Colosseum toured with theNew Jazz Orchestra in 1970 but this is the first time that any records of that tour have surfaced. Jon Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Tony Reeves featured in both bands. The New Jazz Orchestra recorded so little, that anything new is welcome. That it should be this good is an embarrassment of riches. True the sound is far from perfect, occasionally the ensembles seem a little ragged (Monitors! What monitors?) and some of the woodwind solos are very low in the mix. Forget all that. This is a little slice of history, of that marvellous period in British Jazz when it danced with Rock music, as if the two were made for each other. Jack Bruce's "Rope Ladder To The Moon" is given a stomping rendition, despite a nearly inaudible vocal from Dave Clempson. Better yet are Neil Ardley's lustrous "Shades Of Blue" with fine playing from Clempson and "Mike Gibbs"' epic "Tanglewood." But best of all is the fact that virtually all of the tracks from the NJO's Le Déjeuner Sur L'herbe album are presentonly Howard Riley's "Angle" is missingincluding Mike Taylor's "Ballad" and "Study" with its show-stopping performances by Heckstall-Smith and Barbara Thompson. If that isn't enough to tempt collectors, then what is?
Tracks: Stratusfunk*; Tanglewood; Shades of Blue; Rope Ladder To The Moon; Dusk Fire; Naïma; Nardis; Study; Rebirth; Ballad; Le Déjeuner Sur L’herbe; National Anthem & Tango. Rec. 26th May 1970.
*misspelt on sleeve.
Personnel: Neil Ardley conductor, director; Nigel Carter, Mike Davis, Henry Lowther, Harry Beckett trumpets; Derek Wadsworth, Robin Gardner, Mike Gibbs trombones; Dick Hart tuba; Dick Heckstall-Smith, Dave Gelly, Jim Philip, Barbara Thompson woodwinds, saxophones; Frank Jellett vibes, percussion; Dave Greenslade organ, electric piano; Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson guitar, vocal; Tony Reeves electric bass; Jon Hiseman drums.