Years: 1969 - 1975
Styles: Jazz Rock, Progressive Rock
Dave Quincy - Alto saxophone, Flute, Saxophone, Tenor saxophone (in band: 1969 - 1973)
Terry Smith - Guitar, Lead guitar (in band: 1969 - 1973)
Dick Morrissey - Alto saxophone, Backing vocals, Flute, Lead vocals, Saxophone, Soprano saxophone, Tenor saxophone (in band: 1969 - 1975)
Spike Wells - Drums
Lionel Grigson - Backing vocals, Keyboards (in band: 1969)
Daryl Runswick - Bass Guitar (in band: 1969)
John Mealing - Backing vocals, Electric piano, Keyboards, Organ, Piano (in band: 1969 - 1973)
Jim Richardson - Bass Guitar (in band: 1969 - 1973)
Dennis Elliott - Drums (in band: 1969 - 1973)
J. W. Hodkinson - Lead vocals, Percussion (in band: 1969 - 1974)
Dave Wintour - Acoustic guitar , Backing vocals, Bass Guitar, Guitar (in band: 1972 - 1973)
Dave Greenslade - Keyboards (in band: 1972 - 1973)
Cliff Davies - Backing vocals, Congas, Drums, Lead vocals, Percussion, Synthesizer, Vibes, Vocals (in band: 1972 - 1973)
Steve Rosenthal - Backing vocals, Guitar, Lead vocals (in band: 1973 - 1974)
Pete Arnesen - Backing vocals, Organ, Piano, Synthesizer (in band: 1973 - 1974)
Fi Trench - Backing vocals, Piano (in band: 1973 - 1974)
Kurt Palomacki - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar (in band: 1973 - 1974)
Geoff Whitehorn - Acoustic guitar , Backing vocals, Guitar, Lead vocals, Vocals (in band: 1974 - 1975)
Gabriel Magno - Electric harpsichord, Electric piano, Hammond organ, Organ, Piano (in band: 1974 - 1975)
Walt Monaghan - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar, Lead vocals, Vocals (in band: 1974 - 1975)
Mike Tomich - Bass Guitar (in band: 1974 - 1975)
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.
Signed on by Chris Blackwell, an enthusiastic early fan, to Island Records in the UK and to Capitol Records in the US, their debut album, "If" (1970), entered the charts in both the States (Billboard) and the UK, as well as winning a design award for its cover. It was followed that same year by "If 2", also released on Island and Capitol. The albums "If 3" (1971), "If 4" and "Waterfall" (1972) were accompanied by heavy touring schedules in the States and Europe, especially in Britain and Germany, where the band appeared on TV (BBC’s Top of the Pops/Old Grey Whistle Test in the UK and one of their tracks was used as a signature tune for the news in Germany, as well as performing live (September 1971) on Bremen TV's Beat-Club, sharing the billing with Canned Heat and Deep Purple, among other acts).
The definitive seven-piece line-up for the first incarnation of the band, with a more jazz-rock-oriented style, and which appears on the first four studio albums, as well as a live recording, was J. W. Hodkinson on lead vocals, John Mealing on keyboards, Jim Richardson on electric bass, Dennis Eliott on drums, with Dave Quincy on alto and tenor saxes, Terry Smith on guitars, and Dick Morrissey on tenor and soprano saxes and flute.
The above line-up is possibly the band's best known, but the band was subject to other personnel changes. With If coming off the road when Dick Morrissey was admitted to hospital, J. W. Hodkinson joined Darryl Way's Wolf, Terry Smith and Dave Quincy went off to form ZZebra, John Mealing joined Klaus Doldinger's Passport before going on to Strawbs, Jim Richardson went on to do studio session work, and Dennis Elliott joined the hugely successful group Foreigner.
A new line-up had Fi Trench and Dave Greenslade (ex-Colosseum) on keyboards, and Dave Wintour replacing Richardson on bass. Wintour left shortly afterwards to join Roger Daltrey, appearing on his first two solo albums.
A sixth studio album, "Double Diamond" (1973), with only Dick Morrissey left from the original line-up, featured Fi Trench (keyboards) and Pete Arnesen (keyboards), Steve Rosenthal (guitar/lead vocals), Kurt Palomacki (bass) and Cliff Davies (drums). It was recorded at The Manor recording studios shortly after Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells.
The last two If albums, "Not Just Another Bunch of Pretty Faces" (1974) and "Tea Break Over, Back on Your 'Eads" (1975), saw the band back on Capitol Records, and decidedly more rock-oriented. They featured Geoff Whitehorn on guitars and vocals, Gabriel Magno on keyboards and Walt Monaghan on bass and vocals, as well as Cliff Davies and Dick Morrissey. The style was unique in generating a distinctive harmony of electric rock guitar and jazz sax.
If finally broke up in 1975, Dick Morrissey going on to work with the Average White Band and Herbie Mann, eventually forming Morrissey–Mullen; Geoff Whitehorn to join Crawler and, subsequently, Procol Harum. Cliff Davies, Walt Monaghan and Gabriel Magno joined Ted Nugent, who was also produced by Lew Futterman.
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