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Manfred Mann Chapter Three - Volume Two CD (album) cover


Manfred Mann Chapter Three


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.61 | 49 ratings

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3 stars The second and final installment of Chapter Three's recorded history is the logical extension of the amalgamation of murky electric piano led blues and progressive jazz flights of fancy that characterised the debut album. However despite its laudable ambition, and the fact that it is probably the more progressive of the two Chapter Three albums, I consider it to be a marginally less impressive effort.

At the heart of this album are two major cuts, the 8 minute long Lady Ace and Happy Being Me which is just about twice as long. On both these tracks, the brass section takes some significant rambles, but despite quality playing, it lacks the incisiveness of most of the tracks on the first album. Happy Being Me in particular, has a series of really nice solos on first piano and then saxophone, but that doesn't excuse sticking with the same groove and backing chords for a quarter of an hour, although the track will definitely appeal to those who enjoy some of the lengthier jams that Steve Winwood's Traffic got up to.

Of the shorter tracks, the instrumental Jump Before You Think is a real highlight. It kicks off with a great Steve York bass solo (the guy has one major moment on each album that I've heard him on so far) and this particular track is sure to excite those who get a kick out of Colosseum's brand of jazz-rock. Poor Sad Sue is another good song that carries on the trend of moody blues-rock with brassy diversions. But on average the shorter tracks like I Ain't Laughing, the sluggish (surely ironically) It's Good To Be Alive and the generally tedious Virginia (which is a basic boogie song broken up by some shocking brass segments) compare poorly with their counterparts on the first album.

As I said though, the overall defecit between this album and the previous one is not that large. Essentially Volume One is more consistent and has the band's better songs but Volume Two has many of the band's most daring moments. Manfred Mann (the man) was to go on to make more spectacular music with the Earth Band, but his two albums with Chapter Three are definitely worth checking out, and are downright essential if you're into the jazz-rock scene. ... 66% on the MPV scale.

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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