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Leonid & Friends: Chicago

Leonid & Friends: Chicago
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The first time I heard Leonid & Friends, I thought for a second they were syncing to Chicago's recordings from the early 1970s. Turns out Leonid & Friends is a Russian-Ukrainian cover band with impeccable ears and talent. Leonid is Leonid Vorobyev (third from left), a Moscow producer, bassist, transcriber and arranger. In concert, the tentet recreates American hits perfectly, but they're probably best known for their precise Chicago covers. What sets them apart is that they work hard to sound exactly like the original recording. They sound just as good on Blood, Sweat & Tears and Earth, Wind & Fire—any pop-rock band with a horn section.

At the dawn of the 1970s, Chicago seemed to be on every AM radio at once. The band produced hit after hit, using a clean wash of acoustic jazz and rock. While jazz-fusion went the electric route, brass-rock bands such as Blood, Sweat & Tears; Tower of Power; Electric Flag; Chase (as in trumpeter Bill Chase); Lighthouse and others relied more heavily on jazz-driven horn sections. Ultimately, Chicago stood out thanks to their songwriting.  

For more information on the Leonid & Friends, go here. To help the performing band survive the current touring crisis caused by the Covid virus, go here. Before Covid, the band toured often in the U.S. It's anyone's guess when people will feel safe enough to return to venue seats.

For now, let's dig Leonid & Friends' Chicago catalog:

Here's Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is...



Here's Beginnings...



Here's 25 or 6 to 4...



Here's Questions 67 & 68...



Here's Make Me Smile...



Here's Dialogue (Part I & II)...



Here's Just You 'n' Me...



Here's If You Leave Me Now...



How would the band sound on Blood, Sweat & Tears? Here's Spinning Wheel...



And here's Earth, Wind & Fire's September...



September featured Leonid Vorobyev (b), Sergey Kashirin (g,lead voc), Igor Javad-Zade (d), Vlad Senchillo (p,el p), Serge Tiagnyriadno (g,backing voc), Ksenia Buzina (backing voc), Maxim Likhachev (tb), Oleg Kudryavtsev (ts), Andrey Zyl (tp), Vladimir Popov (cowbell) and Vladimir Morgovsky (strings group manager).

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

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