In April of this year fans of Chicago the band got to see what they had been waiting for. Some thought the honor was deserved years ago, even decades. Now the classic rock and roll band has entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Along with a notable string of hits, the band has garnered a loyal following based on their annual tours. If you live in Chicago, you get the chance to see your favorites every year.
Of course the band has changed since its Beginnings. Terry Kath is gone. Peter Cetera left for a solo career. Danny Seraphine was asked to leave. Original woodwind player Walt Parazaider, the oldest of the group, does not appear regularly. In May longtime member and the replacement to Cetera, Jason Scheff, took a leave of absence for family health reasons. Scheff insisted he was not leaving the band. Last month, Chicago announced that Jeff Coffey, who had been filling in for Scheff, had officially joined the band. Characteristically, the band has little else to say on the topic. Next year will mark their 50th anniversary.
Chicago XXXVI, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog
In 2014 Chicago, the band, did something most older bands are reluctant to do. They put out a new studio album of original music entitled “Chicago NOW.” Legendary bands with staying power such as Chicago make their living off their faithful fans at live performances and sales of older albums. They know that only a select handful of older bands can actually sell new singles and albums. The buying public for new music is mainly in the 13 to 34 age bracket and many of them tend to stream music rather than actually buy it. The main buyers of CDs are in the 45 and over crowd but they are buying “catalog” music, or that is to say, classics from their favorite artists of the past.
Studio time can be expensive, both in terms of the studio cost and the lost concert performance time. A touring band like Chicago, who spends most of the year on the road, does not like the idea of stopping for an extended length of time. But Chicago is not ready to stop composing and recording, so how do they tour and record? The answer came with a new recording system they call “The Rig.” They have pushed the technology forward with a portable system so good, they record as they travel. Much of Chicago NOW was done in hotel rooms across the country and around the world.
Founding member and trumpet player, Lee Loughnane, took charge of the project to put out a new album without stopping the show, so to speak. Each composer of a song got to act as producer for his entry to the album and various band members helped with arrangements as well as select musicians from outside the group. The group not only recorded on the move, they did not all have to be there at once. Members would record their parts at different times. Hank Linderman, a long time studio engineer, was the coordinating producer. A “collaboration portal” was set up and tracks were sent at all times from Chicago and contributing musicians. The result is a stunning contribution to the Chicago catalog and worthy of their best early efforts.
The title track, released as a download prior to the album début, has now worked its way into the current tour performances. Written by Greg Barnhill and Chicago band member Jason Scheff, the number was produced and arranged by Scheff. It is an energetic start to the album. Scheff also contributed “Love Lives On” and is co-composer to founding member Robert Lamm’s song, “Crazy Happy.”
While the horns section technically remains in tact with founding members Lee Loughnane on trumpet and James Pankow on trombone, founding member and woodwind player Walt Parazaider appears in the videos but in fact only played on three of the recordings. Now at age 71, a variety of health issues in recent years has limited Parazaider’s time on the road. Long time fill-in Ray Herrmann is also credited on three of the songs, though he is not listed as a band member. While Herrmannn is now a frequent performer, the audience does not always realize it. From a distance he somewhat resembles Walt. Other sax players contributed to the album as well.
Guitar player Keith Howland sings the song he composed with Scheff and drummer Tris Imboden, “Nice Girl.” He also contributes, along with Imboden to Lamm’s “Free at Last.” As expected, Lamm leads the way on this album, being credited with lead vocals on six of the songs and background vocals on others.
Previously, I wrote about “America” released the autumn before Chicago 36. It appears on the album as well. Lou Pardini drives home the song and the social commentary on lead vocal and keyboards. Also on percussion for the band is Walfredo Reyes, Jr., a more recent addition to the Chicago lineup, a talented nine guys.
Chicago in Chicago, August 2014
Using parts of the landscape to frame the picture has always come naturally to me. Maybe it’s all those years of television videotape — and so many John Ford movies — but I automatically look for ways to frame a scene.
It is not merely decorative. It also provides perspective and draws the eyes of the viewer into the scene … a principle that works for both still and moving pictures.
Summertime … framed by trees and water. Downtown Uxbridge in August.
I learned to take pictures by copying other photographers work, especially the landscapes of Martha’s Vineyard by Alfred Eisenstadt.
And he used natural formations of trees and rocks to frame it.
I do the same or, at least, try. Probably not quite a well as the master, but I aim high, even if I don’t always hit the target.
These two pictures, neither of which is new, are my favorites. The composition on both was intentional. I was trying for exactly what I got — a rarity for me. It’s common for pictures to come out better than I expected. Even more often, they come out different than what I intended — for better or worse.
In both of these shots, I wanted what I got and got what I wanted. The magic worked.
Finding beauty in ordinary objects is not difficult when the things with which you have furnished your home are beautiful in your eyes. I’m a collector — or perhaps I should say “reformed collector” — so there’s a lot of stuff here that gives me joy just to look at it. They serve no other purpose but to be beautiful.
The first genuinely bright day in a couple of weeks made taking indoor pictures much more attractive!
This is my dining room. More to the point, this is the home of my Dracaena Marginata, the plant I’ve been growing — and cutting back — for more than 20 years.
It needs to be pruned again as it starts to scrape against the ceiling. These must be the easiest of all indoor plants. The whole dracaena family are tolerant of low light and forgetful watering.
Give them half a chance and they will keep growing and never disappoint you. And … they are beautiful. Every once in a blue moon, they will also flower, though the flowers are nothing to write home about.
This is a challenge created to find beauty in almost everything. The challenge is simple : find beauty in everyday mundane things and frame it beautifully and upload the photographs. And give me a pingback by including the URL of this post in your challenge post.
If you think this challenge helps you to see ordinary things in a more beautiful way and to improve your photography, do help a friend to improve their skills too. You are free to Tag/Challenge a friend to join MMC, so that world around us look more beautiful to more people around us.
I hesitated before I entered this challenge. I don’t remember “the rules” well. I never properly learned them. I never went to photography school or even took a course. I got a camera from a friend, looked at pictures I liked, figured out what I liked, then did my best to emulate them.
Alfred Eisenstadt, who I had the very good fortune to actually get to know at the very end of his long life, was a big influence. My first role of film, I literally tried to duplicate his landscapes of Martha’s Vineyard. In a few cases, I succeeded. I learned an enormous amount that way … but not any rules. Just what works. And what doesn’t.
Therefore, I’m not always sure on what rule is being demonstrated by my pictures. I sincerely regret not being good at the terminology. That being said … and I feel better already because confession is so good for the soul …
- This probably falls into the rule of thirds. The off-center sun rising over the hill. The chromatic aberration also makes this a more interesting shot than it would otherwise be.
The strong diagonal is the most important element of this picture. Pictures like this need something to make them “move.” Lacking an object I could work with in the foreground, I settled for the angle of the path along the canal and the geometric forms created by the reflections.
Mountains are a lot more majestic when there’s something in the foreground to give perspective to the landscape. Actually, most landscapes benefit from something in the foreground. It can be as small as a clump of weeds, or as big as a house. Lacking that, a diagonal or some kind of line … a road, a fence, even power lines. Speaking of which …
The photograph is about the wires. Some photographers would go very far out of their way to erase them from the photograph. I use wires. They form diagonals in an otherwise flat photograph. In this case, they give perspective to the mountains and sky. They are a strong diagonal — in black and white (this picture didn’t work very well in color) — and also tell a story.
This sunrise at the harbor in Rockport, Massachusetts, was the first time I consciously included wires as part of the picture. I think they give the photograph definition and movement. The seagulls help too. The color of the house is a reflection of the sunrise …
- The sunrise reflected red over the house at the dock side of the harbor. This was a spectacular sunrise. I was very lucky because getting up really early to shoot a sunrise doesn’t always yield such amazing results. I’m not sure what rules apply to this picture. Probably more than one. What made the picture work is that I could see that if I waited, the rising sun would intersect with the cloud. Probably the most important part was being there. With a camera.
It isn’t spectacular, but this picture, to me, say “home.” October. Brilliant leaves mirrored by the smooth waters. A strong diagonal from the little dock and some interesting business on the left where the bridge crosses the Blackstone.
Using the ironwood tree in the foreground to give perspective to the mountains beyond.
It wouldn’t be much of a picture if it weren’t for that truck. Ambling it’s lonely way down the road towards the mountains in Maine. Slowly. Drivers in Maine have just two speeds: lunatic fast OR very slow. We were mostly behind the slow ones, but sometimes got passed by the crazy speed demons.
It’s all about the color and the contrast. The house and tree are both focal points, though I think if is a contest, the tree wins. Because it’s red. I shoot a picture or a dozen of this tree every year. It never fails me. Sugar maples are the showgirls of New England’s autumn.