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Chicago - Chicago [Aka: Chicago  II] CD (album) cover

CHICAGO [AKA: CHICAGO II]

Chicago

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.14 | 197 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Well, believe it or not, Chicago´s second release was another double LP (and so would be their third!). This is what I call a prolific band! And their sound here is still miles away from the syrup pop they´d ended up famous for. I was quite impressed by their debut already, and this one was heading to a similar direction, although the general playing and production was a bit better. There are some very elaborated moments too (like the two long suites that take most of side two and four of the original vinyl.

Their mix of psychodelic rock, rhythm & blues, soul, funk, jazz, pop and classical music is awesome! They were quite talented musicians, fine singers (their hamornies are a highlight too) and quite ambitious writers (at least at this point). There are some pretty heavy experimentation and they even used a string section on some parts. Still the music was accessible most of the time, something that surely helped Chicago to become a hugely popular act. Two of their biggest hits (25 Or 6 To 4 and Make Me Smile) were from this record (even though the singles were edited versions. Both included in the remasterered version as bonus tracks).

Although not really a jazz rock group per se, Chicago was at that point very progressive since it took so many different musical elements and merged them together to make a sound of their own. Their bold arrangements - specially the great brass/woodwind parts - are surprisingly inventive, well done and work very well inside the ´song´ format as much as on the more elaborated suites. In fact, they worked better on the shorter stuff. But that´s a matter of taste.

Conclusion: another winner from a band I only knew from their pop hits until recently. If you like the aforementioned styles this is a must have. A great find and some very good (prog) music. Four stars, no doubt!

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |

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