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California Transit Authority: Full Circle

Founding member of the legendary Chicago, drummer Danny Seraphine (who left the band in 1990) decided that enough was enough, and put together the California Transit Authority (CTA) in an effort to get back to that original Chicago sound and style from their first few albums. Along with guitarist Marc Bonilla (Keith Emerson, Glenn Hughes, Toy Matinee, Ronnie Montrose, David Coverdale, Eddie Jobson;s UZ Project), bassist Mick Mahan, keyboard players Ed Roth and Peter Fish, and Tower of Power vocalist Larry Braggs, the group's debut Full Circle from 2007 is a spirited affair that contains mostly reworked versions of old Chicago staples like "Introduction", "South California Purples", "Make Me Smile", "Colour My World", "I'm a Man" and "25 or 6 to 4" and others, as well as a few other covers and originals.And yes, you read that right, there are no horn or reed players in this band, instead Roth & Fish cover most of those parts on their keyboards, so unless you are listening really carefully you almost can't tell the difference. On a few tunes though they do have some guest players, such as Brandon Fields, Lee Thornburg, and Nick Lane, who help flesh out the arrangements.

Two members of the band really are key to giving this project that extra edge. First is the stellar guitar skills of Bonilla, who does a great job honing in on the aggressive style of the late Terry Kath, lending plenty of blistering runs to "Mississippi Delta Blues", "I'm a Man", "South California Purples", and the original piece "Antonio's Love Jungle". He even tosses in some wonderful Jeff Beck inspired runs on the jazzy "Colour My World" which are quite impressive. The second part to look out for are the tremendous vocals of Braggs, who has a soulful, funky delivery that just soars over these classic tunes. Check him out on the Allman Brothers Band classic "Dreams", or the stellar renditions of "Make Me Smile" and "Introduction" to see just how much he brings to this band, able to cover all parts originally sung by Terry Kath, Peter Cetera, and Robert Lamm. Another great tune here, which shows off the jazz fusion chops of the band, is their cover of Chuck Mangione's "Something Different", a real sizzler that kicks off the CD. As for Seraphin, he's spectacular throughout, adding his intricate jazz & fusion chops to each of this songs, reminding all of us just how integral he was to all those old Chicago albums.

Since the release of Full Circle, the band has toured quite a bit, and are currently working on a follow-up of all original new material. In addition, another former Chicago mate has joined the band, that being keyboard player/vocalist Bill Champlin. It will be interesting to see what Champlin brings to the table, as he was partly responsible for taking Chicago down their monster hit single path during the '80s.

Track Listing
1 Something Different
2 Introduction
3 South California Purples
4 Make Me Smile
5 Several Thousand
6 Dreams
7 West Virginia Fantasies
8 Colour My World
9 Happy Cause I'm Going Home
10 Mississippi Delta Blues
11 Antonio's Love Jungle
12 I'm a Man
13 25 or 6 to 4

Added: November 2nd 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2088
Language: english

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