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Archive for April 12th, 2010

Review: Chicago – “Chicago Transit Authority” Quadradisc

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What is Quadio?  That’s the question currently being posed by the fine folks over at  For an answer and some fun interactivity, click here.  But in short, Quadio describes the new series of four-channel audio DVDs (or “Quadradiscs”) being introduced by Rhino with the reissue of 1969’s Chicago Transit Authority, the first album by the band later known simply as Chicago.

This release is a landmark in a number of ways.  For one thing, it signals a new attempt to court the dedicated niche market of audiophiles largely ignored by the major labels when they abandoned the high resolution, multichannel formats of SACD (Super Audio CD) and DVD-Audio.  Secondly, it’s one of the few modern reissues of an original quadraphonic, or four-channel, mix.  Finally, the audio is presented in both DTS 96/24 and Dolby Digital, both playable in virtually all DVD players, to reach the largest number of interested customers without requiring any special hardware.  Quadraphonic never caught on in the way stereo did, but in its 1970s heyday, literally hundreds of renowned rock, pop, jazz and soundtrack albums received the “quadio” treatment.  With this format largely forgotten today, the amount of unheard mixes of familiar albums is staggering and long overdue for reissue. 

CTA is a stunning offering, and a fantastic way to kick off the Quadradisc series.  Long before “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” or “You’re the Inspiration” cemented Chicago’s reputation as purveyors of 1980s AOR pop, the band then known as Chicago Transit Authority was breaking new ground with an exciting fusion of jazz and rock.  The seven-man ensemble, along with producer James William Guercio, offered something for everyone in their sprawling double-LP debut: big, hook-filled pop singles (“Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and “Beginnings,” both penned by frontman Robert Lamm), heavy blues-rock (the wailing “South California Purples”), political agit-rock (“Someday (August 29, 1968)”) and even seven minutes of avant-electric guitar (the aptly-named “Free Form Guitar,” courtesy of the band’s incendiary Terry Kath). Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 12, 2010 at 16:03

Posted in Chicago, DVD, Reissues, Reviews

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