It’s been more than four decades since drummer and producer Bobby Colomby and friends assembled Blood, Sweat & Tears, the first group to successfully blend rock and jazz into a genre-crossing sound and style. So successfully, in fact, that the band’s second album topped the Billboard charts for many weeks and beat out the Beatles’ Abbey Road for the prestigious Album of the Year Grammy Award. The album produced three major hit singles, “You Make Me So Very Happy,” “Spinning Wheel,” and “And When I Die.”
But now Colomby is looking for much more as he develops Blood, Sweat & Tears into a contemporary voice, one that reaches beyond a single, nostalgic audience.
“I no longer want to target just one generation. That would be a mistake,” Colomby says. “With this updated version, I want this band to gain recognition with a wider audience. I want people of all ages to experience what this music has to offer.”
Will Blood, Sweat & Tears have any of the original members?
“Not a chance,” says Colomby. “I think of this band like baseball’s Yankees. When you’re at a Yankees game, you’re not going to see Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle or Lou Gehrig. What you do come to expect is a team of top-notch players upholding a tradition of winning. That’s the Yankees legacy. It’s what people expect from Blood, Sweat & Tears as well… brilliant musicians, singers, songs and arrangements.”
Colomby also describes the instrumental players chosen for Blood, Sweat & Tears in glowing terms. “This band, man for man, pound for pound, is better than the first version of Blood, Sweat & Tears. Without a doubt, they’re a ridiculously talented bunch. The drummer Dylan Elsie is better that I am, or was.”
This is strong praise coming from a musician, producer and manager who knows a winner when he sees it. Colomby’s resume includes initiating significant career achievements for Jaco Pastorious, the Jacksons and Harry Connick Jr., among others, as well as his management and production of trumpeter Chris Botti, currently one of America’s most successful instrumentalists and winner of the 2013 Grammy for Best Instrumental Pop Album.
“The first version of Blood, Sweat & Tears was designed to introduce jazz to pop music,” Colomby adds. “That was my passion… and still is.”
Towards that end, Blood, Sweat & Tears will perform their hits with spirit and enthusiasm, as if it was their first performance of those songs. The band will also introduce new elements into every performance, including a segment devoted to “songs we wish we had recorded,” done in classic Blood, Sweat & Tears style.
The arrival of this latest version of Blood, Sweat & Tears is the next chapter in a musical tale that stretches from the creativity and turbulence of the late ’60s to the swiftly changing world of the 21st century. This next phase in the continuing journey of Blood, Sweat & Tears has begun, with a performance scheduled at The Paramount on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m.
During the early years of the FOX-TV hit “American Idol,” Colomby received many phone calls from friends telling him to check out singer Bo Bice, saying he was a fresh voice and that he did a masterful job singing “Spinning Wheel.”
“Many of my more musically knowledgeable buddies also suggested that I ask Bo to join the band,” Colomby said. “I’m pleased to say that that’s exactly what happened and by the reaction of audiences worldwide it was a great match.”
Now a seasoned southern rocker, Bice will be performing with Blood, Sweat & Tears at this special concert performance.
The Paramount is located at 370 New York Ave. in Huntington. For tickets, call 631-673-7300 or go to www.paramountny.com.