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Bill Chase: Chase Live Forever

Trumpeter Bill Chase’s quarter-century reputation for adventurous playing and writing spawned his exciting namesake band. First lauded as lead trumpeter with the 1960s bands of Maynard Ferguson, Stan Kenton and Woody Herman, the Berklee grad organized his own nine-piece jazz-rock group in 1971. The first album sold more than three million copies for Epic. Soon after a second album was released, Chase and three band members were killed in a 1974 plane crash. But Chase’s legacy lives on via this CD release.

Stratospheric brass arrangements, tight ensemble work and imaginative solos are trademarks of this disc. The band’s fusion of rock, pop and blues uses a bombastic combination of four trumpets backed by a great rhythm section and vivid vocals.

Chase himself plays on Chase Live Forever, recorded in late 1972 at several Chicago-area venues but unreleased until last year. Eight of the nine tracks are the leader’s originals, including the back-to-back opening tracks “Open Up Wide” and “Close Up Tight.” The Kentonesque “Shades of Venus” is contrasted by a production of ’70s favorite “MacArthur Park.” Strong melodies mark “Ode to a New England Jellyfish” and “Twinkles,” while “Bo Chowa” has a Latin accent and “Get It On” is funkified. A sound-system buzz heard on the fourth track and recurring intermittently is mildly annoying.

Originally Published