The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has long been renowned for the sound of its brass section. This CD features the symphony's brass in a selection of pieces that span almost 250 years, including some works originally written for brass and some transcriptions of works for keyboard, orchestra, or band. It's a diverse and appealing program that effectively shows off the players' virtuosity and should interest any fans of brass.
Even as he is most closely associated with the music of Wagner and Beethoven, conductor Georg Solti enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the orchestral music of Johannes Brahms. Solti's own personal preferences in terms of Brahms, judging based on his performance history, were slanted toward the Haydn Variations, German Requiem, and the concerti, but in the late '70s he undertook a cycle of the symphonies with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Decca London that some expert listeners feel have never been bettered since.
The Chicago Transit Authority recorded this double-barreled follow-up to their eponymously titled 1969 debut effort. The contents of Chicago II (1970) underscore the solid foundation of complex jazz changes with heavy electric rock & roll that the band so brazenly forged on the first set. The septet also continued its ability to blend the seemingly divergent musical styles into some of the best and most effective pop music of the era. One thing that had changed was the band's name, which was shortened to simply Chicago to avoid any potential litigious situations from the city of Chicago's transportation department – which claimed the name as proprietary property…
Claudio Abbado was an Italian conductor. One of the most celebrated and respected conductors of the 20th century, particularly in the music of Gustav Mahler, he served as music director of the La Scala opera house in Milan, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Vienna State Opera, founder and director of Lucerne Festival Orchestra, music director of European Union Youth Orchestra and principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra.
Despite stints with Orchestras and duos Peterson loved the trio format best. Touring the world in the early Sixties with Ray Brown on Double Bass and Ed Thigpen on Drums the band settled in Chicago for a week long Residency, subsequently recording a four LP set of their performances. The two recordings here are considered the cream of the crop consisting of compositions from right across the 20th century along with two of Peterson's own, masterful creations. Originally released on Verve Records in 1961.
Muddy Waters was the leading exponent of Chicago blues in the Fifties, and with him, the blues came up from the Delta and went electric. His guitar licks and repertoire have fueled innumerable blues bands.
Aretha Franklin is one of the giants of soul music, and indeed of American pop as a whole. More than any other performer, she epitomized soul at its most gospel-charged. Her astonishing run of late-'60s hits with Atlantic Records "Respect," "I Never Loved a Man," "Chain of Fools," "Baby I Love You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "The House That Jack Built," and several others earned her the title "Lady Soul," which she has worn uncontested ever since.
In 2001, legendary blues pianist Pinetop Perkins was edging up on 88 years of age when he played the concert date in Chicago documented on this album. Perkins sounds plenty spry here, but this certainly doesn't capture the great man at his best; Perkins was a pioneer of the boogie-woogie style and was a longtime member of Muddy Waters' band, but most of On the 88's: Live in Chicago is devoted to easygoing midtempo numbers that sound a bit timid compared to what he played in his prime. Perkins shows he still had a great touch on this recording, and his timing is more than fine, but his left hand doesn't quite anchor these tunes the way he did in his salad days (it might have helped if he'd been given a better piano for this gig, since the instrument has the tone of a second-rate electronic keyboard), and even if his singing is game, his voice was showing its wear.