The driving force behind this band, at least in their early stages, was the saxes of Dick Morrisey and keyboards of John Mealing, along with the crack rhythm section of Jim Richardson (bass) and Dennis Elliott (drums) they also had a guitarist, second reedsman and lead vocalist. I've only heard the first two albums, those could sort of be described as a progressive Blood, Sweat & Tears, very jazz-rock oriented, but not fusion".
If is a jazz-rock band from the United Kingdom. In this case, jazz-rock doesn't mean fusion ala Mahavishnu Orchestra but something akin to early Chicago or Blood, Sweat and Tears. Also comparable to Isotope and Nucleus. It's also a bit more progressive than either of those two bands. The music is very good and something I like a little better than Chicago. Fairly well balanced between guitar, sax, keyboards, and singing. The lead vocalist (on their first two albums, the ones I have) remind me a bit of Pete Townsend. Perhaps this band isn't for those into heavy prog, but if you also enjoy jazz this may be a good band to seek out. Dave Quincy left If to form Zzebra. -- Mike Taylor http://www.gepr.net/ifram.html
If was Great Britain's contribution to the jazz-rock movement begun and popularized in the late '60s/early '70s by Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago. Formed in 1969 by Melody Maker jazz poll winners Dave Quincy, Dick Morrissey, and Terry Smith, the band never found popular success in the United States. However, If produced several albums noteworthy for placing jazz players in a pop/rock band context and producing a true fusion of the two genres without diluting the players' improvisational skills. Unlike most of their horn-band contemporaries, If had no brass players in the band, relying solely on the saxophones of Dick Morrissey and the flute and saxophones of Dave Quincy. But what really gave If its unique sound were the vocals of J.W. Hodgkinson and the guitar of Terry Smith. Hodgkinson's vocal timbre was unusual -- smooth, flexible, and strong in the high end, sounding like no other vocalist. Smith's trebly guitar sound was also unique, combining a rocker's use of sustain with the jazz fluency of Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhardt. The original incarnation of If produced five excellent albums between 1970 and 1972, but these albums failed to find an audience. Morrissey soldiered on with the If name for two more albums with a totally different lineup and a more generic rock-type sound, but these, too, went nowhere. Drummer Dennis Elliott was later a member of the platinum-selling rock band Foreigner. ~ Jim Newsom, All Music Guide http://www.mmguide.musicmatch.com/artist/artist.cgi?ARTISTID=346237&TMPL=LONG#bio
If's first album came out in the summer of 1970, while most horn-driven jazz-rock bands were still mimicking the successful formula employed by Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears. If was different, with more of a jazz feel on both the instrumental and the vocal ends. The material on If provides plenty of room for reedmen Dave Quincy and Dick Morrissey, plus guitarist Terry Smith, to stretch out. Though not particularly deep or profound, the lyrics nonetheless express the positive, optimistic sentiments prevalent at the time. J.W. Hodgkinson's unusual tenor vocal timbre fits like a lead instrument in the mix, soaring above and within the arrangements. "What Can a Friend Say" kicks the album off in fine style, setting the parameters within which the band works throughout the rest of the disc, with the horns complementing Hodgkinson's rendering of the verses, which wrap around excellent, extended sax and guitar solos. The instrumental, "What Did I Say About the Box, Jack?" showcases Quincy's high-octane flute work and the speedy fingers of guitarist Smith. The album continues in the same consistently excellent vein, with the ballad "Dockland" providing a beautiful respite toward the end of the album. ~ Jim Newsom, All Music Guide http://www.mmguide.musicmatch.com/album/album.cgi?ALBUMID=510495&AMGLENGTH=full#review
01 - I'm Reaching Out on All Sides (5:54)
02 - What Did I Say About The Box Jack (1:51)
03 - What Can a Friend Say (6:59)
04 - Woman, Can You See What This Thing Is All About (4:11)
05 - Raise The Level Of Your Conscious Mind (3:13)
06 - Dockland (4:43)
07 - The Promised Land (3:42)
- Dave Quincy / Alto and Tenor Saxes, Liner Notes, Reeds
- Dick Morrissey / Tenor and Soprano Saxes and Flute Reeds
- Jim Richardson / Bass
- Dennis Elliott / Drums
- Terry Smith / Guitar
- John Mealing / Keyboards, Vocals (Background)
01 - I'm Reaching Out on All Sides ...........
05 - Raise The Level Of Your Conscious Mind ...
Link for download "If - 1970 - If" in comments ...