Chicago XI [Bonus Tracks]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
The band's 11th effort and ninth studio release began to show signs of Chicago's somewhat formulaic approach to record-making. A few weepy and introspective ballads, a few rockers, and voilĂ . It is perhaps this oversimplification of the process that had become one of the combo's primary points of contention with their longtime producer, musical director, and mentor, James William Guercio. Under his supervision, Chicago's image had become as predictable as the distinct Cola-Cola-inspired "Chicago" logo and Roman numeral cataloging that had been emblazoned upon every one of the group's releases to date. There was also some less apparent turmoil going on within the grooves ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
The band's 11th effort and ninth studio release began to show signs of Chicago's somewhat formulaic approach to record-making. A few weepy and introspective ballads, a few rockers, and voilĂ . It is perhaps this oversimplification of the process that had become one of the combo's primary points of contention with their longtime producer, musical director, and mentor, James William Guercio. Under his supervision, Chicago's image had become as predictable as the distinct Cola-Cola-inspired "Chicago" logo and Roman numeral cataloging that had been emblazoned upon every one of the group's releases to date. There was also some less apparent turmoil going on within the grooves as well. This was certainly not dramatically affecting the quality of the music or performances, which are solid throughout. Conspicuously absent are the elongated jazz jams and instrumentals. They have been effectively replaced by shorter and decidedly more "hit-oriented" material. Nowhere is this more evident than Peter Cetera's bass/vocals "Baby, What a Big Surprise," which became the Top Ten follow-up to his chart-topping and double Grammy award-garnering track "If You Leave Me Now" from their previous studio disc, Chicago X 1976. In terms of accessibility, such light pop fare was an inevitable triumph. From a creative perspective, however, the band had all but abandoned their previous fusion experimentations. The shorter arrangements did include several notable and inspired works, such as the Terry Kath guitar/vocals opener, "Mississippi Delta Blues." This cut not only demonstrates his agile electric guitar work, the up-tempo and funky track is a showcase for his unparalleled style of arranging. The same holds for Kath's gritty rocker "Takin' It on Uptown." This contrasts Daniel Seraphine's drums/percussion "Take Me Back to Chicago" or the slightly darker and orchestrated "Little One." More distinct in its arguable overuse of strings is the miniature symphonic "The Inner Struggles of a Man" from Dominic Frontiere -- who had become a heavyweight working with the likes of old-school talents such as Eartha Kitt and Bing Crosby as well as the more concurrent introspective folkie leanings of Dan Fogelberg. Frontiere also contributes the less-pronounced "Prelude" to Seraphine's closing ballad, "Little One." Also worth mentioning are James Pankow's soulful "Till the End of Time," which is pulled off with a sonic finesse reminiscent of "Big" Al Anderson during his NRBQ days. Adding to the hauntingly familiar refrain are not only some sweet vocal inflections, but likewise the brassy horn section, who supply a laid-back and understated bed not unlike that of the Q's Whole Wheat Horns. On a much more somber note, Chicago XI is the final studio effort to include the unfathomable contributions of Kath, who fatally and accidentally shot himself on January 23, 1978 -- some four months after the release of this album. Although the group would eventually reconvene, their sound was never the same. [The 2003 CD reissue contains a pair of "bonus selections" from the rehearsals and recording sessions. Incipient and previously unissued versions of Pankow's "Wish I Could Fly" and Robert Lamm's keyboard/vocals Parisian ode "Paris" are equally poignant as two of Kath's final statements with the band he formed and defined for nearly a decade.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/25/2003
  • Label: Rhino
  • UPC: 081227618025
  • Catalog Number: 76180
  • Sales rank: 37,813

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Chicago Primary Artist
Robert Lamm Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals, Clavinet
Peter Cetera Bass, Vocals
Tim Cetera Background Vocals
Chaka Khan Background Vocals, Voices
James William Guercio Acoustic Guitar, Bass
Terry Kath Guitar, Percussion, Electric Guitar, Vocals
Lee Loughnane Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Vocals, Soloist
James Pankow Percussion, Trombone, Keyboards, Vocals
Walter Parazaider Baritone Saxophone, Woodwind
Daniel Seraphine Percussion, Drums
Armin Steiner Recorder
The Voices of Inspiration Choir, Chorus
David "Hawk" Wolinski ARP, fender rhodes
Laudir DeOliveira Percussion, Drums
Technical Credits
Dominic Frontiere Composer, Orchestration, Orchestral Arrangements
Robert Lamm Composer
Peter Cetera Composer
James William Guercio Producer
Terry Kath Composer
Lee Loughnane Composer
James Pankow Composer, Brass Arrangment
Daniel Seraphine Composer, Concept
Wayne Tarnowski Engineer
David "Hawk" Wolinski Composer
A. Scott Galloway Liner Notes
David Donnelly Remastering
Maria Villar Art Direction
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