California Transit Authority keeping the spirit of the early years of Chicago alive!!!
Who: California Transit Authority aka CTC
What: early days of Chicago and Chicago Transit Authority
Sounds Like: early days Chicago featuring Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine and guitarist Marc Bonilla
For many of you the music band Chicago may bring back memories of the soft hit ballads created by producer David Foster, Peter Cetera and company. However, the very early years of Chicago under the name Chicago Transit Authority was far more progressive driven which included the rhythmic talents of drummer Danny Seraphine. Well the latter is the musical foundation of the band CTA (California Transit Authority) as a result of the determined ambitions of Danny’s collaboration with producer guitarist Marc Bonilla. And the results are a profound combination of a reminiscing set to an updated technological transformation of Chicago’s early years along with appropriately picked cover songs and originals to match the theme.
The debut album jumps out of the starting blocks with the pounding revolutionary rendition of a Chuck Mangione song “Something Different” that features Bonilla’s amazing guitar work compounded with Seraphine’s drumming. Nor does it hurt to have the horn sounding keyboards of Peter Fish complimented by Ed Roth. For those of you that loved the Chicago horn section have no fear as Seraphine and Bonilla were also wise to bring in Brandon Fields on tenor sax, Lee Thornburg on trumpet and Nick Lane on trombone on several other magical moments throughout the debut disc. The most distinct moment can be found on “Make Me Smile” where Bonilla, Seraphine and the horns simply hit a home run with their instrumental rendition of James Pankow’s composition. Similar outstanding results can be found on the loose and funky “I’m A Man” that also features Shelia E and Alex Acuna on percussion and even Keith Emerson on the Hammond B-3 organ. Parallels with Santana are unavoidable though once again the horn section helps the song retain that Windy City feel. For something completely different check out the exquisite atmospheric guitar work of Bonilla on the opening two and half minutes of “Colour My World”. Equal to the task is the soulful vocal rendition of Larry Braggs. Speaking of Braggs, he is up front and center on the powerful Gregg Allman song “Dreams” with Peter Fish’s synth brass and Hammond B-3 solo only adding to the significant R&B element.
Apparently this was not a one off project as the band followed up by their debut with their 2013 Sacred Ground sophomore effort. However, this time around there was way less spotlight on Chicago covers with only “Take Me Back To Chicago” featured. Despite the self composition focus, the spirit of Chicago was no less apparent on the follow up effort found on the opening self title “Sacred Ground” featuring Will Champlin on vocals or the wonderfully melodic “Out Of Reason” featuring Bonilla on vocals versus his usual guitar role. Equally as impressive are the Bill Champlin vocals on “Full Circle”.
Whether you want reworked Chicago covers in the form of CTA’s debut or the spirit of Chicago with their even better follow up debut Sacred Ground you just cannot go wrong. While it was 2013 since their follow up effort, here is hoping that CTA will continue to follow their hearts in keeping the spirit of Chicago Transit Authority and the very early years of Chicago alive.
Leave a Reply.
New Artists coming at you all the time.