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4.5 out of 5 stars
Chase / Ennea / Pure Music
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2008
Let me preface this review by saying that I have been a huge Chase fan since the very first time I heard "Get It On" back in the early '90s. Since then, I have bought every LP (stereo and quad) and every CD I could find (including all of the CD versions of the 3 studio albums both import and domestic, the 3 volumes of "The Concert Series", "Listen To Her Sing" and the tribute "Watch Closely Now"). I'm not going to waste your time telling you about Chase or what's on these CDs. I'm going to assume that you already know that if you are looking at this! :)

Now, the review ... this is simply the best transfer of the Chase material to CD that I've heard. The trumpets are crisp and clean, the bass lines are beautiful and full and the sound is impecciably balanced for masters that are nearing 40 years old. I'm not kidding when I tell you that it sounds almost like you are there ... as good as any of us will get. You can buy this one with confidence!

I wouldn't waste your money on any other copy of the studio recordings of Chase. This one 2 CD set will do it for you. And if you already own the LPs or the other CDs put out by Epic (import) or One-Way Records (domestic), spend the money and hear these. You won't be sorry!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 31, 2008
Sometimes you long for the blues, or for music to set the tone for a romantic evening. But other times, you want the adrenalin rush of a rhythm section on overload, driving a brass section capable of ripping your face off. That's what you get from this three-album package.
Bill Chase had one of the very few bands that successfully produced great jazz-rock fusion. Think of it as Blood, Sweat, & Tears with an overdose of trumpet testosterone. A former lead trumpeter in the bands of Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson, Chase envisioned a rock band featuring four trumpets - an odd concept, but he made it work. The trumpet arrangements were brilliantly written and superbly executed, and all of the sidemen had solid backgrounds in both jazz and rock.
This will bring back great memories for those of us who were knocked out by it when it first came out. Of course, some characteristics of the music are firmly rooted in the early 1970s, such as the inclusion of organ in the rhythm section and the abundant use of fuzz and wa-wa guitar effects.
The weakest aspect of the songs is the lyrics. Certainly nothing profound or memorable there. Some lyrics may have you thinking, "They can't be serious!" (Case in point: "Hello Groceries" on the first album.) Brass lovers may wish that the vocals would go away entirely. That wish almost comes true on the third album, where four of the six tracks are instrumentals. (The only other instrumental in the collection is "Open Up Wide," which kicks off the first album.)
The original liner notes from the first album are included, but that's all the information we get other than the personnel and track listings. It would have been nice to get some more background, especially for younger listeners who may not be aware of who these players were, or of the band's tragic end in a 1974 plane crash.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2008
The short-lived jazz-fusion band Chase released just three lp's -- all collected here on two-cd's. Bill Chase fused big band jazz and 70's rock into a great experience. Having heard these guys - I never expected 4 guys with trumpets to rock, but they do and listening to this I can relive the experience. Just like BST or Chicago only better -- edgier.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2008
Here you've got 3 classic offerings from this legendary fusion band. There isn't a track on any of these 3 albums that you will need to skip if you like Jazz-Rock. The least popular of these albums "Ennea" actually ends up being the best one but hey, some people don't want any fusion of prog-rock and jazz or lyrics from Greek mythology. If Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Genesis can do it, why not Chase? Considering the low price you pay for 3 albums worth of some of the best, most energetic music ever made, this is is a no-brainer purchase. However, it must be said that the sound on the 1st album still isn't where it needs to be or unfortunately maybe never will be, because, apparently, the original two-track masters cannot be found and it has to be mixed down from a quad master resulting in quite a bit of hiss. "Ennea" and "Pure Music" sound good enough to my ears though it's the incredible arrangements and performances that kick it over the top and not the overall sound production on the albums. Despite the lack of production polish (or maybe because of it), on a good stereo system (I run a Bryston 4BST through Polk Rti12s) these latter two albums crank like nothing else you've ever heard, while the first album is a little rough around the edges and muddy at higher decibels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2009
As a trumpet player (since high school), I always thought Chase had a great sound. The recording could be better, but some incredible musicianship and fun to listen to - especially since I wore out my LP version years ago. Any trumpet player, or fan of "horn bands", any age will get a kick out of this album - it's a shame that Bill Chase and some of the others lost their lives just as they were starting to make it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2008
Man, could these guys blow those horns, whew!!!! I had the double-LP "Chase/Ennea" back in the late '70s (a French release, I believe) and had been waiting for years for the CD release. I couldn't have asked for a better package...1 CD, all three albums. I dig Chicago and Blood, Sweat, and Tears, but these cats went well beyond that and absolutely held back no punches. Uncompromising. Every arrangement is like a roller-coaster ride. Simply the best Jazz/Rock band ever!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2010
"It happens all too often with great and special things - they are not fully appreciated until they are gone." Jim Szantor, former editor of Downbeat Magazine

This is a review about, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest if not the greatest trumpet player who ever lived. Unfortunately he did not live long enough. Bill Chase and three band members died in a plane crash about thirty years ago but his music lives on and is still quite popular.

Chase's music was the consummate Rock/Brass/Jazz fusion but with vocals. It was the best I've ever heard. The music was closer to Rock than Jazz and would probably appeal to a wide spectrum of listeners. In fact, off their 1971 debut album the song "Get it On" was a #1 hit.

Chase, his self titled band, made three albums. This cd contains the best to of those albums. The first, 'Chase', the S/T album which featured five songs on one side, including "Hello Groceries" and "Handbags and Gladrags" and the #1 hit single, "Get it on". On side two was a another shorter song ("Boys and Girls Together"), and a remarkable blues song about suicide called "Invitation to a River" and it takes up most of side B so it must be about fourteen minutes long.

The other album on here, which IMO is every bit as good, though the critics didn't like it as much, is Ennea, Greek for nine (the number of band members). It is about Greek Gods and has titles like "Posidon", "Chronus", "Hades" and "Zeus". This is an amazing album.

There is a third album, Pure Music, which I've never heard but I'm sure it's good. I've seen the second and third albums offered on one CD and that's even doubly hard to get.

We now know that Bill Chase was a great trumpet player, so what could be better? How about two, make that three, no make it four great trumpet players! This nine piece ensemble was a very versatile band with an enormous, almost frantic sound. Besides the exceptional vocals of Terry Richards, Trumpet players, Ted Piercefield and Jerry Van Blair, provided excellent backing vocals as well as guitar player, Angel South and bass player, Dennis Johnson. The only non singing members were Chase himself, Alan Ware, trumpet, Phil Porter, keyboards and Jay Burrid, drums.

Make no mistake, the extra trumpets gave Chase a sound like no other. They would banter back and forth with each other and with other band members like they were communicating and I can't help thinking they were having a ball doing it and Terry Richard's vocals could not have captured the essence of the music better.

The first six tracks were all exceedingly catchy radio friendly and "Handbags and Gladrags" was also a top twenty hit in addition to "Get it On", which by the way forced T Rex to change the name of their version of "Get it On" to "Bang a Gong". This helps explains why the album Chase sold three millions copies. No small feat for a debut of relatively unknowns in 1971. Overall the album finished the year as the twenty-second biggest album for 1971.

"Livin' in Heat", is a medium fast tempo, very busy song with the trumpets mimicking Richards. There's also some nice guitar work here but as always it's the horns.

"Hello Groceries", another medium fast paced number quite similar to track ! but with a different melody and presentation. Lead vocal by Jerry Van Blair on this one.

"Handbags and Gladrags", also recorded by Rod Stewart. (I don't know who covered who) Yes, it was a great recording by Stewart but you haven't heard it with them horns. Fabulous song, the varied tempo is perfect for a horn section and on this one we get to hear Ted Piercefield another absolutely wonderful vocalist. (better than Stewart)!

"Get It On"
This was not a number one hit by accident, this is quite a song and quite a job by Richards. There is of course the ubiquitous horn section mimicking Richards on the chorus's and some excellent keyboards (Hammond). It really all comes together for these guys but I don't think this is any better than any other track, they're all that good.

"Boys and Girls Together", Piercefield on vocals again, B> is a medium paced song and one I like a lot. It has a very accessible catchy melody and could have been a hit if released as a single.

"Invitation to a River", a fourteen masterpiece! This song actually breaks into five parts, a] Two Minds Meet, b] Stay, c] Paint it Sad, d] Reflections, e] River. It contains many tempos and moods.

Sitting here listening to this album, even after thirty some years, I am amazed how fresh and imaginative this album is. This is one of those creations that never gets tiresome, never gets dated.

If Chase sounds like something you might have an interest in, then it is. If it sounds like something that you might like, then you will. I can almost guarantee it!!!

These albums were re-released about eight years ago on CD, by One Way Records a company that specializes in re-releasing great music that was never issued on CD form and that's what I've been trying to get. Unfortunately their license expired and they are currently and maybe permanently out of circulation. Still it is possible to purchase them from time to time on Amazon or Ebay.

Author's Note
I hope you enjoyed my review of this remarkable album and the extraordinary musician, who like so many others, was taken from us in his prime.
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on February 16, 2012
This is a review of the 2008 BGO import--NOT the 2008 domestic Wounded Bird release. One reviewer of the domestic "Wounded Bird" release stated that there are minimal liner notes included (essentially a quick reprint of the first LP's notes). By contrast, the BGO import contains TWENTY-SIX pages of original liner notes, lyrics to Ennea, and a detailed life history of Bill Chase and his band (including the many personnel changes from 1968-1974). In short, by FAR the most complete history of the man and his music ever released with a CD.

I agree with several other reviewers that the "remaster" of the original Chase LP still has that annoying hiss and out of wack high end. Those of you like myself that wore out the original vinyl know what I'm talking about when you would cringe at that high humming and hiss you heard before Bill took off on "Open Up Wide." I don't hear any improvements here over the "One Way Records" version.

However, that all changes with ENNEA. I'm not a sound engineer, but this is the best-balanced version I've ever heard. Just cut straight to Woman of the Dark and your $18 is paid for. Tremendous crisp horns now like never before, and the best part is Dennis Johnson's monster bass and the rhythm section finally getting equal clarity while the trumpets trade those famous bars. For the first time ever with Chase, I stopped listening to the horns and just sat amazed at that rhythm section. That goes for all of ENNEA--this is simply an amazing transfer. Likewise, Pure Music is a great transfer. But again, it's not the trumpets that grabbed my attention on this remaster, it's the other guys. Cut straight to Close Up Tight and listen to John Emma's guitar solo with the rhythm section kicking behind him--simply awesome and clearer than ever.

Again, I haven't puchased the Wounded Bird release, but the Brits have definitely put in extra effort on this BGO import with the second and third album sound and that great printed history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2014
Greatest brass section in the 70's. While I respect Maynard, I'd rather listen to Bill Chase any time. Includes all three albums the Chase band recorded before the plane crash that took the lives of several band members including Bill Chase.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2013
Great band, great music, five stars to Chase. But since this is a remastered version, I going to rate it on that basis. OK, bottom line offered first: if you don't already own the 1996/97 CDs, buy this version, and NOW, before it is no longer available. But if you already own them, don't spend the money on this set for the remastering alone. However, if you value and read CD booklets, the one in this set is very good indeed, with 28 pages of real content, not just photos.

I already owned all three Chase albums on CD, both from One Way Records / Sony Music Special Products; A28726 and A2660 from 1996 and 1997. All the music is there to enjoy, but as with the originals on vinyl the mix and mastering is not that good, even for the '70's. So my hope was that this remaster would be something special, but it's not. In brief, it does not appear to be a re-mix, and the remastering does not go very far to make the needed improvements.

I listened carefully for any improvements, but when nothing was obviously better, I got out the Sony CD's and compared carefully, but with the same results. Where the bass guitar was nearly non-existent in the original, it still is. Where the horns were shrill and painful, they still are. There is one obvious difference: many tracks are preceded by magnetic tape print-through (pre-echo).

I ripped one track from all three albums from both this 2008 and the 1996/97 sets and compared the waveforms. They told me pretty much what my ears had already, that levels and mix are exactly the same, at the very least on the three selections I compared. But there ARE differences, just not significant to me anyway. In one selection the remaster actually had lower peak levels. Two of the selections appeared to be identical, but the third showed one of the things I had hoped for: improved high frequencies. There was clearly more HF content, but not enough for my ears to hear on my system.

OK, when it comes to HF, it is possible that there wasn't anything on some of the tape masters to boost, that's what mag tape loses first over time. And I don't want any 'manufactured' HF content either. So I'll give this remaster that much benefit of the doubt. But even without a remix, it should have been possible to boost the bass in some cuts and tame the mid-HF shrillness a little; I've done both myself without impacting artistic intent. And before you comment, I agree that brass should "bite', especially screech trumpet. But it does not need to be shrill enough to hurt.
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