Unique... Original... Versatile and Timely!
Dennis J. Grimaldi | Shirley, N.Y., USA | 10/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No matter what the lineup, where the venue, what the year or what the songs... Blood,Sweat and Tears "Live and Improvised" is (in my opinion) an amazing album that deserves recognition due to it coverage of it's original songs as well as it's covers (note Chick Corea's "Spain" and Billie Holliday's "God Bless the Child") On it's own, "God Bless..." combines blues, rock, soul, swing and a latin combination that's hard to match. Julian "Cannonball" Adderly's "Unit 7" showcases the band's gifted musicians and take listen a to Dave Bargeron's tuba solo walk you subtley into "One Room Country Shack" smack dab in the middle of Laura Nyro's "And When I die". Same song, whole new flavor! Recorded from two concerts I believe in '72 but released a few years later, this particular lineup led by Clayton-Thomas, although a little loose at times, is a group that sounds like it's having a good time (note Bobby Colomby's drum solo in "Unit 7"). Combining some original members and some youngblood, BS and T has managed to keep it together over the years and it shows here! Released just prior to the "Nuclear Blues" album, "Live and Improvised" is an exploration of the old combined with the new. From "You've Made Me..." to "Spinning Wheel" to their version of "Ride Captian Ride", you're sure to enjoy this album. Blood,Sweat and Tears "Live and Improvised" is certainly that... and worth every cent!"
Waited a long time for this one.
NDBx | New York, NY United States | 08/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had always wondered why it took so long for a live Blood, Sweat & Tears recording to be released. I mean that captured at least some of the energy that seeing them in concert had.
Finally!! Although this isn't the same line up I had seen the last time I saw them in 1976, it's close. It's a shame that they didn't record them with Georg Wadenius was still with them. Georg was a vital part of that line up which was largely comprised during the Jerry Fisher era and carried over into the second David Clayton-Thomas era. He was such a original and unique guitarist who also provided a unique vocal dynamic to the background vocals, which was something new to Blood, Sweat & Tears sound. Although he is missed the guitar is in the very capable hands of the very in demand session guitarist, Steve Khan.
The rest of the band Dave Bargeron, Larry Willis, Bobby Colomby, Tony Klatka, Forest Buchtel (who came in at the time of Clayton-Thomas), restoring the two trumpet, four horn sound, Bill Tillman, Danny Trifan (of Eleventh House Fame) another new member, who replaced the Ron McClure.
The group is in fine form. The instrumental tracks show off an aspect of the group that demonstrated that this group at any time could've become a good fusion/jazz ensemble without necessarily needing a vocalist. "Unit 7" and "Spain" are both high points on this recording. Good solos and they swing. In truth more faithfully to the jazz tradition, than they did during the group's heyday. The arrangements looser and less superstructured than back then.
The group runs through it's repertoire of the most well known pieces. David Clayton-Thomas voice is stronger, heavier and more R&B inflected than in his first tenure with the group. Texas Billy Tillman shines with a big bodied tenor tone that comes across a bit like a rock version of Illinois Jacquet. Larry Willis brings those modern jazz, electric keyboard sensibilties that he shares as a contemporary of Herbie Hancock. No, Larry is not a clone, they just happen to be the same age and and actually went to school together. If you like Herbie, then you'll like Larry. Both Tony Klatka and Forest Buctel bring a slightly different feel to the brass section. Forest Buctel coming closer to that Lew Soloff power, that gave Blood, Sweat & Tears horn section the edge over Chicago. Bobby Colomby is still there. Steadfast as always, his style evolved over the year, more comfortable in the rock style than he was years earlier when you could almost hear a direct line to Max Roach.
"Spinning Wheel" is a tour de force giving all the horns a chance to trade licks and show their stuff until they come together to close the piece.
"You've Made Me So Very Happy" is much more R&B based and every bit as good as the single. David Clayton-Thomas is in fine form here.
"Ride Captain Ride" is out and out fun to listen to. They have a unique arrangment and clever hooks through out. Nice horn ensemble passages. A very good take and to my ears better than the original Blues Image version, for the sheer energy with which B,S & T, does these.
"And When I Die" - features an amazing tuba solo by Dave Bargeron, before they segue to "One Room Country Shack" and back again.
"Life" - Is a good strong R&B pieces which is a show case for the singer.
Overall a must-have for Blood, Sweat & Tears fans or fans of this particular genre.
They made me so very happy
Arye Mirovski | Haifa Israel | 11/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If I remember correctly, this album was released originaly in 1976, as a dbl. vynil album, few years after the band best days. Time can be a very sharp judge, sometimes, but in that case, history makes only good with the dbl. CD album, that sounds good as in the 70's. There is a lot of material of the band, that is far from being as good and interesting, but lucky us, that album includes only the good stuff of the band, including David Clayton-Thomas version to Al Kooper's "I love you more than you'll ever know" (completely different but also good!) and Chick Corea's "Spain". The band sounds good, and the fans can listen to a great CD of a great band"