Elise Sax Biography & Facts
Blood, Sweat & Tears (also known as "BS&T") is a jazz rock music group founded in New York City in 1967, noted for a combination of brass with rock instrumentation. In addition to original music, the group has performed popular songs by Laura Nyro, James Taylor, Carole King, the Band, the Rolling Stones, Billie Holiday and many others. The group has also adapted music from Erik Satie, Thelonious Monk and Sergei Prokofiev into their arrangements.
BS&T has gone through numerous iterations with varying personnel and has encompassed a wide range of musical styles. Their sound has merged Rock, Pop and R&B/Soul music with Big band, while also adding ideas from Classical music and Jazz.
The group was inspired by the "brass-rock" of the Buckinghams and their producer, James William Guercio, as well as the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra. BS&T's success paralleled that of similarly configured ensembles such as Chicago and the Electric Flag, but by the mid 1970s the group's popularity had declined.
Al Kooper era
Al Kooper (keyboards, vocals), Bobby Colomby (drums), Steve Katz (guitar, vocals), and Jim Fielder (bass) played at the Village Theatre (later renamed Fillmore East) in New York City on September 16, 1967, with James Cotton Blues Band opening. Kooper was the initial singer and musical director, having insisted on that position based on his work with the Blues Project, his previous band with Katz.Fred Lipsius (alto sax, piano) joined the others a month later. A few more shows were played before Lipsius recruited horn players Dick Halligan, Randy Brecker, and Jerry Weiss. The octet debuted at the Cafe Au Go Go on November 17–19, 1967, then played The Scene the following week. Audiences were impressed with the innovative fusion of contemporary styles. After signing to Columbia Records, the group released Child Is Father to the Man which reached number 47 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart in the United States.
Artistic differences quickly developed. Colomby and Katz wanted to hire a stronger lead vocalist. This led to the departure of Kooper in April 1968. Prior to leaving Kooper had already arranged some songs that would be on the second BS&T album. He was soon hired as a record producer at Columbia. Trumpeters, Randy Brecker and Jerry Weiss, also left and were replaced by Lew Soloff and Chuck Winfield. Brecker joined Horace Silver's band. Jerry Weiss went on to start the similarly-styled group Ambergris.
David Clayton-Thomas era
Colomby and Katz looked for a new vocalist and considered Alex Chilton Stephen Stills, and Laura Nyro, before deciding on David Clayton-Thomas, a Canadian from Toronto. Trombonist Halligan moved to organ and Jerry Hyman was added on trombone. The new nine-member band debuted at New York's Cafe Au Go Go on June 18, 1968, beginning a two-week residency.
The self-titled second album, Blood, Sweat & Tears, was produced by Guercio and debuted on the charts in January 1969. Much of the album was arranged by Lipsius. It featured fewer original songs but greater chart success, winning Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards over the Beatles' Abbey Road. Three hit singles were released from the album, including a version of Berry Gordy and Brenda Holloway's "You've Made Me So Very Happy", Clayton-Thomas' "Spinning Wheel", and Nyro's "And When I Die". All of these peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The band enjoyed headliner status at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969. A film crew caught a few songs, but the band's manager Bennett Glotzer ordered the crew to turn off the cameras and leave the stage since the band had not agreed nor been paid for filming.
The band went on a United States Department of State-sponsored tour of Eastern Europe in May/June 1970. Voluntary association with the U.S. government was highly unpopular with "underground" rock fans at the time, some of whom engaged in radical politics. The band was criticized for this. It is now known that the State Department subtly pressured the group into the tour in exchange for a U.S. residency permit to Clayton-Thomas, who had a criminal record in Canada, and had been deported from the U.S. after overstaying his visa.After returning to the U.S., the group released Blood, Sweat & Tears 3 in June 1970, produced by Roy Halee and Colomby. The album was another success, spawning hit singles with Carole King's "Hi-De-Ho" and another Clayton-Thomas composition, "Lucretia MacEvil". The group recreated the formula with more arrangements by Lipsius. Reviews sometimes focused solely upon the band's work with the U.S. State Department, without discussing the music. Compounding the image problem was a decision to play a lucrative engagement at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip. This was unpopular with young underground rock fans who identified Las Vegas entertainers with the music of their parents' generation.
In late 1970, the band produced soundtrack music for the film comedy The Owl and the Pussycat , which starred Barbra Streisand and George Segal.
The group reconvened in San Francisco in January 1971 with jazz writer/saxophonist Don Heckman serving as producer. With Dave Bargeron replacing Jerry Hyman, they recorded the fourth album, BS&T 4, released in June 1971. Notable tracks included David Clayton-Thomas' "Go Down Gamblin'" and Al Kooper's "Holy John (John the Baptist)". BS&T 4 earned the group a gold record, however, none of the singles reached the Top 30. During this period the group's popular and commercial success began to decline.After a final show at Anaheim Convention Center on December 31, 1971, Clayton-Thomas left in early January 1972 to pursue a solo career. Columbia issued a Greatest Hits album in February 1972. This album contained edited single versions of some songs, rather than the full length album versions. It earned a gold record award in the US, the last BS&T album to do so.
Jerry Fisher era
Clayton-Thomas was briefly replaced by Bobby Doyle and then Jerry Fisher. Fred Lipsius left as well and was briefly replaced by Joe Henderson, before Lou Marini settled into the new lineup. Founding member Halligan also departed, replaced by jazz pianist Larry Willis (from the Cannonball Adderley Quintet), and Swedish guitarist Georg Wadenius, from the popular Swedish outfit Made in Sweden, joined as lead guitarist around the same time.
BS&T released New Blood in September 1972, which found the group moving into a more overtly jazz-fusion direction. The album reached the top 40 on the Billboard chart and spawned a hit single "So Long Dixie", which peaked at number 44. Also included was a version of Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage", featuring Wadenius. In January 1973 Katz left to pursue a career as a producer. In March, Winfield departed as well and was replaced by Tom Malone.
The next album, No Sweat (June 1973), featured horn work from Tom Malone. He soon left to make way for trumpeter John Madrid. But Madrid was like.... Discover the Elise Sax popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Elise Sax books.