Chicago XXXVI: Now

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Chicago XXXVI: Now
NOW Chicago XXXVI Album Cover thumbnail.jpg
Studio album by Chicago
Released July 4, 2014
Recorded 2013 (2013)–2014 (2014)
Genre Rock, adult contemporary
Label Chicago Records II
Producer Chicago, Hank Linderman
Chicago chronology
Chicago XXXV: The Nashville Sessions
Chicago XXXVI: Now

Chicago XXXVI: Now, sometimes stylized as "NOW" Chicago XXXVI or Now: Chicago XXXVI, is the twenty-fourth studio album, and thirty-sixth overall by Chicago. It was written and recorded in 2013—2014, and was released on July 4, 2014. Aside from the sprinkling of new tracks found in the band's many compilation and cover albums, Now is the band's next full album of new compositions in the eight years since 2006's Chicago XXX,[1] and it is the next release of original material following 2008's fifteen-year-delayed Chicago XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus.[2] This album marks the first original Chicago credits for veteran musicians Walfredo Reyes, Jr. and Lou Pardini, since joining the band.


The album was produced in a geographically distributed, "just-in-time"[2] fashion. Noted by the band's cofounder Robert Lamm as "a very sort of disjointed way to work",[1] Now's production model was largely enabled by a fully mobile system of the band's own design called "The Rig". It was recorded primarily in hotels and secondarily in studios along their American tour, constructed mostly from each musician's isolated performances in between concert dates, and then synchronized via a private Web portal site for final overdubbing by coordinating producer and engineer Hank Linderman. The band's songwriting members are each respectively credited as each track's "supervising producer".[3]

Even throughout the album's year-long development, audio preview clips of each track were progressively released via the public Internet — some before they were completed by the addition of the band's signature brass section.[2] The first preview, "Naked in the Garden of Allah", was released in April 2013, the album was finally made available for preorder in April 2014, and was released July 2014.[4]

The ultimate goal was to make music — and now we’re doing that. We’re going to see how far we can go with this. Thank goodness we have 46 years of track record behind us. We’re just trying to grow the legacy even more.

— Chicago cofounder, Lee Loughnane, on Now[1]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[5]

Beginning in April 2013, the Something Else! webzine engaged the band's progressively released preview clips. They said that "Naked in the Garden of Allah" "reanimates" the band's early "cutting" political messages, wherein "the lyrics, and the song’s turbulent textures, speak to both the horrors of war and to Lamm’s enduring pleas for peace".[4] "Watching All the Colors" is said to resemble Robert Lamm's 2008 solo sessions from The Bossa Project, and "Something's Coming, I Know" "rumbles along with a more scuffed-up cadence — until it’s broken up by this sun-streaked, Beatlesque bridge".[2] Recorded on the tour bus, Tris Imboden's drums on "Crazy Happy" are said to "sound modern and appropriate for the song and mesh seamlessly". They complement the album's percussion, as provided by "the great Walfredo Reyes Jr."[6]

It entered the American Billboard 200 at #82.[7]

Allmusic's Stephen Erlewine assigned 3.5 stars out of 5, calling the album "united in sound and sensibility, anchored upon the splashy horn-fueled jazz-pop they pioneered in the '70s but usually returning to the slick professional adult contemporary of the '80s", with songs that are "big, smooth, cheerful, and bright, emphasizing melody over instrumental interplay, explicitly evoking the past without re-creating it".[5]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Now"Jason Scheff, Greg BarnhillScheff with Robert Lamm and Lou Pardini5:03
2."More Will Be Revealed"Lamm, Phil GaldstonLamm with Pardini5:11
3."America"Lee LoughnanePardini4:04
4."Crazy Happy"Scheff, LammLamm with Scheff5:02
5."Free At Last"Keith Howland, Tris Imboden, LammLamm5:13
6."Love Lives On"Barnhill, Scheff, James PankowScheff5:21
7."Something's Coming, I Know"Gerry Beckley, LammLamm with Loughnane3:48
8."Watching All The Colors"Lamm, PardiniPardini4:15
9."Nice Girl"Howland, Scheff, ImbodenHowland4:02
10."Naked In The Garden Of Allah"Lamm, Hank LindermanLamm4:24
11."Another Trippy Day"John Van Eps, LammLamm with Pardini4:04



Additional musicians

  • Philippe Saisse – keyboards (1)
  • Verdine White – bass guitar (1)
  • Dorian Crozier – drums (1)
  • David Williams – guitars (1)
  • Michael O'Neil – guitars (1)
  • Luis Conte – percussion (1, 6)
  • Harry Kim – trumpet (1), flugelhorn (1), horn arrangement (1)
  • Daniel Fornero – trumpet (1), flugelhorn (1)
  • Arturo Velasco – trombone (1)
  • George Shelby – tenor saxophone (1)
  • Schiela Gonzalez – baritone and tenor saxophones (1)
  • Hank Linderman – guitars (2), backing vocals (10), arrangements
  • Ray Herrmann – alto saxophone (2), soprano saxophone (2), tenor saxophone (5, 9)
  • Trent Gardner – horn arrangement (3-5, 10), trombone (5), synth (5)
  • Larry Klimas – alto saxophone (3, 4, 11)
  • Nick Lane – horn transcriptions (2, 4, 7, 8, 11), trombone (3, 4)
  • Steve Lu – synths (6)
  • Tim Pierce – electric guitars (6)
  • Jeff Babko – horn arrangement (9)
  • John McFee – fiddle (10)
  • John Van Eps – synths and programming (11), arrangements


  • Hank Linderman – coordinating producer, engineering, editing, mixing
  • Phil Galdston – additional production and arrangements (Track 2)
  • Drew Hester – drum track engineering
  • Keith Howland – engineering (Tracks 5 & 9)
  • Dave Collins – mastering
  • Rick Walsh – additional horn transcriptions
  • Robert Lamn and Trent Gardner – art direction
  • Trent Gardner with Rigel Blue Agency and Lucky Thirteen Designs – package design and graphics

The band's composers are each respectively credited as each track's "supervising producer".[3]


  1. ^ a b c "'We're just trying to grow the legacy': Sample every song on the forthcoming Chicago XXXVI: Now". Something Else!. April 13, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Something Else! sneak peek: Chicago, "Somethin' Comin,' I Know" and "Watching All the Colors" (2013)". Something Else!. April 4, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b ""NOW" CHICAGO XXXVI LINER NOTES". Chicago Records II. April 5, 2014. Archived from the original on April 15, 2014. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Deriso, Nick. "Chicago offers insight into the construction of new song "Naked In The Garden Of Allah"". Something Else!. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Chicago XXXVI: Now at AllMusic. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  6. ^ Frazier, Preston (January 7, 2014). "One Track Mind: Chicago, "Crazy Happy" (2013)". Something Else!. Retrieved May 1, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Billboard 200: 1991: Chicago". Retrieved July 25, 2014. 

External links[edit]