Patricia G. from PRINEVILLE, OR Reviewed on 8/7/2006...
BMG MUSIC EDITION
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Daring reworking of Big Band Era Standards
W. Beck | Chicago, IL United States | 08/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The people who criticize this album definately need to listen AGAIN (or they just hate Chicago's sound). When I first heard this CD I couldn't believe that Chicago pulled it off! These are big band era tunes (40's) that are updated with great vocals, inventive arrangements, and end up sounding like..... well, Chicago. Much better than another power ballad.
Great performances by the guys in the band also. I'm wearing out this CD."
Really Great Stuff
Bill Fleck | Wurtsboro, NY USA | 05/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I remember seeing the commercials for NIGHT & DAY and thinking, "Ah, jeez, Chicago's dead." I knew CHICAGO 21 hadn't sold well, and I'd heard something about what had transpired with THE STONE OF SISYPHUS. But a big-band album? It seemed to me an act of laziness, as if the fellas couldn't muster up enough creativity to do a REAL album of original tunes. So in my pig-headed way, I avoided listening to NIGHT & DAY for about 8 years.
I'm proud to admit here how dumb I was.
I picked up NIGHT & DAY a year or so ago, and kicked myself for not getting it sooner (the same holds true for the Christmas album). Simply put, it's among the best, most consistent works Chicago has done. Everything, from the singing to the arrangements, is carried off with gusto and flair. And the horns (aided and abetted by Bill Watrous' big band) are front-and-center for the first time in years.
A rousing version of "Chicago," voiced by Robert Lamm, kicks off the set, followed by a ripping version of "Caravan," also voiced by Lamm, and featuring lightning-fast horn arrangements (trombonist James Pankow has said that this album contains some of his best work in years, and he's right). LATE NIGHT WITH LETTERMAN piano man Paul Schaffer guests on "Dream A Little Dream of Me," sung effectively by Jason Scheff. And then things get REALLY good.....
"Goody Goody" features Bill Champlin, and he just sings the spots off the song. The cool keyboards help a lot, too. An upbeat version of "Moonlight Serenade" follows, and then comes the title track. Underscored by an African drumbeat and featuring a gorgeous horn bridge, "Night and Day" is really something special. But just when you think the album has peaked, Champlin strikes again with a blistering version of "Blues in the Night," arguably the best cut on the set; it famously features a wild guitar solo by Aerosmith's Joe Perry.
"Sing Sing Sing" is a bit of a letdown following "Blues"--the arrangement is thin, and the tempo seems forced--but "Sophisticated Lady" more than makes up for it with a lush, mysterious opening, terrific vocals from Scheff, and a haunting guitar solo at the close by Bruce Gaitsch. It's followed by a surprisingly straightforward version of "In the Mood" (with original lyrics by Chicago) and a really bright version of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" featuring the best horn charts since CHICAGO V. The closer, "Take the 'A' Train," is a worthy retake on the Ellington classic, leaving the listener wanting more.
If you're a Chicago fan and haven't heard NIGHT & DAY yet, take the chance. No, it's not CTA, but this 1995 work creates and sustains a mood all its own."
Rik22 | New York | 04/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Chicago offering is a terrific blend of the original trademark Chicago style with an excellent choice of standards from the Big Band era. While some critics have criticized the band for "Chicagoizing" these "classics", that's exactly what makes this such a unique and exciting CD. Most every other artist's foray into the Big Band standards arena has produced recordings that are so true to the original arrangements (e.g. Harry Connick, Linda Rondstadt), they might as well have been recorded in the '40's, this outing by the boys from the Windy City evidences a fresh approach to this timeless material. Every track shows Chicago exploring the composition from a different angle: whether it is the mystically slow tempo of "Night and Day", the Latin-tinged "Sing, Sing, Sing", or the down-and-dirty blues rock shuffle of "Blues in the Night". True, the horn charts sound like classic Chicago, and that's the beauty of it. Here, they sound as warm and fat as ever, and trombonist Jimmy Pankow weaves them into the arrangements with his proven skill. Nothing fancy, just melodic and interesting horn charts with the trademark Chicago horns' silky style. Every track here is a winner. A great CD!"
Chicago Returns To Glory!
Rik22 | 07/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is a return to glory for Chicago. They have taken the big band tunes and turned them into their own. Robert Lamm sets the tone with "Chicago". This song highlights his altra smooth voice and all three horn players. Then "Caravan" jams. Nice to hear a xylophone on this one and some good guitar rifs. "Goody Goody" is a fun fun bouncy tune featuring Bill Champlin. "Moonlight Serenade" is very well done. Jason Scheff and Robert Lamm share vocals on this one. Walt plays flute. The tune changes from a ballad to a rocker at the end with a nice fade. The title track is great. I love the "Lion King" drum intro and James Pankow plays his trombone about as well as ever. "Blues In The Night" is a hard blues/rocker complete with Joe Perry of Aerosmith playing guitar with a smoking solo. Champlin's vocals are soulful as well as powerful. Finally, my favorite "Take The "A" Train" is wonderful. It kind of reminds me of "Beginnings"Really, this is one of Lamm's best songs ever as well as one of Chicago's best albums ever."
Fantastic modern variations of Big Band classics!
M. Berger | Orlando, FL USA | 04/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The purpose of a review is to help someone decide whether s/he should purchase a CD. Wow, this is a hard one, because it's hard to describe the very comprehensive liberties that Chicago takes with these classics. This CD won't appeal to everyone, but I think it would be surprisingly appealing to a lot of people who aren't already Chicago fans.For whatever it's worth, I feel very positive about what Chicago has done with these charts. In fact, WOW! What an addictive CD with big, rich sound and with a very knowledgeable group of musicians' interpretation of the classics in America's musical genre (jazz)! VERY exciting stuff for me! Most of the people I know who have ever played a wind or rhythm instrument agree that this is a fantastic CD.That said, again it's hard to be descriptive in this review. So, in the absence of any helpful description, here's who should definitely take in this CD:1. People who like Chicago for its musical prowess as a group, but not necessarily for its "pop love sap."
2. People who like Jazz for its tendency to be constantly evolving and improvising, even on its own successes.
3. People who like Big Band classics AND don't mind the idea of having them remade so that they don't sound like the essential classic Big Band charts.
4. People who would like to be introduced to the Big Band genre without listening to albums with grainy sound and pre-digital production.Those who may NOT appreciate this CD include:1. People who like Chicago's classic rock tunes but haven't liked them since their sound became digitized in the 80s and 90s. (Although this is a completely different genre, so I would still give it a chance--it might surprise you.)
2. People who like Big Band classics but think they should remain classics not to be tampered with. (Definitely would NOT like this CD, because it does take liberties with the classics.)
3. People who have listened to jazz, rock, pop, and Big Band--and they don't like any of it! (Classical music gurus, country fans, rappers, and metal heads will not appreciate this.)That said, I could not give a higher endorsement to any CD made strictly of remade music. This was the most unique CD I added to my permanent collection of favorites in the mid- to late 90's. I recommend it to anyone who likes new ideas in music, likes "feel good" music in any gnere, or enjoys strong musicianship and memorable melodeis.I really did listen to this CD "Night and Day," for months after I bought it. I think most people would do the same."