Chicago – “The Chicago Transit Authority”

Chicago. Not only the name of a great city but the name of the greatest jazz-rock band of all time. Though they may not be as popular now as in their heyday, Chicago certainly deserves the success they have achieved over the decades as they toured and recorded together. What makes Chicago so unique is how they play solid rock and roll, but with a horn section that is an integral part of the band’s sound.

It all started with their first album, “The Chicago Transit Authority,” released in 1969. The group was unknown, and the album included two LPs – almost unheard of at that time.

From humble beginnings, “The Chicago Transit Authority” would go on to earn high accolades, staying on the charts for 171 weeks and creating a large, loyal fan base. When listening to “Introduction,” it’s clear these musicians are about to unleash something fantastic.

The next track, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” illustrates the rush of modern life and how people can easily forget to spend time with loved ones. “Beginnings,” a seven-minute love song on acoustic guitar and brass, will touch anyone’s heart. But the album also has a hard rock growl; “Free Form Guitar” is a guitar feedback assault that will remind any self-respecting rocker of Jimi Hendrix. These and other songs on the album are all strong showings and great on their own, but together they fit perfectly and complement each another, something rarely seen now.

It is a sad thought that there will never be another band as revolutionary or as creative as Chicago. They were not trying to find a niche to climb into, but just to play the music that burned in their souls.

This album was only a taste of things to come in Chicago’s career, and a testament to their evolution as musicians. With the turn music has taken in ­recent years, it’s a comfort to hear some high-caliber rock and roll from the Windy City. Rock on, Chicago.

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