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Progressive Rock - Released November 27, 2020 | Repertoire Records (UK) Limited

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Rock - Released September 1, 2008 | Castle Communications

One of England's prime jazz-rock -- or, more accurately, rock-jazz -- outfits, most of the members of Colosseum had apprenticed in blues bands, and it shows very strongly on some of the material here. Both "The Kettle" and "Butty's Blues" are essentially tarted-up 12-bar blues, although they work well in a grander context; in the latter case much grander, as a brass ensemble enters for the last part, drowning out everything but the guitar, an indication that this recording is in dire need of remastering. "Elegy" is a fast-paced, minor-key blues that stretches guitarist James Litherland's vocal abilities. Things do get far more interesting with "The Machine Demands a Sacrifice," which offers solo opportunities to organist Dave Greenslade and sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith before re-emerging in what can only be called a proto-industrial style, all heavily treated clattering percussion. The album's real joy comes with "The Valentyne Suite," which takes the band out of their bluesy comfort zone into something closer to prog rock. Bandleader Jon Hiseman is a stalwart throughout, his busy drumming and fills owing far more to jazz than the studied backbeat of rock. Greenslade proves to be a largely unsung hero, his only real solo in the suite something to offer a challenge to vintage Keith Emerson, but with swing. As to criticism, bassist Tony Reeves has very little flow to his playing, which severely hampers a rhythm section that needs to be loose-limbed, and Litherland's guitar playing is formulaic, which can be fine for rock, but once outside the most straightforward parameters, he seems lost. In retrospect this might not quite the classic it seemed at the time, but it remains listenable, and for much of the time, extremely enjoyable. © Chris Nickson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 17, 2020 | Repertoire Records (UK) Limited

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Rock - Released September 17, 1971 | Castle Communications

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Rock - Released November 1, 1969 | Castle Communications

One of England's prime jazz-rock -- or, more accurately, rock-jazz -- outfits, most of the members of Colosseum had apprenticed in blues bands, and it shows very strongly on some of the material here. Both "The Kettle" and "Butty's Blues" are essentially tarted-up 12-bar blues, although they work well in a grander context; in the latter case much grander, as a brass ensemble enters for the last part, drowning out everything but the guitar, an indication that this recording is in dire need of remastering. "Elegy" is a fast-paced, minor-key blues that stretches guitarist James Litherland's vocal abilities. Things do get far more interesting with "The Machine Demands a Sacrifice," which offers solo opportunities to organist Dave Greenslade and sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith before re-emerging in what can only be called a proto-industrial style, all heavily treated clattering percussion. The album's real joy comes with "The Valentyne Suite," which takes the band out of their bluesy comfort zone into something closer to prog rock. Bandleader Jon Hiseman is a stalwart throughout, his busy drumming and fills owing far more to jazz than the studied backbeat of rock. Greenslade proves to be a largely unsung hero, his only real solo in the suite something to offer a challenge to vintage Keith Emerson, but with swing. As to criticism, bassist Tony Reeves has very little flow to his playing, which severely hampers a rhythm section that needs to be loose-limbed, and Litherland's guitar playing is formulaic, which can be fine for rock, but once outside the most straightforward parameters, he seems lost. In retrospect this might not quite the classic it seemed at the time, but it remains listenable, and for much of the time, extremely enjoyable. © Chris Nickson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 20, 2020 | Repertoire Records (UK) Limited

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Jazz - Released March 12, 2020 | Repertoire Records (UK) Limited

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Progressive Rock - Released October 2, 2020 | Repertoire Records (UK) Limited

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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | Castle Communications

Colosseum's debut 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. Those Who Are About to Die Salute You is coated with the volatile saxophone playing of Dick Heckstall-Smith, the thunderous keyboard assault of Dave Greenslade, and the bewildering guitar craft of James Litherland. Together, Colosseum skitters and glides through brisk musical spectrums of freestyle ]jazz and British blues, sometimes held tightly in place by Greenslade's Hammond organ, while other times let loose by the brilliancy of the horn and string interplay. Each song sparks its own personality and its very own energy level, giving the band instant attention upon the album's release in 1969. Not only did Colosseum sound different from other jazz fusion bands of the era, but they could easily take the unconventional elements of their style and churn them into palatable and highly significant musical thoroughfares. Some of the more compelling tracks include "Walking in the Park," led by its powerful trumpet segments, and "Pretty Hard Luck," which embarks on a stylish blues excursion with colorful keyboard sections on the periphery. "Beware the Ides of March" borrows a page out of J.S. Bach's notebook and turns his classical poignancy inside out, while "Mandarin" and "Backwater Blues" are created with the perfect jazz and blues friendship in mind, representing Colosseum's fused sound spotlessly. Best of all, the album never strays from its intensity or its creativity, the very foundation that the band is built on. Their next album, Valentyne Suite, mirrors the same instrumental congruity as Those Who Are About to Die, and is equally entertaining. © Mike DeGagne /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1970 | Castle Communications

A concept album loosely based on man's fascination and allure for war throughout the ages, Daughter of Time contains all the elements required to create a pure progressive rock album. Joining David Greenslade and Chris Farlowe is Louis Cennamo from Renaissance, who plucks away at the bass guitar with a heavy hand. A multitude of instruments combine to create a brilliant melange of music on every one of the eight songs. Vibrant spurts of trombone, trumpet, and flute are driven to the height of each song, which gives way to some implements of jazz fusion. Rich organ and vibraphone can be heard in behind "Three Score and Ten, Amen" and "Take Me Back to Doomsday" adding to the melancholy theme. Countering this are beautiful string arrangements made up of violin, viola, and cello used effectively to conjure up mood, and doing an excellent job. Even a flügelhorn is blared from time to time on top of the accentuated drums. A spoken word passage from Dick Heckstall-Smith creates an eerie aura, as his voice echoes on about the coming of the apocalypse. Colosseum's music works extremely well in that it builds suspense and reels the listener into the songs. As far as the lyrics go, they're stark and foreboding and have a medieval taste to them, coinciding with the music perfectly. Each song, all around six minutes in length, should have been longer to let the instruments play out with their illustriousness. Except for the fact that it is a short album, Daughter of Time is a sturdy example of progressive rock. © Mike DeGagne /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 17, 2020 | Repertoire Records (UK) Limited

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Jazz - Released February 14, 2020 | Repertoire Records (UK) Limited

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Rock - Released September 1, 2008 | Castle Communications

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Jazz - Released March 24, 2020 | Repertoire Records (UK) Limited

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Jazz - Released March 24, 2020 | Repertoire Records (UK) Limited

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 12, 2021 | Freefall Records

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Rock - Released September 1, 2008 | Castle Communications

This is genuine mind-expanding music that doesn't quit, and even better yet, it expands the perceptions and the range of thought in several dimensions at once -- something nearly unthinkable to consider when listening to any '60s or early-'70s music in the 21st century. And the whole context is totally unexpected. Who would ever imagine that, when Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies formed Blues Incorporated in 1962, someday the group would spawn a virtuoso prog rock band like Colosseum, whose work owed so much to those blues roots? That's the first thought likely to flash through your head when listening to the first of a brace of Dick Heckstall-Smith saxophone solos, or the equivalent moments by James Litherland or Dave Clempson on guitar, on An Introduction to Colosseum. The 72-minute compilation carries listeners across the group's four albums and sounds ranging from soulful, jazz-influenced instrumentals to the funkier pieces on their second and third albums, as well as their magnum opus as a progressive rock outfit, "Valentyne Suite." You'll probably be struck instantly by the amazing array of bold (yet not flashy) virtuosity in jazz, soul, blues, hard rock, and elements of classical that are on display, and instantly perceive the link with the early-'60s British blues embodied by Korner, Davies, Heckstall-Smith, et al. Colosseum represented a solution to a problem that a lot of listeners, writers, and music scholars had given up on as hopeless (and not necessarily worth reviving), revealing how blues could make the leap to larger musical contexts. When Chess Records tried it with Rotary Connection or those psychedelic Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf albums, or the Rolling Stones did Their Satanic Majesties Request, it seemed as though blues-rock had run into a dead end in trying to merge with larger musical forms, but the range of material here -- very obviously connected to the same source from whence the Stones sprang -- proves that there was a way to make that leap without losing the appeal of the original source. The two live cuts at the end of the disc (including Jack Bruce's "Rope Ladder to the Moon") from the group's concert album on the Bronze label also show how good this group could sound on-stage -- a little loud at times, but still cohesive and intense. As a single-CD anthology, it's difficult to imagine too many releases outdoing this one, and as it promises an "introduction" to the group, its reach never exceeds its grasp or its ambitions. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 24, 2020 | Repertoire Records (UK) Limited

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Metal - Released May 1, 2011 | Firebox Music

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Metal - Released October 3, 2008 | Firebox Music