Blood, Sweat & Tears

No American rock group ever started with as much daring or musical promise as Blood, Sweat & Tears, or realized their potential more fully -- and then blew it all as quickly. From their origins as a jazz-rock experiment that wowed critics and listeners, they went on -- in a somewhat more pop vein -- to sell almost six million records in three years, but ended up being dropped by their record label four years after that. Blood, Sweat & Tears started as an idea conceived by Al Kooper in July of 1967. An ex-member of the Blues Project, Kooper had been toying with the notion, growing out of his admiration for jazz bandleader Maynard Ferguson, of forming an electric rock band that would include horns and use jazz as the basis for their work. He planned to pursue this in London, but a series of New York shows involving some big-name friends didn't raise enough money to get him there. He did, however, find three players who wanted to work with him: bassist Jim Fielder, Blues Project guitarist Steve Katz, and drummer Bobby Colomby. Kooper agreed, as long as he was in charge musically. The horn section featured Fred Lipsius (saxophone), with Randy Brecker and Jerry Weiss on trumpets and fl├╝gelhorns, and Dick Halligan playing trombone. The new group was signed to Columbia Records, and the name "Blood, Sweat & Tears" came to Kooper after a jam at the Cafe au Go Go, where a cut on his hand left his organ keyboard covered in blood.

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