I’m aware that horn-driven rock isn’t for everyone. And further that Chicago have sometimes tarnished their own reputation by playing some treacly, watered-down shit. But in the early days they were a smokin’ hot band.
I recently watched a documentary on TV about the great band Chicago. Every once in a while, they would punctuate the soundtrack with a snippet of a terrific, soulful song. I said to myself “I gotta know what that song is.” So I eventually figured out it was a tune called “Movin’ In,” from their second album, appropriately named Chicago (or Chicago II.) I kinda knew it but had forgotten about it.
This album came out in 1970, back when it wasn’t unusual for bands to mix rock and jazz together. The two most prominent bands that did this were the Chicago Transit Authority and Blood, Sweat, and Tears. I think the former got a little more respect but personally I liked ’em both.
So why do I love this song? Well, firstly it’s the overall feel. It’s just funky and has a great horn arrangement. But as much as anything else, it’s Terry Kath’s voice. If you don’t know Kath, you should. He was not only an outstanding singer, he was a tremendous guitarist. That’s him wailing away on one of my favorite guitar solos of all time on “25 or 6 to 4.”
This song goes on its funky, soulful way for about a minute or so and then it swings into a nice jazzy piece. The only thing that mars it for me, quite frankly, is that the sax player decides to go all Coltrane on his solo but it doesn’t work. The trumpeter pulls his ass out of hot water with a nice, tasty solo. Then some trombone action, and then back to the slower, funky thing.
A doubletime thing happens onto the flourish ending. Love it. I can listen to this song over and over:
I’ll be doing a series on Chicago one fine day. If you dug this, stay tuned.