The late 1960s was a musical era defined by guitar icons. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Keith Richards made history with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Cream.
A couple of bands, however, came along with horns and jazz-influenced licks. Chicago, along with Blood Sweat and Tears, brought their own musical revolution to the pop charts.
Chicago Rewired is a tribute band that performed Sunday night for the Paisans Club in SeaBreeze Recreation Center. The group flashed some brass and offered the unique sound of Chicago. They tossed in a little bit of Blood Sweat and Tears for good measure.
“Chicago was a cool blend of rock and jazz and created a fairly new scene,” said David Miller, keyboardist and singer with Chicago Rewired. “They were able to integrate horns and jazz into the music, in a way that hadn’t been done before,”
That brassy sound was evident throughout the first set Sunday night. The band played many cuts from Chicago’s landmark 1969 debut album, “Chicago Transit Authority.”
Included were such hits as “Make Me Smile,” “Old Days,” “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day,” “Just You and Me” and “Does Anybody Know What Time It Is.” Those tunes brought back radio-friendly memories of days gone by.
Lead singer Kerry Craig, along with Miller added punch to the vocals. Robert Bussey supplied the power on lead guitar, with Freddie Banner on bass and Mike Graci on drums.
It’s the horn section that gives juice to Chicago’s music. Doug Norton, Simon Brooker, and Ruben Caban brought rousing sounds to the Chicago Rewired horns.
Early Chicago vocals were dominated by Peter Cetera, who later went on to a successful solo career. Chicago also had its own guitar master – the late Terry Kath, who died from an accidental gunshot wound in 1978. “That was a devastating blow to the band,” David Miller said. “But they went on to make some great music.”
Among Chicago classics include: “25 or6 to 4,” “Saturday In the Park,” “Colour My World,” “Call On Me,” “If You Leave Me Now,” and “Beginnings.”
Chicago Rewired gave a jolt of energy and spirit in bringing those songs to life. “Really, these songs are timeless,” said guitarist Robert Bussey. “Chicago’s music is appreciated by multi-generations.”
The Paisans Club members showed their appreciation with standing ovations. “We try to bring the best acts here, and this is one of them,” said Jerry Vicenti, who, with his wife Annette, heads the Paisans. “We pride ourselves on the talent that plays for us.”
Chicago Rewired showed its versatility with a short tribute to Blood Sweat and Tears. In 1968, BST released another classic album, “Child Is Father To The Man.”
Al Kooper produced the album with a so-called “brass rock” sound. Singer David Clayton Thomas gave the band its soulful edge. Chicago Rewind seemed inspired on such BST numbers as “You Made Me So Very Happy,” “Spinning Wheel” and, “And When I Die.” Miller and Craig supplied the blue-eyed, soul.
Even the Beatles had a way of using horns. Chicago Rewind kicked out some British-Invasion-meets-Memphis-Horns jams with a stirring version of “Got to Get You Into My Life.”