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Chase's second album appeared with high expectations, from within and without -- and high ambitions as well -- so it's ironic that Ennea fell so far short in critical reception and sales. There had been some personnel changes during the recording, although the group's core sound, anchored by bassist Dennis Johnson, was as solid as ever and right where it needed to be. And lots of virtuoso playing could be heard everywhere. What was lacking was balance -- the rock and jazz elements that seemed so finely tuned together on the first album don't coexist as easily on this album, and the move into more of a progressive rock mode, especially on the songs from the original LP's second side, add a third element that never seems in sync with the more traditional rock elements elsewhere on this album. It's still impressive on a technical level -- a lot of those present could have used their work here to open doors for other gigs -- but it doesn't seem like a coherent whole, so much as getting a long-player out because one was needed. And perhaps that's the fairest comment one can make, that Ennea is a snapshot of a band in transition (and which was soon to break up under financial pressures). The album was seriously over-pressed by Columbia, which had high expectations of matching the group's self-titled debut album; instead, copies languished by the thousands in rack-jobber bargain bins well into the late '70s, which did nothing to enhance its reputation. Ennea still has lots of good moments and some great ones -- greater, at times, that anything on the first album if nowhere near as appealing and concise overall -- and is still worth hearing.

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