Yorkshire Evening Post
1969 December 16th.
Rock by Degrees.

“Ooh! Those long-haired guitar-bashing yobboes! They haven’t got an ounce of skill y’know. It’s just thump, thump, thump all night long.”

We’ve heard it so often. You don’t have to defend pop from its crusty old critics. There are enough of them. You could keep quiet, although you might mention Chicago.

How’s this for a start. Spread among this seven piece jazz-rock combination from America are University degrees in piano, composition, percussion, orchestral clarinet, trumpet and trombone. Then add a spot of study with the Chicago Symphony, experience with Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman and the Bobby Christian and Ted Weems orchestras. Enough said.
Chicago has one double album out, yet already they are triggering off one of the biggest reactions in music. Now on tour, their recent appearance at London’s Royal Albert Hall was a smash success. I spoke to Walt Parazaider, Chicago’s woodwind section, the next morning. He was happy.

“We fell in love with London. After last night we are so happy. The audiences here really know what it’s about. We were apprehensive when we arrived here, but things look fine now, and we are really looking forward to the rest of the tour. I can’t say enough about the audience.” Walt, who earned a degree in orchestral clarinet in Chicago, the home city of the band, also studied with woodwind players in the Chicago Symphony.

The group worked in Chicago under the name, Chicago Transit Authority for six months before they moved to Los Angeles. Walt had been at School with trombonist Jim Pankow, who studied at University. Also in the band was Robert Lamm on organ, another University graduate. The last man to join in the early days was Pete Cetera on bass and vocals. Another addition has been Terry Kath on guitar, another of Chicago’s prolific writers, blues influenced and already recognised as one of pop’s guitar kings.

Now Chicago lives under the guiding hand of James Guercio, who produced the first album told the group not to worry about food or rent or anything else, moved them to a house in Hollywood and told them to concern themselves with nothing but their music