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Chicago - Chicago VII CD (album) cover

CHICAGO VII

Chicago

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.01 | 89 ratings

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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!

TCat | 5/5 |

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