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Colosseum - Valentyne Suite CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.22 | 450 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The second release of Colosseum has entered the history of progressive rock for the suite of the second side, written in large part by the keyboardist Greenslade.

On the first side we listen to four songs that, to tell the truth, are not very different from those of the previous album, apart from the first one, "The Kettle" (7,5/8), written by Heckstall-Smith and Hiseman, whose beginning is marked by a decidedly heavy guitar (Litherland), which also distinguishes the rest of the piece. Here the group tries a fusion between blues, jazz and hard-rock. The shorter "Elegy" (three minutes, 7+) and the subsequent "Butty's Blues" are both written by Litherland, which is new respect the first record. "Elegy" has a nice rhythm and a good saxophone solo, but overall it's a minor piece, a filler. "Butty's Blues" is much more consistent, in which Litherland's singing dialogues with the group's fiatistic jazz, which in some points reaches daring dissonances. The ending has a very pompous orchestral crescendo but which ends in fading (vote 7,5/8). "The Machine Demands A Sacrifice" (written by Litherland, Brown, Smith and Hiseman, vote 7) after a great start, suddenly vanishes, but then continue with a long unconvincing instrumental tail. Vote side A: 7,5/8. On balance, the first side of the debut album is better than this.

Second Side. Here's to you the famous "The Valentyne's Suite" (almost 17 minutes, vote 8,5 / 9). "Theme One: January's Search" (6:25) is very good, with continuous changes of rhythm and atmosphere. The second piece, "Theme Two: February's Valentyne" (3:33), shorter and quieter, is a reworking preparation for the third movement, "Theme Three: The Grass Is Always Greener" (6:55) where the rhythm gradually grows, the main melody is resumed, and finally we arrive at the paroxysmal climax obtained through an unstoppable progression of the guitar (Litherland) supported by a wild section rhythmic (Hiseman and Reeves). It all ends, after a pause, with the resumption of the initial melody again. Masterpiece.

Great album of fusion. Blues-jazz-rock with an instrumental suite of 17 minutes. Proto-progressive. After the first classical songs of Procol Harmu and Nice, after the first psychedelic albums of Pink Floyd and Family (1967-69), in 1969 King Crimson baptized the progressive-rock with their debut, and Colosseum contribute, sideways, in the field of jazz-rock, to put the suite (instrumental, in this case) as the standard of the new progressive music. The historical significance of this album is unquestionable, as is the beauty of the suite, which certainly is seminal for the other groups that will compete with a suite (the choruses of the second movement of "Valentyne's Suite" will be evoked in the "Atom Heart Mother" suite, a year later), up to 20 minutes. The album does not have a first side at the height of the second (not even close) and this is the reason why I do not include it in the category of 5 stars. But maybe I'm wrong.

First side, vote: 7,5/8. Second side, vote 8,5/9. Vote album: 8,5. Rating: Four Stars.

jamesbaldwin | 4/5 |


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