Saturday, 11 June 2016

Beware The Ides of March (Colosseum, 1969)

Johann Sebastian Bach is rightly considered as the proggest classical composer by far. In particular, his "Toccata And Fugue in D minor" inspired not only Procol Harum's outstanding debut single, but also this beautiful track taken from the first album by Colosseum, "Those Who Are about to Die Salute You - Morituri Te Salutant". Dave Greensdale & friends started their instrumental with a soft and bluesy version of Bach's standard, which title refers to the album concept: the Latin statement (and, of course, its English translation) is supposedly the hail that Roman soldiers addressed to Caesar before the battle.

This is how Colosseum's career began...

The central section of the Toccata also displays James Litherman's electric guitar, soon involved in a devilish jazzy interplay with Dick Heckstall Smith's sax. Such a musical contamination may seem usual to the modern listener, but proved surprising and inspiring in 1969. For sure, "Beware The Ides of March" still is fresh and enthralling today.