turnovers. The mid-’70s version usually teamed Doldinger with keyboardist Kristian Schultze, electric bassist Wolfgang Schmid, and drummer Curt Cress, and by 1978 the group had changed drastically again. However, no matter who was in the rhythm section, Klaus Doldinger’s lead voice and his band’s musical direction remained consistent through the years. Passport has released numerous albums, initially for Atlantic and subsequently via recordings and reissues for WEA and its subsidiaries and licensees, through into the 21st century, including 1996’s Passport to Paradise, 1997’s Passport Control (on Connoisseur), 1998’s Move, 2000’s Passport Live, and 2003’s Back to Brazil. (by Scott Yanow)

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Here is their 4th album:

This 1973 album is another great recording from German jazz rock band Passport that fits nicely with the definitive albums released by from the band including Looking Thru (1974) and Cross Collateral (1975). As a fan of progressive rock and jazz rock I personally find their interpretation of the jazz rock style very enjoyable.

The lineup on Handmade includes bandleader Klaus Doldinger (tenor and soprano saxophones, mini-moog synthesizer, electric piano, and mellotron); Frank Roberts (Fender electric piano and Hammond organ); the great Curt Cress (drums); and Wolfgang Schmid (electric bass guitar and guitars). The album was produced by none other than Deiter Derks, who worked with a number of German experimental rock groups (e.g. Cosmic Jokers etc.).

The playing on this album is excellent and is in keeping with what you might expect from an instrumental jazz rock album: superb ensemble work and excellent soloing on saxophones, electric piano and other instruments associated with the genre.

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However, there is the prog rock side of the equation too, which includes spacier sections played on the mellotron/mini-moog synthesizer, harmonies/melodies associated with European prog rock, and on occasion, some heavy riffs played in unison on several instruments. Come to think of it, there are also some fairly psychedelic/experimental sections too. I find the overall combination very appealing. The seven tracks on the album range in length from 2:39 to the lengthy title track (9:26).

This album is recommended to those folks that like their jazz rock on the proggier side. Other albums by Passport that might prove enjoyable include Looking Thru and Cross-Collateral , which present a refinement of the basic formula presented on Handmade. Other bands operating in a similar vein include Return to Forever ( Where Have I Known You Before , 1974 and Romantic Warrior , 1976). (J.Park)

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Personnel:
Curt Cress (drums)
Klaus Doldinger (saxophone, piano, mellotron)
Frank Roberts (keyboards)
Wolfgang Schmid (bass, guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Abracadabra 7.23
02. The Connexion 5.38
03. Yellow Dream 4.22
04. Proclamation 2.42
05. Hand Made 9.31
06. Puzzle 4.08
07. The Quiet Man 4.37
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08, Handmade (live Doldinger Jubilee Concert 1974) 6.10

Music composed by Klaus Doldinger

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Neil Larsen – Through Any Window (1987)

FrontCover1Neil Larsen (born August 7, 1948) is an American jazz keyboardist, musical arranger and composer. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in Sarasota, Florida before relocating to New York and then, in 1977, Los Angeles.

Larsen was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in Sarasota, Florida. He learned piano, drawing inspiration from jazz artists John Coltrane, Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Quartet, and from contemporary rock acts.

In 1969, he was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War. During his time in Vietnam, he worked as a band director, co-ordinating musical entertainment for US armed forces personnel. After his discharge, he moved to New York to work as a musician.

While in New York in the early 1970s, Larsen wrote television jingles and played on sessions for various recording artists He formed the band Full Moon with jazz guitarist Buzz Feiten, and their self-titled debut album was released in 1972. Larson was briefly a member of the Soul Survivors. He contributed as keyboardist, writer and arranger on their 1974 self-titled album on the TSOP label. He began touring as a member of Gregg Allman’s band in 1975.

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In 1977, Larsen relocated to Los Angeles, where he played on sessions by producers such as Tommy LiPuma, Russ Titelman and Herb Alpert. These projects led to Larsen signing with Alpert’s record company, A&M Records, for which he recorded on the Horizon label. Larsen’s first album, Jungle Fever, was released in September 1978. Larsen toured the US in support of the release with a band that included Feiten.

The title track from his second album, High Gear, was nominated for the 1980 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. The album peaked at number 153 on the Billboard Top LPs & Tape chart in the US and included musical contributions from Feiten, Michael Brecker, Steve Gadd and Paulinho da Costa.

Larsen collaborated further with Feiten in the jazz–rock fusion groups the Larsen Facts Band and the Larsen-Feiten Band. The latter released The Larsen-Feiten Band in 1980 on Warner Bros. Records. He has also recorded and toured with guitarist Robben Ford, who contributed to Larsen’s 2007 album Orbit.

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His compositions have also been recorded by George Benson and Gregg Allman, among others. Larsen took part in Miles Davis’s Rubberband sessions in 1985–86. His song “Carnival” was later adapted by Davis into the piece “Carnival Time”.

Larsen has worked as a session musician for many rock artists, including Rickie Lee Jones, George Harrison, Kenny Loggins and Don McLean. He was the pianist and musical arranger for the 20th Century Fox Television show Boston Legal, and musical director for jazz singer Al Jarreau.

From 2008, he toured and recorded as a member of Leonard Cohen’s band. Larsen performed on Cohen’s Old Ideas album and on the singer’s final world tour, in 2012–13. Cohen regularly introduced him on stage as “today’s foremost exponent of the Hammond B-3 organ”. (wikipedia)

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Through Any Window is the fourth solo album by Neil Larsen, released in 1987

Neil Larsen is a great keyboardist and composer and his 2 previous efforts are among the few fusion records released in the 70s that hold up after time. This was largely due to Neil’s avoiding the trendy synth stuff and using a Hammond organ as his instrument of choice. His partner, guitarist, Buzz Feiten also contributed his stellar talents to these recordings to make them even more enduring. This Cd released in the late 80s suffers from some of the synth crazy sounds he had previously avoided, but still has its moments which include a searing tenor solo from Michael Brecker on “Carnival” and great playing once again from Larsen and Feiten. (A.E. Pagano)

And the best track is a cover version of the classic Booker T. Jones & The MG´s tune “Hip Hug-Her” … hot, very hot …

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Personnel:
Lenny Castro (percussion)
Nathan East (bass)
Buzz Feiten (guitar)
Steve Ferrone (drums)
Neil Larsen (keyboards)
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Michael Brecker (saxophone on 01.)
Brandon Fields (saxophone on 07. + 09.)
Stephen ‘Doc’ Kupka (saxophone on 07.)
Steve Lukather (guitar on 04.)
Ricky Minor (bass on 04.+ 06.)
David Sanborn (saxophone on 05.)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Carnival 3.59
02. Alborada 4.00
03. Miss Baby Larue 4.39
04. Blind Spot 5.04
05. Tonar 4.04
06. Tropic Lightning 4.37
07. Last Call 3.43
08. Through Any Window 4.41
09. Hip Hug-Her 4.29

Music composed by Neil Larsen
except 09., written by Steve Cropper – Donald Dunn – Al Jackson Jr. – Booker T. Jones

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The Mark Almond Band – The Last & Live (1981)

FrontCover1Mark-Almond was a British folk-rock-jazz band formed in 1970 by acoustic guitarist Jon Mark and saxophonist and flutist Johnny Almond.

The two met and came to appreciate each other in 1969 as band members of John Mayall, with whom they recorded the albums The Turning Point and Empty Rooms in 1969.

The Mark-Almond Band, which initially included bassist Roger Sutton and keyboardist Tommy Eyre, underwent several line-up changes and minor name changes over the years: “Jon Mark/Johnny Almond”, “The Mark/Almond Band”, “Jon Mark/Mark-Almond Band” and “Mark-Almond Band”. (wikipedia)

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It was the band that couldn’t be; it was the age of the British headliners, and they were the loudest the world had ever heard. Some had been around for a while like The Who, some were relative new-comers like Led Zeppelin. All of a sudden, a band appeared that wasn’t louder than it had to be, and they didn’t even have a drummer. But as soon as they had built an audience with their often-times melancholy songs where the lyrics were important and heart-felt although a bit sentimental at times, they brought in the speediest drummer of all, the veteran of many formations around the great Charles Mingus, none other than Dannie Richmond. Still, the gentle sounds of the vibraphone and the acoustic guitars, the flutes and the flügelhorn dominated, and Mark-Almond survived for almost two decades, five vinyl albums’ worth with a few left-overs and live tracks to surface after it was all over.

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Johnny Almond, Tommy Eyre, Roger Sutton, Ken Craddock and Dannie Richmond are no longer with us, and Jon Mark retired to New Zealand. Some of the members have disappeared without a trace but what hasn’t disappeared is the large audience which regroups as time goes on, fascinated by a rare combination of lyricism, energy, virtuosity and by whatever else defines Mark-Almond’s as mindful music.

In acknowledgment of the influence of the blues, Jon Mark, in 1971, had produced a tribute album to Robert Johnson, who was known as “The King of the Delta Blues Singers”; here, among others, Jon Mark brought in his oldest friend, fellow guitarist Alun Davies who had played with him in Mark-Almond’s predecessor, “Sweet Thursday”.

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More solo work followed after the band’s demise;

“Stay”, now out on vinyl, being just one of a few more.

After the loss of his left-hand ring finger in an accident in Hawaii in 1972, Jon switched to keyboard; his composing style went through several permutations, beginning with “The Standing Stones of Callanish” and continuing with a vast output for the next two decades. (Eckart Rahn)

Mark Almond05I’ve been a fan of the Mark-Almond band for decades. Their work was hard enough to find on LPs. I heard them live in NYC and just fell in love with their breathy jazz. LOTS of instruments. Great horns and Guitars. Their studio albums are great but it’s on the live tracks they really stretch out and give new life to old songs. The selection on this live album is some of their best and live just makes them even better. The Last & Live is a great addition to any (jazz) collection. (Mike Walker)

Mark-Almond are among the most UNDER rated band ever in memory … listen to “The City” and you´ll know what I mean.

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Personnel:
Johnny Almond (saxophone/flute)
Jon Mark (guitar, vocals)
Dave Marotta (bass)
Carlos Rios (guitar)
Mark Ross (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Then I Have You 6.15
02. You Look Just Like A Girl Again 4.49
03. Lonely Girl 8.59
04. Other People´s Rooms 4.44.

05. The Ciy: 30.14.
05.1. New York State Of Mind 3.34
05.2. The City – Part 1 11.28
05.3. The City – Part 2 / New York State Of Mind 14.56

06. Girl On Table Four 5.10
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07. The Last & Live (uncut edition) 1.01.29

All songs written by Jon Mark
except New York State Of Mind written by Billy Joel

My copy was pressed in white vinyl:

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