end-of-year top five.
Among the thirteen tracks are superb versions of four of Lamm's very best Chicago classics: "Beginnings," "Saturday In The Park," "25 or 6 to 4," and "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" In addition, there are seven songs from his best studio CD, Subtlety and Passion, (S&P) plus two big surprises. The first one is "Watching The Time Go By," released twice previously on Like A Brother, the album he recorded with Carl Wilson and Gerry Beckley, and on his third solo CD, In My Head. The other surprise is "All The Years" which appeared on Chicago's infamous Stone Of Sisyphus, a CD recorded in 1993 but previously unreleased until 2008.
The sound of classic 1970s Chicago reigns on Leap Of Faith. All but one of the songs features a horn section that includes trumpeter Lee Loughnane, another original member of the band. The four Chicago songs are fairly close to the original arrangements yet each contains enough of a flair to hold your interest. Lamm sings "25 or 6 to 4" live for what maybe the very first time and he handles the vocal well enough to suggest that the song would still have been a hit if he, and not Peter Cetera, had recorded the lead vocal back in 1970.
The horns are buried slightly deeper in the mix than they are on S&P, and the electric guitar is far more prominent, allowing the songs from that album to rock more than they do on the original studio versions. Lamm's vocals have more of a presence too so the lyrics are much more discernible than on the S&P versions.
Also helping Lamm out during the concert were current Chicago bassist, Jason Scheff and their drummer, Tris Imboden.
Live, solo shows by Lamm are very rare. I would love for him to take this band on the road and play a gig near me because this concert was far better than any his old band has played recently.
Unfortunately this limited addition CD and companion DVD are already out of print. The package isn't even mentioned on Lamm's website, Blue Infinity Music. The set was never in stores, never found on Amazon, or even mentioned in Lamm's biography in All Music Guide's extensive catalog listings. That is too bad because it deserved a wider release and a better fate.
Here are three YouTube clips from the show. First is "Beginnings," the CD/DVD's opening track, as well as a live version of "Somewhere Girl," originally from Subtlety & Passion. Finally, you can listen to a great live version of "All The Years."