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IF ~ LIVE AT THE BBC
REPERTOIRE 1427 (Barcode: 4009910142721) ~ UK ~ Brass Rock

Recorded: 1970 - 1972 Released: 2022

This is a sensational archival album by the superb but relatively forgotten British Jazz-Rock Fusion / Brass Rock ensemble IfFind albums by this artist, which to this very day remains as one of the finest examples of the genre. Sourced from the BBC vaults, the double album presents twenty tracks of original music by the ensemble members, recorded over two years, which span the initial life span of the ensemble, all previously unissued.

Following the ensemble’s formative days in 1969, the core lineup stabilized as a septet, which included vocalist J.W. HodkinsonFind albums by this artist, saxophonists/ flautists Dick MorrisseyFind albums by this artist and Dave QuincyFind albums by this artist (who wrote most of the material), keyboardist John MealingFind albums by this artist, guitarist Terry SmithFind albums by this artist, bassist Jim RichardsonFind albums by this artist and drummer Dennis ElliottFind albums by this artist. That lineup recorded the ensemble’s first four iconic albums, called simply “IfFind albums with this title”, “If 2Find albums with this title”, “If 3Find albums with this title” and “If 4Find albums with this title”, and disbanded by the end of 1972. That lineup is featured on all the tracks on this album.

The ensemble reformed with a different lineup and continued until 1975, releasing four more studio albums. A reunion lineup released a studio album in 2016, called “If 5Find albums with this title”, which was a sad affair.

Although stylistically somewhat similar to the American Brass Rock groups like Blood, Sweat & TearsFind albums by this artist, ChicagoFind albums by this artist, ChaseFind albums by this artist and others, If had a very unique British / European approach, which less emphasis on brass arrangements but way more complex music and sophisticated ensemble sound. For a more detailed comparison, please read my review of the If’s early albums.

Overall, this is a treasure chest of previously unheard material by one of the best British Jazz-Rock ensembles ever, and an absolute must to the genre’s many fans. The sound is a bit iffy, despite the fact that the material was remastered, but the music is outstanding. RepertoireFind albums on this label are doing a remarkable job by bringing the material from the BBC vaults back to life, but their pricing borders on insane and the booklets are a bit trivial and repetitive lately, lacking the proper historical perspective this music deserves. But this is Holy Grail any way one looks at it, so don’t think twice and grab a copy.
Updated: 18/09/2022Posted: 17/09/2022CD 2 Slipcase Remastered Recommend To A Friend

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