Such was the esteem in which Colosseum were once held that the week Jimi Hendrix died, the cover of Melody Maker led not with his demise but the speculative headline: “Colosseum To Reform?” Their star burned brightest in the late 60s, and they have performed together only sporadically since 1970.
Today, however, with drummer Jon Hiseman’s wife, saxophonist Barbara Thompson, now a full-time member, they’re back, like long-term space voyagers with apparently scant acquaintance with any musical developments of the past 44 years. Time On Our Side deserves kudos for its title and also for a sadly prescient tribute to the late Jack Bruce – a cover of his Morning Story.
Cream and Colosseum share a lyricist in Pete Brown, yet songs like The Way You Waved Goodbye lack Cream’s heaviness and substance, while at the same time being too leaden of foot to match the lightness and grace of a Steely Dan.
Their jazz/rock/blues stylings are versatile and yet somehow each musical decision they make in these songs takes them down muddy paths too well travelled over the decades. But then such criticism feels like intruding on a private reunion party. Colosseum devotees, if no one else, will be pleased enough with these genial bread and circuses./o:p