Taylor Rogers | Staff Writer
Blood Sweat & Tears can say a lot of things that other bands can’t.
For instance, more than 40 musicians have cycled in and out of the band’s roster during the past 40 years. The band has been crowned “Honorary Ambassadors of Peace” by the South Korean government. It is the first band to tour behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.
At 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater, the band will bring its brass rock and jazz music to Chautauqua with Arturo Sandoval, jazz trumpeter and pianist.
Rewind back to the late 1960s, to when Blood Sweat & Tears first started making music in Greenwich Village. Co-founder Al Kooper wanted to form a rock band that took jazz and used it as a foundation, according to a story Bruce Eder wrote for All Music Guide.
The band’s 1968 debut album, “Child is Father to Man,” often is described as Kooper’s best work.
“This is one of the great albums of the eclectic post-Sgt. Pepper era of the late ’60s, a time when you could borrow styles from Greenwich Village contemporary folk to San Francisco acid rock and mix them into what seemed to have the potential to become a new American musical form,” William Ruhlmann wrote in his review of the album for All Music Guide.
Fourteen more albums followed that one, with a different roster of musicians coming in and out of the band throughout the years.
The band’s second 1969 self-titled album took the coveted Grammy for Album of the Year, winning over The Beatles’ “Abbey Road.” Two more Grammys would follow that one.
But it was that self-titled album that pushed the band to the center of the music scene in the ’60s and ’70s. Three singles, including “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “And When I Die” and “Spinning Wheel,” made the No. 2 spot on the Billboard charts, with David Clayton-Thomas singing lead.
Many music critics noted that this certainly was a high point for the group.
“Blood Sweat & Tears made its mark with two essential ingredients: a top-flight brass section and David Clayton-Thomas’s vocals,” Cary Ginell wrote in The Acorn.
Fast forward to 2005. Blood Sweat & Tears established itself as a band committed not just to its music but also to its community. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the band donated money to help replace musical instruments for a local high school marching band. The band members then invited the marching band onstage with them.
In 2008, Gangwon Governor Jin-Sun Kim named Blood Sweat & Tears “Honorary Ambassadors of Peace.”
Stop in 2011, and the band still is touring, now with names like lead trumpet Teddy Mulet, saxophonist Ken Gioffre and lead singer Jason Paige.
Paige boasts quite a resume. He’s performed on Broadway in “Hair” and “Godspell,” done several commercials and even has performed with the late Michael Jackson.
“As BS&T’s front man, Paige exhibits a powerfully charismatic stage presence with an energy level that reeks enriched uranium, bounding across the stage, exhorting the musicians, strutting on tables and kissing the hands of women in the audience,” Ginell wrote.
Though Blood Sweat & Tears hasn’t recorded new material in some time, its members continue to stock their venues with loyal fans. They devoted this year to touring smaller venues, including three sold-out concerts at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City with Sandoval.
Under co-founder Bobby Colomby’s direction, the band has prospered.
According to the Blood Sweat & Tears website, Colomby gave the band members the words of wisdom that keep them unified through so many years and so many personnel changes: “Find the greatest musicians, and the rest is easy.”