In Homer’s ancient Greek tale, written in the 8th century BC, THE ODYSSEY’s hero Ulysses is lost to the Troy wars for 20 years. The story concludes with how Ulysses finds his way back from Troy and then must fight to regain his place in his own home, overrun by suitors for his faithful wife’s hand.

Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago is nothing less than a modern-day Odyssey. It’s the story of group’s birth, named for the city they love and were raised in, it’s rise to fame, it’s fall from the charts in the 80s when they lost their musical way and their regaining a place in the hearts of their loyal fans.

The superb documentary, premiering at the Sedona Film Festival, produced by Chicago and masterfully directed by Peter Pardini, reverently gives time to each Chicago-Ulysses’ individual journeys.  Making this one of the most complex and compelling rock docs you will ever see.

Some of the Chicago heroes fall along the way to rock and roll excess while the core group members battle back from setback after setback. We see fresh faces replace band members lost to the modern-day Troy wars of  a music business infested with ego and greed. Most Greek-tragic of the life stories is the death of co-leader of the band, Terry Kath. Watching the heroic band, an important force for social change, lose its way after Kath’s loss, culminating in losing the horn-sound, is compelling and honestly told. 

Here’s an overview of the Chicago-Ulysses Heroes to give you some idea how amazing this film is in following all these storylines without losing the viewer.

Current Chicago Members (Source Wikipedia)

  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, vocals, 12-string guitar (1967–present)
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, flugelhorn, guitar, percussion, vocals (1967–present)
  • James Pankow – trombone, percussion, keyboards, vocals (1967–present)
  • Walter Parazaider – saxophones, flute, clarinet, backing vocals (1967–present)
  • Jason Scheff – bass guitar, vocals, keyboards (1985–present)
  • Tris Imboden – drums, percussion (1990–present)
  • Keith Howland – guitar, vocals (1995–present)
  • Lou Pardini – keyboards, vocals (2009–present; touring – 1999, 2007)
  • Walfredo Reyes, Jr. – percussion (2012–present)

Former Chicago Members

I was lucky enough to grab tickets for me and my love Elizabeth England to one of the sold-out pair of concerts Chicago put on at the Sedona Film Festival. I braced myself to hear something less than the brassy and groovy sounds I grew up on and I loved as an adopted  25-year native of Chicago the city – where I built a skyscraper and Oprah’s Harpo Studios – but the age 40s to 70s Chicago boys have lost nothing. One standing ovation after another rocked the auditorium as Chicago drew upon a treasure chest of mega-hits from their 49-year Odyssey.

Chicago rocks the 2016 Sedona Film Festival – Photo by Ken Sheetz

Five stars for both the film and concert.  The last screening of the doc at the film fest is today, Sunday February 21st at 3PM. I am not sure if any tickets remain. Check at the box office at


12 thoughts on “CHICAGO: THE ODYSSEY

  1. So so SO looking forward to this. Been in love with this band since I discovered them in my early teens 30 years ago, been to more of their concerts than I can remember, converted my wife from a casual fan & have met several of the members. Best rock band, period.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The band Chicago IS my high school and college years soundtrack. These extraordinary musicians have become a big part of countless lives. I was lucky enough to be part of a band which emulated Chicago as far as our talents would permit us. Wearing out copy after copy of their incredible Sketch Scores, I transcribed horn parts during math, science, history, German, and any other time I could squeeze in. I don’t know whose idea the sketch scores was, but they had tremendous impact on our lives, allowing us to come closer to the sound we honored than we otherwise could have.
    The music industry should hang its head in shame for waiting twenty years after eligibility to induct this wonderful band into the hall of fame.
    Chicago is a class act.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was in Sedona to attend both concerts and the film. I see them 3-4 times a year, and they just get better – if that’s possible. As for the film, it’s a must-see for Chicago fans and music junkies. It tells the true story – warts and all – of this remarkable band that means so much to so many of us. Director Peter Pardini (Lou’s brother) is to be commended on his first film. Entertaining and informational – and very real.


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