Music Review: Robert Lamm Songs: The JVE ReMixes (Blue Infinity, CD)

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Robert Lamm Songs: The JVE ReMixes CD

Chicago founding keyboardist/vocalist Robert Lamm let producer John Van Eppes go nuts with classic songs from his band and his solo albums. And while the results may throw some longtime fans, Robert Lamm Songs: The JVE ReMixes is a very adventurous and creative “reimagining” of Lamm’s timeless compositions. “Beginnings” becomes a techno dance party; “25 or 6 to 4” is barely recognizable in its new Latin setting (there’s also a dance remix version at the disc’s end).

This disc is remarkable from a purely technical standpoint. In some cases, Van Eppes worked from CD versions of the old Chicago songs—meaning, he had no broken-down, separated tracks to use, just finished recordings. Not easy for this kind of thing!

We’ve seen this type of project before. The Beatles’ Love soundtrack for the Fab Four-themed Cirque Du Soleil show comes to mind. But while that project mashed up some Beatles bits and pieces and had its innovative moments, it mostly relied on familiar song structures and was, for the most part, nothing new.

Not so here. This is pretty bold. Some may call it sacrilege. In some instances, Van Eppes’ “chop-suey” approach yields entirely new creations. And it’s nice that the CD spotlights Lamm’s excellent solo work as well as his more familiar Chicago material.

So if you want to hear Chicago and Lamm classics in their original form, there are plenty of reissues out there. But if you’re open to fresh, new takes on this music grown from these sturdy stems, check this out.

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