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Merry Christmas XXXIII-O,
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This review is from: Chicago XXXIII -O Christmas Three (Audio CD)
When I bought the first Chicago Christmas Album several years ago it stayed in my CD player until April, I liked the Album that much that I listened to it every day. So when III comes out I jumped on it and I am not disappointed. This marks the demise of Bill Champlin from the group, I personally will really miss his "Musicality" to the band. When he joined the band they were tragically missing the soul and feel that guitarist "Terry Kath" had added. Bill came along and rather than try to fill Terry's shoes, he wore a completely different pair adding his own soul, and giving Chicago the grit and testosterone that had been missing in TK's absence. Good luck Bill in your solo endeavors. So now with Bill gone we welcome Lou Pardini to the group, this Christmas album is the first I've heard from Lou, he sounds good and plays the hammond B-3 sound as Bill did. He sings well, but, to me he does not cover the void in the absence of Bill. Of course trying to replace Bill's vocal would be like trying to cover for Michael McDonald and sing "Minute By Minute" or "Taking It To The Streets" with the Doobie Brothers. Don't misunderstand, he is good but his range is very similar to Robert Lamm's. One of Chicago's traits has been the very successful blending of the three vocalists, as harmony and separate lead singers their unique "shared" vocals has been a key to their success.I question, as I listen to this album, whether there is enough separation in the timbre of Lou, Robert and Jason. I guess it will take hearing some more new material. I also notice that Jason seems to be coming into his own vocal style a little more and not trying to remind us of Peter Cetera,and that's a good thing the songs he sings are good. But that also narrows the range and spread of the three singers. Trumpet player, Lee Loughne turns in some impressive songs proving that he could add vocally if he did not have to blow the horn. All in all this is a must have Christmas Album, it would make a nice pre-season gift.