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Colosseum - The HTD Anthology CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.08 | 5 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars As a genre was coming to life from 1969 to 1971, the group COLOSSEUM created some of the most innovative and diverse jazz-rock music there was. Everyone was taking the next logical step after Miles Davis conducted Jazz-Fusion 101 with Bitches Brew.

Three years does not seem like a long time and it is not by any band's standards, but it is if you make it count. This band made it more than count; they prepared musical inroads for an entire genre on the cusp of incredible changes and development. Anthology does a more than adequate job in highlighting a short lived but successful career.

Disc 1 focuses on the band's instrumental period. Dick Heckstall Smith, a forward thinking aggressive sax player coupled with an equally progressive organ player named David Greenslade, turned rock music upside down with their brand of jazz-rock fusion with lingering elements of blues around the fringes. They erased the line in the sand between jazz and rock with spaced out complex jam sessions while the guitar player Jim Roche added flourishes of stirring contemplative riffs that would help to push the musical envelope just that much further. More of a contemporary jazz sound on Disc 2 exhibited how the group allowed vocals to become a more dominant part of their sound, thereby discarding their heavy fusion base, although not entirely. I did notice on a few tracks that the keyboards reminded me of DEEP PURPLE on more than one occasion.

The epics "Valentyne Suite" and "Lost Angeles," which each ran around a time span of 17 minutes, were defining moments. The group's ever expanding thought processes took hold with those arrangements and they clearly epitomized what progressive meant in a musical framework. With odd time signatures and complex rhythms unheard of in the dominion of rock, they opened many doors to a new world of music where many would have never dared to venture. There were other bands traveling in the same direction but few that could produce such excellent compositions as this group did.

If you look at the running times of each song, it is easy to assimilate that you get a lot of music on the two discs. This set of tracks is a great way to get an introduction to one of music's true pioneer groups and one that deserves much more credit than they have received. I hope that such a fine compilation will have influence enough to lend a hand in rewriting the history books.

Muzikman | 4/5 |


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