Chase's self-titled LP was as close to unabashed critical success as the group ever got, coming out just as Chicago and Blood, Sweat, & Tears were both at their respective peaks of popularity. There's not much here that sounds like either band -- Chase had a leaner, livelier sound, with an especially frantic rhythm section. The music is heavily white soul-influenced, dressed up in strong contrapuntal figures, soaring riffs, and riveting climaxes, which may come just a little too often given the relatively modest length of the album. The record is chock-full of enjoyable moments and one unabashed hit ("Get It On"), and loaded with virtuoso playing. Lead singer Terry Richards and backing vocalists Ted Piercefield and Jerry Van Blair (who also play trumpets) are strong but not overbearing singers, and a good balance is struck between the vocalists and the band, which was a problem that Blood, Sweat, & Tears never did solve -- the result is a record that's sort of a rock-influenced descendant of Stan Kenton's more experimental work of the late '40s and early '50s, which slotted in well with the progressive side of jazz-rock in 1971. "Invitation to a River," at 14 minutes and divided into five parts, may seem like the height of pretentiousness, but in 1971 audiences devoured it, and the playing, including what sound like 16th notes on the trumpets, is something to marvel at in a popular context. The CD reissue even reprints Nat Hentoff's original liner notes.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder