Chicago Christmas: What's It Gonna Be Santa?

Chicago Christmas: What's It Gonna Be Santa?

4.8 5
by Chicago

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Chicago Christmas: What's It Gonna Be, Santa? is actually a retitled reissue of Chicago's 1998 album Chicago 25: The Christmas Album with six newly recorded extra tracks, bringing the running time up near 75 minutes. Chicago 25 was a gold record seller, and after the band sold its catalog to Rhino Records in 2002 and that…  See more details below


Chicago Christmas: What's It Gonna Be, Santa? is actually a retitled reissue of Chicago's 1998 album Chicago 25: The Christmas Album with six newly recorded extra tracks, bringing the running time up near 75 minutes. Chicago 25 was a gold record seller, and after the band sold its catalog to Rhino Records in 2002 and that label began releasing expanded reissues of the back catalog, the idea of adding to the holiday album came up. It wasn't a bad record to begin with, one on which the Chicago style was applied to seasonal standards. As ever, the group was a cooperative unit, with the three lead singers -- Robert Lamm, Bill Champlin, and Jason Scheff -- taking turns on the different songs, arranged by various bandmembers and always allowing for generous contributions by the horn players Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, and Walt Parazaider. The songs were all old favorites except for Loughnane and John Durrill's "Child's Prayer," featuring a choir dominated by the musicians' children, which sounded so much like a Middle Ages English hymn that it fit right in. Highlights included a particularly moving vocal on "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by the gruff-voiced Champlin, a wonderful doubled flute passage by Parazaider on "O Come All Ye Faithful," and a rare lead vocal by Loughnane on "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" But the whole album, pristinely produced by E Street Band pianist Roy Bittan, was well performed. It sounded exactly like you would expect a Chicago Christmas album to sound, and if you liked the band and holiday music, you'd like the record, too. Now, there's just a little more of it, including a rocking version of "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" with new lyrics referring to the bandmembers; two more Loughnane lead vocals on "Bethlehem" and "Sleigh Ride"; and Champlin turning "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" into an R&B tour de force. Bittan may not have been available for the new sessions, but drafting in Phil Ramone as producer wasn't too shabby as replacements go.

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Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chicago   Primary Artist
Bill Champlin   Organ,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Electric Piano,Vocals,Background Vocals,Synthesizer Bass,Synthesizer Vibes,Group Member
Robert Lamm   Piano,Electric Piano,Vocals,Background Vocals,Clavinet,Vibes,Group Member
Roy Bittan   Organ,Piano,Accordion,Keyboards,Synthesizer Drums
Alex Brown   Choir, Chorus
Tamara Champlin   Choir, Chorus
Alvin Chea   Choir, Chorus
Gia Ciambotti   Choir, Chorus
Luis Conte   Percussion
Johnny Durrill   Synthesizer
Gary Falcone   Choir, Chorus
Keith Howland   Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Group Member
Tris Imboden   Drums,Group Member
Larry Klimas   Baritone Saxophone
Lee Loughnane   Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Vocals,Background Vocals,Muted Trumpet,Piccolo Trumpet,Group Member
Bobbi Page   Choir, Chorus
James Pankow   Synthesizer,Trombone,Group Member
Walter Parazaider   Flute,Alto Flute,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Group Member
Tim Pierce   Acoustic Guitar
Jason Scheff   Bass,Electric Bass,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Fretless Bass Guitar,Electric Upright Bass,Group Member
Carmen Twillie   Background Vocals,Choir Director
Maxine Willard Waters   Choir, Chorus
Oren Waters   Choir, Chorus
Monalisa Young   Choir, Chorus
Clark Gable   Children's Chorus
Edie Lehmann Boddicker   Choir, Chorus
Ryan Kelly   Conductor
Michael Amezcua   Children's Chorus
Amity Addrisi   Children's Chorus
Alex Bittan   Children's Chorus
Jade Thacker   Children's Chorus
H.K. Dorsey   Choir, Chorus
Kayley Gable   Children's Chorus
Kate Lamm   Children's Chorus
Sean Lamm   Children's Chorus
Dylan Loughnane   Children's Chorus
River Loughnane   Children's Chorus
Sarah Pankow   Children's Chorus
Brittany Scott   Children's Chorus
Ryan Bittan   Children's Chorus

Technical Credits

Leroy Anderson   Composer
Irving Berlin   Composer
José Feliciano   Composer
Chicago   Reissue Producer
Donny Hathaway   Arranger,Composer
Vince Guaraldi   Composer
Mel Tormé   Composer
Bill Champlin   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Vocal Arrangements,Brass Arrangment
Robert Lamm   Arranger,Brass Arrangment
Harry Simeone   Composer
Franz Gruber   Composer
Felix Bernard   Composer
Roy Bittan   Producer
George Black   Programming
Hugh Brown   Art Direction
Sammy Cahn   Composer
Tamara Champlin   Composer
J. Fred Coots   Composer
Katherine Davis   Composer
Johnny Durrill   Arranger,Composer
Haven Gillespie   Composer
Keith Howland   Arranger,Vocal Arrangements
Tris Imboden   Arranger
Nick Lane   Brass Arrangment
Lee Loughnane   Arranger,Composer,Vocal Arrangements,Brass Arrangment
Johnny Marks   Composer
Hugh Martin   Composer
David McLees   Reissue Producer
David Millman   Liner Notes
Lance Morrison   Arranger
Henry Onorati   Composer
James Pankow   Arranger,Vocal Arrangements,Brass Arrangment,Flute Arrangement
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Gary Peterson   Discographical Annotation
Phil Ramone   Producer
Jason Scheff   Arranger,Programming,Vocal Arrangements
Jule Styne   Composer
Ed Thacker   Engineer
Robert Wells   Composer
Dick Smith   Composer
Kosh   Art Direction
Linda C. Cobb   Art Direction
Ralph Blane   Composer
Lee Mendelson   Composer
Frederick Oakeley   Composer
John Francis Wade   Composer
Joseph Mohr   Composer
Nadine McKinnor   Composer
Traditional   Composer
William Chatterton Dix   Composer
Larry Mysels   Composer

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Christmas: What's It Gonna Be, Santa? 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
the best big band ever
Guest More than 1 year ago
Five years ago, Chicago released "XXV," which was by far their best release of the '90s. "Christmas: What's It Gonna Be Santa" includes all of the "XXV" tracks plus six new songs produced by Phil Ramone ("Hot Streets,' "13"). Unfortuneately, that's the problem. "Jolly Old St. Nicolaus" and "Winter Wonderland" are okay, but don't quite measure up to the great performances on the prior release. The other new tracks fit right in, with Champlin's rendition of "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer" being a real standout. He actually sounds like he HAD FUN SINGING IT, which is refreshing. Overall, I would recommend this CD, but it does not get the five star rating I'd give "XXV."
Guest More than 1 year ago
I lived right next door to Loughnane Family while I was growing up. This album is great! It's great to hear Lee sing the lead vocals on some of the songs on this album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've pulled this CD out for my vehicle every holiday season since its release. The band gives each of the songs a new and spirited lift - the horn and rhythm arrangements are stunning. With the sorry state of rock and music in general these days - this "oldies" group still delivers the punch and swing.