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Colosseum - Valentyne Suite CD (album) cover

VALENTYNE SUITE

Colosseum

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.20 | 249 ratings

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presdoug
5 stars Colosseum's "Valentyne Suite" was one of the first records of the group i ever heard and owned, finding an lp copy of it in 1988. I was instantly impressed with the combination of variety and cohesion here in this record which the band pull off incredibly well.

On the first track called "The Kettle", they remind me of Cream, and "outcream" Cream in a dazzling display of guitar-led, no holds barred aggression. The song is also a focus for the vocal work of James Litherland, who is a fine singer, as evidenced also by the remaining numbers on side one of the lp. Those other side one tracks display a crafty knowledge of both the blues and jazz that are united in a partly rock framework, and whether there are vocals or instrumental passages, things never drag for an instant or lose your interest.

A highlight of this whole record is the drumming of Jon Hiseman, who at times has a busy, aggressive delivery, but never can be summed up as only that , what with a creativity and colorful approach that has set many a benchmark for other drummers.

The greatest highlight of this record, though, is the three part "Valentyne Suite" comprising side two of the lp. A longtime staple of the band's live concert repertory, and rightly so, as it brilliantly displays the instrumental prowess and capabilities of Colosseum in a stunning, exciting work that was just made to be played live. There are a few backing vocals to the suite, but one of the really remarkable things about it, is how different instrumentalists, like Dick Heckstall-Smith on sax and Dave Greenslade on keys especially, have room to breathe and articulate some wonderful soloing, but never loose "the framework of the whole". (same could be said of Litherland's guitar soloing) And Tony Reeves on bass does a great job of bridging the gap between Hiseman's complex, multi-faceted drumming technique and the rest of the band. There is a cohesive direction to The Valentyne Suite, and near the end of "Theme Three", Hiseman plays some drum flourishes that unite the other band members and leave you at the end wishing things hadn't finished. This album has to be heard to be believed. Five stars.

presdoug | 5/5 |

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