Squawk Radio

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Liz Jazzes Up the Sunday

Since I’ve been rocking the music blog for the last few weeks, I figure it’s time to do something a little jazzier today. And yes, I know the band Chicago didn’t exactly make their name as a jazz band. But. They are a BIG band, loaded with horns, and they were definitely influenced by jazz, so it was inevitable, I think, that they eventually recorded an album of big band music. Nevertheless, they injected the old standards with the Chicago standard and sound, invited other artists like Gipsy Kings and Joe Perry and Paul Schaffer to play along, and what they created was a really cool CD.

It goes without saying that the album opens with the song “Chicago,” which has been immortalized by many a crooner. But somehow, it feels more intimate coming from a Chicago-based band. What I love, though, is that Chicago didn’t rely on the usual songs that other big band collections seem to focus on over and over again. They pulled out some fabulous songs that are too often overlooked. Among others, “Caravan” (I absolutely adore that song), “Blues in the Night,” Goody, Goody,” and, my personal fave, “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

That last, performed with Gipsy Kings, is worth the price of the CD. Who knew that guitars could be so jazzy? Oh, right. Jazz guitarists. We associate the guitar with rock ‘n’ roll way too much. It’s definitely a jazz instrument, too. Which Chicago illustrates beautifully. Again and again and again.

There’s just not a bad song in the entire collection, and it all feels so fresh while being so familiar. I love it for long drives and entertaining friends. Though it’s nice for jitterbugging, too.
Elizabeth Bevarly, 10:49 AM