Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chase - Chase (1971)

For my first few posts I wanted to pick a few albums that while they aren't necessarily rare or unheard of they do have a lot of personal history. This album is from 1971 when the jazz-rock craze was in its height. There are many jazz rocks group around this period, but Chase was a bit different from the rest. Four trumpets with a rhythm section was a bit different from the instrumentations that other groups such as Blood, Sweat & Tears were using at the time. The leader of the band, Bill Chase, actually had a lot of history in the jazz world. He played with Maynard Ferguson and Stan Kenton for brief stints during the late 1950s, and he most notably played with one of Woody Herman's finest groups throughout the entirety of the 1960s. Chase was never a "jazz" player in the sense that he was not the next great soloist; Chase was a lead player. His sound in the high register of the trumpet while not as flexible as some others has a raw timbre that is unmistakable and really meshes well with the jazz-rock genre. His mastery of the high notes is featured most notably on the opening track "Open Up Wide" and on the "Invitation to a River" suite that closes the album. This was the first Chase album I was ever exposed to, but it's not actually my favorite. If you have ever heard Chase before it was probably the track "Get It On," which really put Chase in the limelight in the early 1970s. The group was actually nominated for a Grammy award for Best New Artist, but lost to Carly Simon. If you like jazz rock, but you don't like vocals you may find yourself skipping through songs on this album. However, while the vocals aren't great, there is nothing that is particularly offensive either. If you want the instrumentals stick to "Open Up Wide" and "Invitation to a River." This is one of those albums that is loud and in your face but timeless once you experience the virtuosity of the musicians.