The Chase! documents the momentous meeting of boss tenors Dexter Gordon (1923-1990) and Gene Ammons (1925-1974) before an enthusiastic club crowd in Ammons's hometown of Chicago. Both men had much experience in the dueling tenors format. Gordon, paired with Wardell Gray in 1947, recorded the original version of "The Chase," which provided a blueprint for virtually all tenor battles to follow. Three years later Ammons and Sonny Stitt began a successful partnership both live and in the studio. Moreover, Ammons and Gordon skirmished in the mid-1940s during their nights with the legendary Billy Eckstine Orchestra. Their work on "Blowin' the Blues Away" (reprised here in combination with another Eckstine staple, "Lonesome Lover Blues," featuring a shouting vocal by Vi Redd) made for a hit record.
The air was heavy with anticipation when Gordon and Ammons locked horns in 1970. Gordon, who'd moved to Europe in 1962, was making one of his periodic visits to the States, while Ammons had been released from prison in 1969 after serving seven years for narcotics violations. Backed by two expert Chicago rhythm sections headed by pianists Jodie Christian and John Young, the two big-toned tenors shine, both together and individually. In this new CD edition there's an expanded version of "Wee Dot" and a previously unissued ballad medley.
"Blow, Mr. Dexter" and "Blow, Mr. Gene"!
Wee Dot, Polka Dots and Moonbeams, The Chase, Medley (Lover Man [Oh, Where Can You Be?]/I Can't Get Started/My Funny Valentine/Misty), Lonesome Lover Blues, The Happy Blues
with John Young, Cleveland Eaton, Steve McCall, Jodie Christian, Rufus Reid, Wilbur Campbell, Vi Redd