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Chicago - The Chicago Transit Authority CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.06 | 187 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Spine-tingling rock-jazz at its finest. Welcome to Chicago, the home of amazing brass arrangements, a stellar rhythm section, a mastermind guitarist and lots of skyscrapers (oops on the last bullet; wrong Chicago). This debut double from the group is sure to satisfy those with a itch for fusion, rock or both.

The two key components here are the guitar work and brass section. The brass section is a great fixture in the group when used; however, there's not that many times they really shine. ''...Time It Is'' and ''Listen'' are the best showcasings here, but virtually every song utitlises them at least some of the time. It seems that the brass and Terry Kath are in competition for the most attention. Kath can play the guitar at a blistering level, offering many tricks of the trade in the rock realm and sometimes going off on tangents like on ''Liberation'' and ''Poem 58''. He even gets a sound effects bit to himself with ''Free Form Guitar''.

But, if you want song quality, you've got it here on CTA. Chicago wastes no time in making a big impression, and ''Introduction'' is one of the best ways to first immerse yourself in happy Chicago-land. It ebbs and flows in dynamics as smoothly as the brass section plays. Some shorter songs pack a serious punch like the swing feel of ''...Time It Is'' and the smooth rocker ''Listen''. Chicago can jam like the rest of them though, and with the free-for-all centrepiece ''Liberation'' taking the cake with its absolutely magnificent ending, you'll feel like you haven't wasted a minute listening to it. It's hard to top even with the peppy cover of ''I'm a Man'', the softer ''Beginnings'' and the half jam/half rocker ''Poem 58''.

Only a few weak moments keep this from masterpiece status. I feel that ''Questions'', ''South California Purples'' and ''Someday'' are unmemorable and add little to the album's value. Also, I find it rather hard to defend ''Free Form Guitar'', even if Kath is splendid at making the axe sound like a motorcycle. This is a very unique jazz-rock fest that should be checked out by all lovers of jazz, and even the progsters might want to get in on a little of the fun too.

Sinusoid | 4/5 |


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