If – Music News | Music-News.com

Directory (label)

06 November 2022 (published)

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If were a band whose best years were 1969 – 1973 and this collection shows them at their peak through a series of BBC appearances. To some extent it also shows how seriously the BBC took music over those years with shows such as In Concert, Sounds of the 70’s, John Peel In Concert, Dave Lee Travis and even Radio 1 In Concert.

If they were basically a Jazz Rock/Fusion band playing music similar to Colosseum, albeit live they were a very different entity, jamming and stretching much further than Colosseum. These two records really show them at their best, in a live vein.

The group was formed by Dave Quincy (sax), Dick Morrissey (alto, tenor and flute) and Terry Smith (guitars), all pillars of the British jazz scene and all composers and arrangers. JW Hodkinson on vocals, John Mealing on keyboards, Jim Richardson on electric bass, Dennis Eliott on drums were the other musicians in the band’s first incarnation from 1969 to 1972 – the period covered by this album.

Musically, they cover the basics from jazz to rock with an added progressive element. Hodkinson’s voice is strong and powerful although he can also be tender and plays well against Smith’s guitar playing – Smith is very much a jazz guitarist and his solos fall far short of the standard Blues progressions of many of his contemporaries. Richardson’s bass playing is exquisite as befits one of the finest session musicians of his time and Dennis Eliott’s drumming is understated but powerful – he later became a founding member of Foreigner.

The to records are a great reminder of a much-loved band whose history has been somewhat glossed over over the years.
Top quality and great music here.