Chicago Christmas: What's It Gonna Be Santa?

( 5 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
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

  • Release Date: 10/14/2003
  • Label: Rhino
  • UPC: 081227389222
  • Catalog Number: 73892
  • Sales rank: 40,865

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Chicago Primary Artist
Bill Champlin Organ, Synthesizer, Acoustic Guitar, 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, 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 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
Dave Donnelly Remastering
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    5* horn arrangements - a fresh take on the old classics

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Grew Up With Lee Loughnane

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Expanded version of "XXV" not quite as good.

    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."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    excellent

    the best big band ever

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews