A Music Review by Zinta Aistars
Unlike most who, I imagine, purchase "Subtlety & Passion," I am not much of a Chicago fan. Nor am I completely unbiased in my admiration of Robert Lamm's achievement with this CD, as it arrived on my doorstep a short while ago packaged as a Valentine. My heart for that reason alone was already feeling that first subtle warmth of passion even as I put it in my player.
But with all that put aside for a moment, and perhaps even increasing the twinkle of my five stars here assigned, I was duly impressed the moment Lamm's music flowed into my room. Ah yes, I could see why it served so well to convince me my Valentine was for me. I always respect an artist, in any genre or medium, who ignores the trends of the time. I respect one finding one's own unique voice and sound. I respect the courage to send that out to the world. I respect quality. Lamm has earned my respect.
Music, however, is not something a listener responds to through respect. Music is what we respond to on a purely emotional level. It is why it can so change our moods, near instantly, so uplift our spirits, so draw us into nostalgic dreams, so inspire us. Music communicates as words alone cannot. It does not require an expert ear or discerning taste. It requires only the honesty of the musician and the open heart of the listener.
As a writer, my medium being words, I responded to his lyrics, yes, which so often can be empty and meaningless and redundant in music, but not so on "Subtlety & Passion." The music surprised me, pleasantly so, with varying styles of jazz, reggae, rock. Vocals are excellent. Guitar solos were keenly enjoyable. Even the horns (I favor strings) were perfect in their seamless blend.
My Valentine, arriving soon after "Sublety & Passion," was most warmly received.