Friday Forgotten Oldie: Let’s go to the ballet

With Independence Day just around the corner we thought our oldie this week would be from American artists. And we’ve pulled out a dandy.

When it comes to American music groups this one has sold more records than any other with the exception of the Beach Boys…

Image result for logo, chICAGO ROCK GROUP

Chicago is an American jazz-rock horn band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois. Do the math. They’ve been around, recording and performing for 51 years.

Chicago has recorded 36 albums and sold over 100,000,000 records.

That’s the cover of their second album, released in January of 1970. Though it was their second LP, because their inaugural album was titled “Chicago Transit Authority” this one was called “Chicago.” The real transit authority sued and the band changed their name. Boy, the CTA really showed them.

The highlight of this double album was an extended composition, “Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon.  Written by trombonist James Pankow, the Ballet is a suite of pop songs emulating the form of the great classical composers.

From the website Chicago the band:

“The second record had more of a classical approach to it,” says (band member Walt) Parazaider, “whereas the first one was really a raw thing. The second one seemed a little more polished.”

“I had been inspired by classics,” says Pankow of the Ballet. I had bought the Brandenburg concertos, and I was listening to them one night, thinking, man, how cool! Bach 200 years ago, wrote this stuff, and it cooks. If we put a rock ‘n’ roll rhythm section to something like this, that could be really cool. I was also a big Stravinsky fan. His stuff is classical, yet it’s got a great passion to it. We were on the road, and I had a Fender Rhodes piano between Holiday Inn beds. I found myself going back to some arpeggios, a la Bach, and along came “Colour My World.” It’s just a simple 12-bar pattern, but it just flowed. Then I called Walt into the room, and I said, “Hey, Walt, you got your flute? Why don’t you try a few lines?,” and one thing led to another. These things were disjointed, but yet I liked it all, and ultimately it was a matter of just sewing these things together, creating segues and interludes.”

Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon

Make Me Smile
So Much to Say, So Much to Give
Anxiety’s Moment
West Virginia Fantasies
Colour My World
To Be Free
Now More Than Ever

From October 2014 at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, DE…

Image result for chicago the band

Chicago is, not surprisingly, on tour.

Chip Chandler writes on Panhandle PBS:

This tour offers something special: The band will play the entirety of its Grammy-nominated sophomore album Chicago — including hit “25 or 6 to 4” and the epic song cycle “Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon” — to kick off the show. Then, (Lee) Loughnane said, “we’ll take a 15-minute intermission and come back and do the longest encore known to man will all of our hits, another hour or so of all hits.”

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