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CHICAGO

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Chicago biography
The original members of Chicago met at DePaul University in the late 60s and began playing cover gigs under the name The Big Six. Moving to Los Angelas in 68 they signed with Columbia records and released their first album in April 1969. From the beginning the band members fused a three piece horn section with a hard rock combo to play innovative music that combined rock, jazz, pop, RnB and classical into a sound that was distinctively their own.

Over the years Chicago gradually changed membership, likewise the direction of their music shifted as well. Eventually the lengthy arrangements and jazzy solos of the earlier albums gave way to sophisticated pop and lite rock that matched the age of their maturing audience. One of the most enduring acts in the history of rock, Chicago continues to record and tour to this day.

Chicago official website

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Buy CHICAGO Music


The Very Best of Chicago: Only the BeginningThe Very Best of Chicago: Only the Beginning
Rhino 2002
Audio CD$12.06
$3.20 (used)
Live In '75 (2CD)Live In '75 (2CD)
Rhino Records 2015
Audio CD$16.99
Chicago's Greatest HitsChicago's Greatest Hits
Rhino 2005
Audio CD$4.99
$3.60 (used)
Chicago Transit AuthorityChicago Transit Authority
Rhino 2002
Audio CD$2.70
$3.29 (used)
Chicago II (Repackaged)Chicago II (Repackaged)
Rhino Records 2002
Audio CD$3.81
$0.75 (used)
"Now" - Chicago Xxxvi
Frontiers Records (Universal) 2014
Audio CD$7.90
$8.48 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Chicago Greatest Hits, Vol.II Japan CD w/obi TECW-1920 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1h 29m
Move With The Groove - Various Chicago Soul 1962-1970 NEW CD USD $14.87 Buy It Now 1h 30m
Chicago Look Away (Single) CD Pop 1988 USD $3.74 Buy It Now 1h 34m
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If You Leave Me Now (and Other Hits) by Chicago (CD, Feb-1995, Chicago Record... USD $6.99 Buy It Now 2h 23m
CHICAGO Chicago X LP Record Vinyl 1976 USD $11.88 Buy It Now 2h 24m
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2h 26m
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Acid (Can You Jack? Chicago Acid And Experimental House 1985 to 1995 USD $30.84 Buy It Now 2h 39m
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Greatest Hits 1982-1989 by Chicago (CD, Nov-1989, Reprise) USD $1.99 Buy It Now 2h 43m
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2h 59m
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USD $13.95 Buy It Now
4h
Hot Water Music LIVE IN CHICAGO 3XLP Split colors /500 Fest Edition Chuck Ragan USD $100.00 Buy It Now 4h 2m
Van Cliburn - Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 12" Vinyl Records / G USD $3.90 [0 bids]
4h 5m
Chicago Rhythm LP 1982 Self titled NM vinyl Stomp Off # SOS 1026 USD $7.00 Buy It Now 4h 8m
Hot Streets-Chicago USD $6.00 [0 bids]
4h 9m
CHICAGO X LP 11 Track In Gatefold Sleeve With Inner UK Cbs 1976 USD $7.89 Buy It Now 4h 9m
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Chicago [The Miramax Motion Picture Soundtrack] by Various Artists (CD,... USD $1.10 Buy It Now 4h 46m
J.B. HUTTO: 1982 SLASH & BURN ELECTRIC SLIDE GUITAR FROM CHICAGO-NEAR MINT CD USD $7.51 Buy It Now 4h 49m
CHICAGO STAFF BAND - THE SALVATION ARMY (SENIOR-MAJOR CYRIL EVERITT) NO. 101 USD $9.99 [0 bids]
4h 54m
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CHICAGO shows & tickets


  • O.Z.O.R.A. Festival 2015 on 3 Aug 2015

CHICAGO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CHICAGO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 130 ratings
The Chicago Transit Authority
1969
4.12 | 112 ratings
Chicago (aka Chicago II)
1970
3.60 | 66 ratings
Chicago III
1971
3.27 | 60 ratings
Chicago V
1972
2.50 | 48 ratings
Chicago VI
1973
3.97 | 61 ratings
Chicago VII
1974
2.84 | 37 ratings
Chicago VIII
1975
2.93 | 42 ratings
Chicago X
1976
2.92 | 43 ratings
Chicago XI
1977
2.06 | 29 ratings
Hot Streets
1978
1.74 | 27 ratings
Chicago 13
1979
1.72 | 21 ratings
Chicago XIV
1980
2.41 | 25 ratings
Chicago 16
1982
2.53 | 28 ratings
Chicago 17
1984
2.59 | 23 ratings
Chicago 18
1986
2.50 | 16 ratings
Chicago 19
1988
1.43 | 19 ratings
Twenty 1
1991
3.84 | 15 ratings
Night and Day: Big-Band
1995
2.85 | 7 ratings
Chicago 25 - The Christmas Album / What's It Gonna Be Santa
1998
2.33 | 17 ratings
Chicago XXX
2006
3.82 | 23 ratings
Stone of Sisyphus (XXXII)
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three
2010
3.00 | 1 ratings
Chicago XXXV: The Nashville Sessions
2013
3.26 | 10 ratings
Chicago XXXVI: Now
2014

CHICAGO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 30 ratings
Chicago at Carnegie Hall
1971
4.03 | 18 ratings
Live in Japan
1972
3.04 | 5 ratings
Beginnings (In Concert)
1978
4.00 | 9 ratings
Chicago XXVI - The Live Album
1999
3.50 | 2 ratings
Chicago XXXIV: Live in '75
2011

CHICAGO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.04 | 4 ratings
Soundstage Presents Chicago
2004
4.00 | 2 ratings
Chicago
2005

CHICAGO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.51 | 20 ratings
Chicago IX - Greatest Hits
1975
2.17 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
Love Songs
1982
1.21 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits 1982-1989
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Heart Of Chicago
1989
3.00 | 6 ratings
The Heart Of Chicago 1967-1997
1997
3.00 | 2 ratings
Chicago
1997
2.50 | 2 ratings
The Heart Of Chicago 1967-1998 Volume II
1998
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Chicago Story: Complete Greatest Hits
2002
3.16 | 6 ratings
The Very Best Of: Only The Beginning
2002
4.50 | 2 ratings
The Box
2003
2.86 | 5 ratings
Love Songs (2005)
2005
4.33 | 3 ratings
The Best Of Chicago
2007
3.33 | 3 ratings
Collector's Edition
2009

CHICAGO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.80 | 5 ratings
I'm A Man
1969
4.83 | 6 ratings
25 or 6 to 4 / Where Do We Go From Here
1970
4.40 | 5 ratings
Make Me Smile / Colour My World
1970
3.33 | 3 ratings
Lowdown / Loneliness Is Just A Word
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
‎? ロウダウン (Lowdown) / 欲しいのは君だけ (I Don't Want Your Money)
1971
3.60 | 5 ratings
Feelin' Stronger Every Day
1973
3.33 | 3 ratings
Just You 'N' Me / Critic's Choice
1973
3.33 | 3 ratings
Call On Me
1974
3.50 | 4 ratings
Wishing You Were Here
1974
1.22 | 7 ratings
If You Leave Me Now
1976
2.00 | 4 ratings
Baby, What A Big Surprise / If You Leave Me Now
1977
2.00 | 2 ratings
Baby, What A Big Surprise / Takin' It On Uptown
1977
1.25 | 4 ratings
No Tell Lover / Take A Chance
1979
2.00 | 2 ratings
Street Player
1979

CHICAGO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Chicago XI by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.92 | 43 ratings

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Chicago XI
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat

3 stars As the drive for more commercial success pushed Chicago towards more radio friendly material, the quality of the music put out by the band continues to slide. This album definitely leans towards the commercial soft sounds that would romanticize their music so that it would become pop by pushing the horns to the back and focusing on the lyrics. You can really hear this effect on this album. Now, it's not a complete loss yet because there are a few blues oriented numbers in the excellent "Mississippi Delta Blues" and "Takin' It On Uptown" with their snippets of brass hooks and a little heavier guitar driven sound. The light jazz tune "Take Me Back to Chicago" is not bad with the addition of the soulful sounds somewhat similar to "Skinny Boy" from album "VII". There is also a return to the suite style of the original first 3 albums (even though the songs aren't listed together as a suite). The last three tracks make up this suite, and it is a mostly orchestral driven suite, very dramatically sung and reminiscent of some of the original ballads. But, for the most part, the heart of the band is mostly missing, their minds were on the money and the money was on their minds, so to speak. The songs are just not as interesting. The same thing would happen on the "Hot Streets" album, then after that, Chicago would just risk all heart and soul to the commercial machine. This one is only good, but it is not essential with only a few standout tracks and a lot of commercial appeal.

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 Chicago X by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.93 | 42 ratings

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Chicago X
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat

4 stars The feel of Chicago X is really very close to Chicago VIII (Chicago IX was a greatest hits collection, so we'll skip that one). Just like VIII, X has a great variety of blues and jazz infused rock, streamlined shorter yet well developed tracks, but this one is not as guitar oriented as VIII was. Still, the tracks are still enjoyable and their are plenty of things to love about it. You will notice the trend though especially after this album. Things are less interesting on "XI" and "Hot Streets", then after that, Chicago lost my interest completely. So, I still love this album, again it is not perfect, but it is still enjoyable and better that "V" and "VI". They didn't give it all up to pop quite yet, but it is getting close. Another excellent album and addition to your rock collection. 4 stars.

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 Chicago VIII by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.84 | 37 ratings

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Chicago VIII
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat

4 stars I know this one was not very well liked by the critics and, from the looks of this site, many of the reviewers here. I guess after the excellent return to form and jazz heavy album Chicago VII, everyone was expecting more. Instead, Chicago shifted back to a more streamlined rock-oriented sound. This album is still a far cry from the hit churning days to come and if the critics had heard that before this album, maybe the reviews would have been nicer.

My personal opinion on this album is that it has always been a favorite and I consider it the best of all the single release albums Chicago put out. There is a tendency to more guitar oriented rock on this one. Take for example, the tracks "Hideaway" with that hard rock guitar riff and driving rhythm. It's not very often after this album that you would hear Peter Cetera sing on a hard rock song. The other example is the tribute to Jimi Hendrix called "Oh Thank You Great Spirit". This one is a hard driving song with psychedelic leanings and an amazing guitar solo which is also the longest track on the album. There are the bluesy tracks with "Ain't it Blue" and "Anything You Want". And there are the signature rock/jazz fusion tracks with "Brand New Love Affair, Pts. 1 and 2". Then you have the radio singles "Harry Truman" and "Old Days". These radio singles were not extremely popular so they are not worn out from airplay like many of the Chicago singles.

With plenty of variety and good somewhat challenging songs, there is still plenty to enjoy and get excited about. This album is definitely better than albums "V" and "VI". The songs are better developed and better quality then the poor attempts at popular music that was place on those albums. The music is still a lot more enjoyable and sincere than the commercial fiasco that would plague the band further down the road. Okay, so it's not the most progressive, but it is full of driving rhythms, the brass is still prevalent on a lot of the tracks even though it is more guitar driven and rock oriented. This one is worth serious consideration as one that should be added to your music collection. Not perfect, but still and excellent addition to your collection. 4 stars.

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 Chicago VII by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.97 | 61 ratings

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Chicago VII
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat

5 stars After 2 albums of lite jazz pop, the band Chicago was getting restless and tired of playing non challenging music. So the original idea was to make an album with nothing but jazz on it. Wow, what an amazing idea. Well, some of the members thought so. Others started to worry that the band would lose it's radio audience, so they added a few more radio friendly songs and pretty soon, a new double album was born. This was the first multi album since the "Live at Carnegie Hall" album which at that time and all before, every album was at least 2 discs.

So, we have a lot of good signs now that Chicago is returning to form. And this they do, producing an amazing album of jazz and jazz fusion that would rival even their first 2 albums. The jazz on this is even jazzier than ever. In fact, the first vocals aren't even heard until way into the 6th track! Now that is a risk that you just have to admire. Nothing is boring here either, and apparently the public loved it because the album sold. The instrumentals are top notch, tight playing and upbeat with a lot of structured and improvisational playing. When the vocals do come in, they are not out of place but are very welcome. Even Peter Cetera's songwriting skills had improved greatly where previously he was probably the weakest songwriter, eventually he would be the one to carry the band several years later, but it would be without any sort of progressiveness whatsoever. But, for now, let's enjoy great music.

What we finally get with the final product in Chicago VII is almost one full disc full of jazz and almost one full disc of the signature jazz/rock sound that Chicago was famous for. But don't worry all you prog lovers out there, the more accessible songs here are all still very enjoyable, keeping a little bit of challenge to them even while reaching radio readiness. There were several singles that still came off of this album, one of them with great psychedelic leanings; "Wishing You Were Here". The band was able to pull off the nearly impossible with creating jazz that is reminiscent of the jazz greats, and still making popular music that is still worthy of listening to. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how it is done and Chicago proved it could be done, that with the right mix of everything, you can keep everyone happy.

This is jazz/rock fusion at it's absolute finest and the jazz songs can stand with the best. This flows so nicely into the rock oriented sound when it does arrive and everything just fits together nicely. This is an album you should own, so you can see that it is possible. Even in the rock oriented music, you still get a lot of brass (check out "Call On Me", "Woman Don't Want to Love Me" and "Hanky Panky". On the other side, you even get contemporary/experimental jazz on "Devil's Sweet" and "Italian from New York", and a more accessible jazz in "Aire" and "Mongonucleosis" which even corporates a very danceable Latin flair.

By all means, this one is essential. Almost perfect in every way and completely enjoyable. 5 strong stars!

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 Chicago VI by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.50 | 48 ratings

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Chicago VI
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat

2 stars Chicago V was pretty much standard fare, but Chicago VI would even lean more towards radio friendly music and you can tell that the songs were trying really hard to be poppy already. The band was not really ready for radio because most of the songs on here sound like poor attempts to make pop music. The guitar is pushed to the background and so are the horns on this one. It is sad to have to say that the best songs on the album were the most popular ones, which is kind of odd because they also have the biggest jazz leanings (which isn't much, but at least it's there). The other songs have taken on a very mellow sound. People were starting to worry that their band had sold out for good. But after two big backward steps, Chicago was about to make a huge step forward again in their next album. For now, this one is pretty boring. I can only pull 2 stars out for this one. It's a shame after the amazing debut album Chicago Transit Authority and it's excellent follow up, Chicago II.

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 Chicago V by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.27 | 60 ratings

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Chicago V
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat

3 stars With this being the fifth Chicago release and their first single album, Chicago started to mellow out a bit. They were pulling back on their jazziness to make room for more radio friendly albums. The signature brass sound is still there, just in smaller doses and the experimentation is down to a bare minimum. In fact, the only really good song on this one is Dialogue parts 1 and 2. The rest of the album is standard fare. But this is what really started churning in the money from the singles that would start coming over the air waves. In this album, you also still have some political statements to be made, but you also see the lyrics starting to lean towards the standard fare and the songs starting to have shorter durations of less than 5 minutes each. The prog is mostly missing on this album, so don't expect to find a lot of it here. It's good, but only in a standard kind of way. Nothing really essential here and the only outstanding track is the one I previously mentioned. 3 stars. Don't worry though, things would get better again before it got worse.

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 The Chicago Transit Authority by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.00 | 130 ratings

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The Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat

5 stars Jimi Hendrix once told Chicago saxophonist Walter Parazaider as they were starting out as a band called "The Big Six" that "your horn players are like one set of lungs and your guitar player is better than me." With a compliment like that, you would think your confidence would be so bit that you would release a double album for your debut release. So they did. Not only that, but they named themselves after the mass transit system in Chicago, IL also known as Chicago Transit Authority. That's the name they were known by on their first double album. And what a debut album it is.

Hard to believe that this is the same band that would churn out hit after hit almost a decade later. They would become an assembly line of pop later, but in the early years, here was a band that was influential and would make their mark in rock/jazz fusion and inspire many bands and artists to follow. This album would be a huge hit. With songs like "Beginnings", "South California Purples," "Listen", and "Free Form Guitar", Chicago would establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the music world. The playing is tight, the production is on par, the musicianship is awesome, everything is in it's right place and a regular horn section would be placed into a major superband and remain there as part of their signature sound for all time.

This album is probably a little more consistently rocking than their other albums where the band would expand into other styles, usually with believability and finesse. You get blues, rock, jazz, psychedelia all in a debut album, and it is all well done. Even though this one is great, the follow up to this album, yet another double album, would be even better. So many reviewers have already talked about the songs here, just suffice it to say that this is a debut album that is essential to prog collections because of the excellent use of rock/jazz fusion in a way that would be appealing to those who would never touch jazz music with a 50 foot pole.

After getting in trouble with the real Chicago Transit Authority, the band's name was shortened to Chicago and a logo was made with inspiration taken from the Coca-Cola trademark. Speaking of trademark, this is the first band that I can think of that had their name and logo trademarked.

Anyway, if you only know Chicago from their top 40 MOR hits, you need to listen to this. Absolutely essential. 5 stars.

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 Chicago III by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.60 | 66 ratings

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Chicago III
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat

3 stars After the huge success of the debut album Chicago Transit Authority and the amazing follow up Chicago II, it looked like Chicago was heading for making some pretty amazing music. I've always felt that their second album was a masterpiece and it was a big influence for me to explore progressive rock because I loved the long epics and multi-part suites on that second album. It took several years to finally get my hands on Chicago III. For some reason, I always had a hard time finding it. It looked as if it would be another one that I would love what with more epics and suites. What a let down it turned out to be, and you might blame that on the expectations I had, but I've tried so hard to love this album and it just doesn't work for me. It isn't as consistently good and too many of the compositions seem to be trying way to hard to be a part of a worthy successor to "II".

Now, there are some great gems here, 3 of which are in the Travel Suite: "Flight 602", "Free" and "Happy Because I'm Going Home". The others are "Mother" and "Lowdown". The other songs just don't live up to the greatness of the previous 2 albums. The thing that turns me off so much is it is trying too hard to be a copy of the second album and it fails more than it succeeds. In fact, as much as I detest the Chicago era when they were hit machines and working for the corporate man, I find the "Hour in the Shower" suite to be the most irritating and awful songs Chicago ever recorded. Though "Elegy" shows some promise throughout it's track, it just doesn't stand out like anything on the first or second albums.

I'm not one of those that think that there weren't any good albums after the second though. I actually consider the gargantuan "Live at Carnegie Hall", and VII, VIII and X great albums too. After that, forget it. Anyway, as far as this album, I can only rate it as being good but not essential. There just isn't much as far as groundbreaking material, too much of a copy from before and not a very good copy either. 3 stars.

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 Chicago XXXVI: Now by CHICAGO album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.26 | 10 ratings

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Chicago XXXVI: Now
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars We discover pieces of eternity all the time and now I have discovered Chicago! They are from the big town Chicago in the United States and they has been playing and recording since 1969 which makes them musical veterans. For this forum htey are famous for their earlier jazz rock but even today they have apparently kept something of their genuineness. Prog Archives lists "Chicago XXXVI:Now" as their twentyfourth studio album but English Wikipedia claims it's their twentythird. Well it doesn't matter. You can guess it is their thirtysixth one!

The record released this year are very checkered in black and white boxes with the traditional Chicago emblem in the middle. The musicians present here are Robert Lamm, Walter Parazaider, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Jason Scheff, Keith Howland, Tris Imboden, Lou Pardini and Walfredo Reyes Junior and together they play a lot of instruments such as keyboards, horns, saxophones, trumpets, flugelhorns, trombones, basses, guitars, pianos, drums, organ, vocals and percussionss. They also use a lot of guest musicians.

The music is amazingly produced and the quality is indisputable. Then is it a matter of taste, as usual with music and art. Chicago plays a grown up rock with jazz and brass ingredients and it's very American. The title track "Now" (8/10) is a wonderful example of their musicality. With horns and different vocal parts. You feel you experience the American seventies or eighties in music. That is a feeling you keep during the whle listening session. "America" is a love song to the land or the continent. it is full of clichés and buzzwords but nevertheless it's very pleasant(7/10). "Something's coming I know"(7/10) is the third of the album's best songs and I'd call it very enjoyable. The other songs are well composed and performed and give you something of everything: great musicianship, beautiful instruments and harmonies.

The record is in a few words nice and undemanding. Without being pretentious or too artistic Chicago here has created intelligent pop music. I'd call this record good but not essential. It give's me inspiration to go backwords and explore this band further. Three solid stars! Best song: "Now"

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 Live in Japan by CHICAGO album cover Live, 1972
4.03 | 18 ratings

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Live in Japan
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Well, here I go again, ranting about my distaste of live albums. "Distaste" might be a bit harsh, really. Let's just say I do not think that they are essential part of my collection. Let's just leave it at that. I would like to add, though, that some live albums really are wonderful. This one is, for sure.

Chicago is a band i grew up with. My father loved them and played their albums on occasion. When I say "their albums" I mean some of the later stuff, when the music grew a bit more sophisticated and pop oriented, although with a strong jazz-rock feel to it. I, for one, have always hailed their second album as their greatest achievement. I would even call that album the greatest jazz-rock album of all time. It is that good. Apart from that, Chicago was between 1969-1972 a real force to be reckoned with, playing adventurous and hard jazz-rock wth a real gritty and raw edge. They were phenomenal.

This live album really sounds like they did in the studio, albeit a bit more free flowing and loose. It is impossible to reproduce every single aspect of a studio recording, so here they play the songs with all the talent possible in a live setting, which in parts boils the material down to their bare necessities. It is really hard rocking stuff, capable of destroying a small country. The musicianship is extremely tight and I cannot be anything but amazed at the marvelous performance.

Favorite tracks are "State of the union", "Dialogue Pt. 1 & 2" and "25 or 6 to 4". These are amazing renditions. The remainder of the album is impressive as well. Too bad this album seems to be an anonymous one. It deserves to be listened to, no matter your feelings towards live albums.

No live album is essential in my book, except for Rick Wakeman's "Journey to the centre of the Earth" which really is more than a live album. This one, however, lifts my spirits and is a great testimony to one of the greatest jazz rock bands of all time and that band's most progressive and impressive period. Top stuff.

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