ROBERT LAMM – Living Proof (2012)
While West Coast / AORsters CHICAGO continues to be a solid ‘day job’ playing the hits on the concert trail, it has allowed ROBERT LAMM to explore exciting and experimental new collaborations as a solo artist that might surprise you.
After three diverse recordings during the past decade, he emerges again in 2012 with a new CD; “Living Proof”.
On this album, Lamm is a revelation. At the age of 67, he continues to get better and sound more vibrant with each solo release, and even better than in Chicago.
The album starts off with a contemporary, pulsating, smooth West Coast sound on “Out Of The Blue” and segues into an incredible rockin’ jam at the bridge — the transition is so courageous and seamless, featuring outstanding background vocals from Jason Scheff. Also features on bass and drums no other than the great Robert Berry (Ambrosia, Alliance).
The song was developed over the internet with musician and producer Trent Gardner (Magellan, James LaBrie) who’d connected with Lamm and they started exchanging musical ideas. That’s why I define this fabulous track as ‘smooth/progressive West Coast’. Strange, but real.
Next track, “Arise (Storm)” is a jumpin’ melodious anthem that features another internet collaborator, female vocalist & keyboardist Zosia Karbowiak who lives in the city of Unieście, Poland. Her songwriting and background contributions blend nicely with Lamm’s. Zosia’s vocals are in the best L.A. session tradition. (Zosia recently released the album S.I.N.G. produced by Lamm & Jason Scheff).
“4 Bells” is a relaxing song Lamm had started in 1981 and pulled out again in 2010 while on hiatus from Chicago and during a period of reflection and motivation for his life and music beyond the band. Expect classic West Coast here with a modern sound.
“On The Equinox” is a song that had, in an earlier version, been submitted for inclusion on the ‘Chicago 16’ (1982) album. On “Those Crazy Things” Lamm again duets with Zosia on a track that has R&B modern elements but a classy mould as it was written in 1980.
There’s a fascinating musical fusion in “Keep The Faith”, which blends modern percussions, synths and rocking guitars.
Title track “Living Proof” is another Trent Gardner collaboration and a truly original composition. It’s a melodious progressive midtempo with a breezy melody including vintage keyboards, horns, more Jason Scheff harmonies and great drumming, again by Robert Berry.
Originally submitted for ‘Chicago XXX’, “I Confess” is a terrific tune, almost melodic rock in its great chorus. It’s cleverly arranged and played with class.
The main album ends there. Only 8 tracks but delicious for sure.
Listed as bonuses, “Liquid Sky” features Zosia’s outstanding lead vocals in this cool soul / R&B song written by Lamm, and “On the Equinox (JVE Remix)” remixed in an acid jazz style, that I think it wasn’t necessary.
At a period when it would be very easy for Robert Lamm to find a comfortable spot in a soft sofa, he continues to pursue his artistry and explore new territory.
“Living Proof” is definitely worth searching by any serious West Coast AOR listener, it has all the classic stylings of the genre blended with modern elements.
But also is a more than interesting musical journey for anyone who appreciate good music, clever, originally arranged and played.
Tired of the same musical recipe over and over again? “Living Proof” is your antidote.
Awesome music. Highly Recommended.
01 – Out of the Blue
02 – Arise (Storm)
03 – 4 Bells
04 – On the Equinox
05 – Those Crazy Things (Duet with Zosia)
06 – Keep the Faith
07 – Living Proof
08 – I Confess
09 – Liquid Sky (feat. Zosia) [bonus track]
10 – On the Equinox (JVE Remix) [bonus track]
Robert Lamm: Vocals, keyboards, drums, bass, orchestral arrangements & production
Hank Linderman: Guitars, backing vocals, mixing
Trent Gardner: Keyboards, horns, backing vocals, production
Robert Berry: Bass, Drums
Jason Scheff: Backing Vocals
Drew Hester: Drums
John Van Eps: All instruments on 10
BUY IT !