Subtlety And Passion

Robert Lamm

Blue Infinity, 2003

REVIEW BY: Tommy Johnson


It's likely that you've never heard of the artist Robert Lamm. However, you've probably heard his music many, many times. He is a founding member of the great but faceless rock group Chicago, and he wrote many of their early and biggest hits such as "Beginnings," "25 or 6 to 4," "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is," "Dialogue" and "Saturday In The Park." In the late '70s, Chicago left their jazz-rock sound and pursued a highly successful career as soft rockers. Now it's 2003, and it has been more than ten years ago since Chicago recorded an album with original songs. Subtlety And Passion might be as close as we'll ever get.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

With S&P, Robert has created an old-style Chicago recording, with jazzy chords, great melodies, pop vocals and of course, lots of horns. It's not strange that it sounds Chicago, since many of Chicago's present and former members appear on the disc. As a matter of fact, Robert found an old cassette of an unreleased Chicago song that had Terry Kath on guitar, so he cleaned up the guitar track and rebuilt the song around it. Terry Kath died in 1978.

I'm going to tell you the way it is. I love this album. I love the idea and I love the way the idea was made into a wonderful reality. This is the 1969-1975 Chicago sound combined with a trendy, fresh and light 2003-production. In all honesty, it's a risky project, since it easily could've turned into a sad retrospective. Fortunately, it did not.

Robert wrote or co-wrote every song on Subtlety And Passion. The songs are exciting and feature great playing by the skilled musicians. Other than the Chicago staff, you can hear Timothy B. Schmidt of the Eagles and Gerry Beckley of America, to name a few. The song material is a perfect mix of pop, jazz, bossa and rock, with a slight touch of soul and reggae. Robert Lamm has always been good with words, so once again his lyrics are mature and intelligent.

Robert delivers strong and inspiring vocals throughout the disc. The intensity and excitement is constantly high, and it makes me wonder why Robert Lamm isn't household name. The standout songs are "I Could Tell You Secrets," "Another Sunday," "Somewhere Girl," "Mystery Of Moonlight" and "For You, Kate." The latter was written about Robert's second daughter, Kate and was actually intended to appear on a Brazilian bossa music album, but the album was never made.

If you still haven't made up your mind regarding what to wish for this Christmas, I highly recommend you to add this CD to your wish list. Buy one for your parents, neighbours, children and uncle. (On a side note; the fact that Rock Hall of Fame still haven't inducted Robert Lamm and Chicago into their prestigious hall, is a crying disgrace. It's plain silliness.)

Anyway, do yourself a favor and get Subtlety And Passion.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2003 Tommy Johnson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Blue Infinity, and is used for informational purposes only.