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Chicago - The Chicago Transit Authority CD (album) cover

THE CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY

Chicago

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.06 | 178 ratings

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TCat
Prog Reviewer
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.

TCat | 5/5 |

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