If

If was an English sax-rock band from London that released two albums on Island in 1970, followed by a second pair of titles on U.A./Metromedia in 1972/73 and a further pair on Gull during the mid-1970s. Saxophonist Dick Morrissey later formed a prolific partnership with ex-Piblokto!/Oblivion guitarist Jim Mullen in the duo Morrissey Mullen.

Members: Dick Morrissey (saxophone, flute), Lionel Grigson (keyboards, vocals, 1969), Tony Allen [J. W. Hodkinson] (lead vocals, 1969-73), Dave Quincy (saxophone, 1969-73), Daryl Runswick (bass, 1969), Terry Smith (guitar, 1969-73), Spike Wells (drums, 1969), Dennis Elliott (drums, 1969-72), John Mealing (keyboards, 1969-72), Jim Richardson (bass, 1969-73), Cliff Davies (drums, 1972-75), Dave Greenslade (keyboards, 1972-73), Dave Wintour (guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, vocals, 1972-73), Peter Arnesen (keyboards, 1973-74), Kurt Palomacki (bass, 1973-74), Steve Rosenthal (guitar, lead vocals, 1973-74), Fiachra Trench (keyboards, 1973-74), Gabriel Magno (keyboards, clarinet, 1974-75), Walt Monaghan (bass, vocals, 1974-75), Mike Tomich (bass, 1974-75), Geoff Whitehorn (guitar, vocals, 1974-75)


If inaugurated the UK branch of brass-rock along with Galliard, Heaven, Brainchild, and The Greatest Show on Earth. The main difference is that If featured two saxophonists but no actual brass (trumpet, trombone). The septet was formed in 1969 by guitarist Terry Smith and saxophonists Dick Morrissey and Dave Quincy.

Terry Smith (b. 1943) had played as a backing musician for Georgie Fame, the Walker Brothers, and jazz pianist Tony Lee. In 1969, Smith issued the Philips big band album Fall Out with an ensemble that included Australian saxophonist Ray Warleigh and Canadian trumpeter Kenny Wheeler. That same year, he interacted with Morrissey on The Greatest Little Soul Band In the Land by American soul singer J. J. Jackson. The two joined Jackson’s soul-psych backing band Dilemma for a 1970 self-titled release on RCA/Perception, which also features Quincy.

Dick Morrissey (1940–2000) released four albums with his namesake hard bop quartet between 1961 and 1967. Intermittently, he played on albums by Johnny Dankworth, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Georgie Fame. In 1965, Morrissey partook (alongside Wheeler and Ian Carr) in a big band version of The Animals for an appearance at the 5th Annual British Jazz & Blues Festival in Richmond upon Thames.

Dave Quincy (b. 1939) had backed ex-Shadows bassist Jet Harris for a time in the early ’60s and did a two-year stint (1965–67) in Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds. While there, he interacted with keyboardist Dave Greenslade, who would briefly join If in 1972 (between his time in Colosseum and Greenslade.) Just prior to Dilemma and If, Quincy played on the 1969 debut album by Manfred Mann Chapter Three. That same year, he backed the soul-rock duo Babylon (featuring Carol Grimes of Delivery) on their one-off Polydor single. Quincy wrote the a-side, “Into the Promised Land,” which he would rerecord with If the following year as “The Promised Land.”

Smith, Morrissey, and Quincy formed If with guidance by American music mogul Lew Futterman, who became their manager/producer and secured them a deal with Island Records. They enlisted vocalist J.W. Hodkinson (1942–2013), who once performed as “teen idol” Johnny Goode under the auspices of ’50s pop Svengali Larry Parnes. In 1966, Hodkinson sang the theme song to the spy thriller Triple Cross, starring Christopher Plummer and Yul Brynner.

The initial septet was rounded by keyboardist Lionel Grigson, bassist Daryl Runswick, and drummer Spike Wells, all journeymen of the UK jazz scene. Before If entered the studio, the three musicians were replaced, respectively, by John Mealing, Jim Richardson, and Dennis Elliott. Mealing had played piano in the Don Rendell-Ian Carr Quintet. Elliott drummed for soul-rockers Ferris Wheel (the starting vehicle for singer Linda Lewis.)


Discography:

  • If (1970)
  • If 2 (1970)
  • If 3 (1971)
  • If 4: On Tour in Germany – April 72 (1972)
  • Waterfall [aka If 4] (1972)
  • Double Diamond (1973)
  • Not Just Another Bunch of Pretty Faces (1974)
  • Tea-break Over – Back on Your ‘Eads (1975)

Sources:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.