Esoteric, 1971

REVIEW BY: Mark Kadzielawa


This is perhaps one of the greatest live albums ever, so how do you make it better? Add another disc’s worth of material! That's exactly what this reissue offers in the form of additional live tracks. The songs come from the same bunch of concerts used for the original recording, so it all fits with the mood and the quality.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Colosseum is a jazz-rock band with a very progressive feel.  They are not afraid to improvise; in fact, that's the beauty of this record.  Also, the majority of the material recorded here was brand new at the time, which meant there were no previous studio versions, and it made for a powerful record. However, the band broke up shortly after, which is the biggest mystery of all. They eventually reformed in 1994, but so much time was wasted. Well, maybe not completely wasted.  Drummer Jon Hiseman put together a sequel band called Colosseum II and released a couple of records.

This band was absolutely outstanding when it came to improvising and letting go. And the live setting was exactly the place for a band like Colosseum to shine. Hiseman's lessons from playing with John Mayall paid off here big time. He took that model to another dimension, and while doing so invented something extremely original.  Much credit has to go to all members of the band who shared that vision and made it happen. No wonder the fans responded with such enthusiasm to this album, and it is heralded as one of the greatest live records ever released.

Listening back to this album one can only feel electrified by the performance and band's ability to play off each other with such ease. The additional songs only prove further how hot this band was back then.  A very special moment was captured here, and decades later it still sounds just as amazing.

Rating: A

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