The band Chicago is celebrating fifty-two years of composing and performing what they themselves refer to as “rock and roll with horns”. The band was formed back in 1967, when they worked under the moniker of Chicago Transit Authority. Their original sound came from a fusion of rock and jazz, with a horn section to round it out. The founding line-up spanned from the late sixties to the late seventies when guitarist and co-founder Terry Kath suffered a fatal mishap involving a firearm.
This tragic event placed the future of the band in jeopardy. It was at this point in time that bassist/lead vocalist and co-founder Peter Cetera took on a larger role in the songwriting, thus began a change in the band’s musical direction towards a poppier more radio friendly approach. This stage of their career saw many of their ballads topping the charts, and was to be the band’s focus until the mid-eighties with the departure of Peter Cetara.
Fast forward to 2019, where Chicago is still a vibrant musical force, as they have continued to perform their timeless hits for highly appreciative fans worldwide. At the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, Chicago perfomed for their local fanbase and the audience was very much involved in the celebration, showing their appreciation by cheering, dancing, and singing along.
The venue was filled to capacity as the pleasant evening air was brimming with hits from decades past providing fans with memories both new as well as old. Some of the musical highlights included such classics as: Colour My World, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is, You’re The Inspiration, I’m A Man, Saturday In The Park, Feeling Stronger Everyday, and the perfect closing number, 25 Or 6 To 4.
The rhythm section comprised of: Walfredo Reyes Jr (drums), Ramon “Ray” Yslas (percussion) and Brett Simons (bass, backing vocals), laid down a solid foundation for the rest of the band to create their magic. The horn section, which was comprised of Lee Loughnane (trumpet, fluglehorn and backing vocals), James Pankow (trombone, backing vocals), Walter Parazaider (saxophone, flute, clarinet, backing vocals), and Ray Herrman (saxophones, flute, clarinet, backing vocals), provided a strong performance which gave the evening a very festive atmosphere. Robert Lamm (keyboards, guitar and lead vocals), Lou Pardini (keyboards, lead vocals) and Neil Donell (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), all gave excellent vocal performances that were top notch. Keith Howland (lead guitar, backing vocals) was on fire, offering up some awe inspiring guitar work giving the band that extra edge.
Kudos to The Ottawa Jazz Festival for booking Chicago in a nice venue where the band, and their fans could celebrate the music of a legendary classic American rock band.
Chicago Set List:
Dialogue (Part I & II)
Call on Me
(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long
Ballet For a Girl In Buchannon
Make Me Smile
So Much To Say, So Much To Give
West Virginia Fantasies
Colour My World
To Be Free
Now More Than Ever
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
Hard Habit to Break
You’re the Inspiration
I’m a Man (The Spencer Davis Group cover)
Just You ‘n’ Me
Hard to Say I’m Sorry
Saturday in the Park
Feelin’ Stronger Every Day
25 or 6 to 4