October 20, 1934 - August 9, 1974
Written by Kevin Seeley
William Edward Chiaiese was born on October 20, 1934 to John and Emily Chiaiese(key-ah-tze) in
While Bill was growing up his parents felt that he needed to broaden his horizons and arranged for him to take violin lessons. Bill did not even touch the trumpet, until the middle of his high school years. A newspaper clipping dated 1956 pictures Bill listed as a Corporal in the 26th Yankee Infantry Division Band holding a bass drum. Bill's experience as a drummer changed his life and the lives of many others. During a St. Patrick's Day parade he had to lug his huge drum for five miles enduring the miserably cold pouring rain. It hurt so bad that he decided never to do it again, he asked his father to dig out his old trumpet for him.
Not long after switching to trumpet, Bill was playing first chair in the school orchestra and classical music was his main love. Early 1950's a neighbor coaxed Bill to attend a Stan Kenton concert with him. This was the band with Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Childers, Conte Condoli, etc. After that night, Bill was hooked on jazz and high note trumpet.
As you can tell, this time period in Bills life is hard to decipher. Bill was doing so much playing, and he became very good so quickly, that the dates are very confusing. Since Maynard left the Kenton Band and headed to
Boston Globe writer Ernie Santosuosso wrote about Bill in 1971, “Bill Chase has been experimenting with sounds all of his life. As a youngster in the Fields Corner community of
Bill’s backyard became his bandstand as he beat out precocious rhythms atop the inverted barrels. The little Italian lady, who sat at her kitchen window, regarded Bill as a pet but voiced emphatic objections to his make-shift paraddidling on the barrels. So, when Bill’s father, who played trumpet, decided to retire his horn, the boy’s curiosity inevitably led him to the instrument and away from the barrel-house. The maturation process as a trumpeter had begun for Bill.
The ex-drummer put his horn to work for St. Ambrose’s Band, then for Boston English High, Berklee, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, and Woody Herman. The little old Italian lady was given special command performances in her kitchen and she almost lit a candle in thanksgiving for young Bill’s return to his barrels and rubbish deposits.”
He started playing his fathers old trumpet the summer before his junior year in high school and showed a natural aptitude for it. He soon joined a Drum and Bugle Corps, along with his school groups. This, was prior to his stint in the Boston National Guard where he said he wrote music and played trumpet in 1957. He served for six months in the guard band, which honed his talents as a trumpeter and arranger.
Educator and trumpet player Herb Pomeroy on his first recollections of meeting Bill, “ I want to place it about 1953 and the reason I’m placing it there is because Charlie Mariano and myself and a few other musicians (Ray Santisi and Serge Chaloff) started a little school the “Jazz Workshop”. We started it in June of 1953. This was not associated with Berklee, just a little thing that we did. It went for about two years and I believe the first time I met Bill was that he came by the school. It was the kind of place where we’d give guys a private lesson for a buck, the teacher would make $.50 and the house would make $.50 and we’d have small groups play and the students come in and play. It was a very informal thing, nothing of any formal nature. My memory is that Bill came by that school because I remember going to a couple of dances that summer, maybe Duke’s band or the Kenton Band, and seeing Bill at this particular ballroom and saying “Hi, how ya doin?” because I remembered him from the school.
The next time that Bill and I had a connection, that I can remember would have been the Fall, September of 1955, when I began teaching at Berklee. Bill had already entered and was a student when I joined the staff. I had just come off the road with Lionell Hampton, Stan Kenton and the Serge Chaloff sextet. I had Bill playing in some of my trumpet ensembles, by then he’d already developed some good chops and was playing lead trumpet in ensembles and my memory tells me that I had him in an arranging class or two also.
Bill was playing for the ensembles and writing for them, and he had improved greatly as a trumpet player. At this point I did not consider Bill a real strong jazz trumpet player, solo wise, I mean he was competent, he was adequate. His real strength was as a lead trumpet player. He had a very strong, projecting, singing sound over a brass section and over a band. Of the trumpet players that were at Berklee at that point I would not say that he wasn’t musically any better a lead trumpet player than the other two people there, but he was physically the strongest and combined his musicality also. He had a good lead trumpet mentality, a “take charge” sort of thing.
At that time in Boston, my big band was working professionally and I had a band that we used to call the Junior Band, a band made up of younger musicians from Boston who rehearsed once a week so that I would have substitutes who knew the music, so if any one of the fellows in my professional band were sick, had a better paying gig, whatever it might have been, I had a band of the younger players who knew the book. Bill played lead trumpet in the Junior Band. He never played trumpet in my professional band as a regular. He subbed in it many times for a trumpet player named Lenny Johnson who was the lead trumpet in my regular professional band. Bill played lead and it was a wonderful band; Chet Ferretti played second and Paul Fontaine was in the band and Jake Hanna played drums in the band. Ever so many wonderful players were either at Berklee or just native to
One of the things I remember is the role that he would assert himself into as a lead player: the projecting sound, his upper register was developing, at this point he had a good high “F”, high “G” and with a nice fat sound to it. I think at this period he was still learning about “time”, I don’t think he was a fully mature lead trumpet player. Sound wise and projecting over the band with sound in a nice singing quality and a nice edge to his sound, all of those things were present. I think he was still learning rhythmically how to play lead in a jazz band. I think by the time he left Boston he had not yet become rhythmically as fine a lead player as he became later with Maynard and Woody, but I think sound wise he had developed into essentially sounding kind of lead trumpet player that he was with both Maynard and Woody and later with his own band. His writing was competent, he was a competent arranger at the professional level, but his writing was not his strong point when he was in
The energy that he would bring to rehearsals or to gigs and the amount of time you knew what he had to be practicing to keep his chops up at this point. Whenever he was part of something, he would have some of that take over, not in the sense of him taking over from the band leader, but taking over the trumpet section, taking over the brass section, wanting to fix things, wanting to make things to be right, like a good lead trumpet player needs to be responsible beyond just for his own part, but for making sure the whole section sounds good. Bill always had that sort of drive. You could see leadership qualities in him both as a lead trumpt player and later on as leader of his own band, that’s something that I saw definitely brewing, developing back in the 1950’s.”
Bill went to the Berklee School of Music in
Things are more confusing at this point. Woody Herman hired Bill after the Herd played a gig with Pomeroy's band in a park in
Trumpet player Roger Middleton “Bill joined the Kenton Band sometime in the summer of 1959. He and his wife traveled in his beautiful little sports car. I envied him because he didn’t have to travel on the bus and I think he came right from
I don’t remember exactly when Bill left the band but it was about after a period of 4 to 6 weeks, I believe. He wasn’t on the band long enough, that’s for sure and it was I’d say in the early fall. We did the “Standards in Silhouette” album on September 21 and 22 1959 at Capitol Studios in NYC. IT was a room with a very high ceiling, perhaps it was a ballroom and they mounted monitors, large speakers for us to hear the playbacks in the hall. The technicians, the engineers, of course were all back in a booth situation, they were not listening to the band live. Then we listened to the results through the speakers and of course the trumpet players were always annoyed by the habit of engineers to mix things so that the saxophone section is heard more prominently than the trumpets even during a full ensemble, which is, of course, sheer nonsense, and we always felt that if you want us to play softer, tell us to play softer but get the true balance of the band, but they almost never came out of the booth, I know this is an old complaint to hear the band live. They thought they had a better idea of what Kenton’s Band should sound like than he did, I guess, whatever.”
Kenton Historian Anthony Agostinelli “Bill Chase came on the band on September 21, 1959 for the recording in NY. He rejoined the band for the gig at the Blue Note in
Maynard Ferguson “I don’t remember who told me about Bill, it may have been Herb Pomeroy or Boots Mussulli, it might have been people from that area other then Herb, I just don’t remember. What a wonderful guy he was and also a great player and one quick story to move along many years after was that when I came back from Europe and from India where I was for over 8 years before I came back to this country and when I came back we were playing at the “Top of the Mark” in Rochester, NY and anyway it was one of those clubs on top of a skyscraper, so to speak and Bill Chase had just flown in the middle of a blizzard. I remember running into him in Vegas in the late 1960’s he was wearing very tight white pants and he was playing great trumpet in the middle of about 30 of the most gorgeous women in Las Vegas and they were doing kicks around hem (and he was loving every bit of it by the way) so our personalities are somewhat the same in a sense.
One of my favorite stores was at Sea Isle City in
In a 1971 interview with noted Jazz critic Leonard Feather, Bill recalled his days with Maynard, “Playing for him was literally a dream realized. There wasn’t a single night of the 18 months I worked in his band that I didn’t get chills when he played “Tenderly”. He’s so heavy he’s ridiculous! I love that cat.”
Herb Pomeroy “I would bump into Bill when he was working with Maynard’s Band. They were on the road, we were in
Trumpet player Paul Fontaine “I first met him in 1956. We were roughly the same age, about 18 years old. He played in a local band called the Pete Cutler Band. I made some rehearsals subbing but never actually worked with the band. Bill did work with the band quite a bit. Herb Pomeroy had a band that was working a couple of nights at a place called The Stable in Boston across from Storyville which was a famous jazz club owned by George Wein at one time. The Stables had a nice little small group with Joe Gordon, a very fine trumpet player. Herb had a big band. He had Serge Chaloff, Boots Mussulli, and all kinds of great players. He used to play Tuesday and Thursday nights. So Herb started what he called the “B Band”. He held rehearsals on Saturday morning at the old
Woody was taking the band out on a summer southern tour. It was all in the summer time and it was only nine or ten weeks. I got to the studio and there were 30 trumpet players sitting in at different times, on different tunes. I finally got to sit in and had to play a solo on something which I was able to do from the back chair. I figured well, if this was it, I want to go home. This is unbelievable. Bill said, “You’ve got the chair” and I couldn’t believe it and that was beginning of a long story. That was the first time I had seen him since he had left
Don Lanphere was the lead tenor player on the band, he drove his own car and I used to go with him once in a while, but he was crazy. He’d drink all the time and be driving drunk and fast: 95, 100 miles per hour. So I didn’t like that too much. I used to get in with Bill and his wife a couple of other guys. We toured through that summer and that was kind of a drag. The bass player was Jack Six and he was the road manager. We played nothing but country clubs and VFW halls. It was just strictly danceable stuff. In that respect, it wasn’t really a great band and Woody wasn’t really enthused about it. The drummer was Jimmy Campbell.
When we were at Berklee, Bill was always powerful. He always had pretty good high chops, and he maintained a consistency at that time and he was reliable to be able to play lead. I wasn’t into lead playing. I was a jazz player. I had no interest in big bands except for the fact that I was in them all of the time. I had been put into them in school. My interest was really small groups and I really didn’t have the aspirations of being a lead trumpet player, so I didn’t follow that, that closely. I don’t know how he improved, but he seemed to get better and better all the time. He must have been pretty good to get on Maynard Ferguson’s Band and he stayed on there for quite awhile.
Woody disbanded at the end of that first summer. Then the following summer which would have been 1959, the band was going to get back together again. The person who was booking the band was Abe Turchin and I forgot what happened, but Bill called and asked “Do you want to go out on this tour with Woody this summer?” And I said “Sure, do you need anybody else?” So I got Jimmy Mosher on baritone saxophone and Gordon Brisker out on the band.
That was a pretty good band, with Don Rader and Rolf Ericson. We were still traveling in cars and we had more time to be social with each other on that trip. That tour actually kept going and it was not just for the summer but went into the next year. The band kept going and then I got my draft notice. I had to leave the band in May of 1960 to be drafted into the army. I wouldn’t sign up because signing up would have meant 3 years, so I waited to be drafted and it took two years. I didn’t see Woody’s Band for a while because I was doing basic training down in
Woody’s musicians, especially Jimmy Mosher, told the NORAD people where I was taking basic training. So that’s how I was able to get the call through the guys in Woody’s Band. I went on the NORAD Band for two years. I got Bobby Shew on the band. Phil Wilson and I were roommates and the band traveled around quite a bit. At the end of the two years there was the Cuban missile crisis. Phil and I were extended months because of this crisis, so Phil ended up having to stay a week or two and then they dropped the crisis and I got out on time. Phil left the NORAD Band and went right to Woody’s Band and I guess it was the same thing, playing small clubs. The NORAD Band now went to
Bill practiced quite a bit, especially in the first couple of years where I really got to know him better. At that time, he was the type of person who was very conscientious. If we were in a hotel, he’d find a room somewhere away from people, so he could practice before the job and he’d practice after the job “warm down” he called it and he was very conscientious about that. On the bus, if we were going to a job he would be buzzing his lips a little bit both with and without his mouthpiece. He was practicing all the time. Bill used to arrange for getting hotels for the band. Bill and Woody used to travel together and eat together all of the time. Bill had a lot of say in personnel changes in the band.”
After a total of 18 months with Maynard, Bill joined Woody to work with his sextet and vaudeville show. This was when Woody had financial problems and the big band was too expensive to keep. Bill joined Stan Kenton in September of 1959 mainly as a lead player, but I have a picture of him and his tilted bell horn playing the third book. He recorded a couple of albums, but ended up getting fired by Stan due to remarks he made about the trumpet section which also contained Bud Brisbois and his unwillingness to switch to a straight Bb trumpet. Things are confusing again with the new release of a live Kenton concert from January 30, 1960 which has Bill listed in the section.
Throughout his entire career Bill was extremely dedicated to his practicing. He had the habit of buzzing his mouthpiece for 30 to 45 minutes after each show, whether it was a two hour concert or a five hour dance gig. In the back of the Kenton bus Bill would drive people crazy with this particular habit. This was, of course, when he wasn't driving his sports car from show to show.
Bill's first real taste of fame came when he took over the lead book in Woody's Herd. Bill's rock solid lead work and fierce solo efforts helped the band really swing hard. Bill became a featured soloist with the band, not only on high note finishes, but on beautiful ballads as well. Songs such as "Somewhere," "I Can't Get Started," "Summertime" and others showed the sweet side of his horn.
Bill also began to write and arrange for the band. Many of his tunes were recorded by the band in the 60's. "Mo-Lasses," "Somewhere," "Taste of Honey," "Y'Know What I Mean," "El Toro Grande," "23 Red" and "Camel Walk" which made it into the 1964 Downbeat yearbook as a featured score.
In 1959, saxophonist Don Lanphere and his wife Midge were traveling companions with Bill and his wife. They would drive from town to town following the band to the gigs. On the way to the Monterey Jazz Festival in
Another amusing story took place at a hotel in
Paul Fontaine “We did a whole series of recordings. We recorded Encore, 1963, out at
When we got back at that time the trumpet section had Danny Nolan in it and he was leaving the band when we returned to
The Herman Band was featured as a prize on a 1961 episode of the Price is Right. The winner would receive a concert by the band, all expenses paid, including a location for the event. The band was featured on several numbers and during the closing credits. Although it is hard to see, you can hear Bill screaming on top of the band.
The Herd, in it's prime during the early sixties was given ample time to perform for a national audience. The band was a guest on the Ed Sullivan show each year from 1963 to 1965. These performances coupled with two featured spots on the PBS Jazz Casuals shows, brought the band to the attention of music lovers all across the
The Casuals shows were sort of dry in nature due to the fact that not even a studio audience was provided. In addition the host of the show was narrated by the rather dry jazz writer Ralph Gleason. The first show featured Bill soloing on his own composition of "Mo-Lasses," and his outstanding vehicle for tenor saxophonist Sal Nistico, "El Toro Grande," which seem to be the best numbers. Trombonist Phil Wilson is also featured, whistling his way through the trombone's upper register with ease.
The second show is also very good, featuring Bill on his arrangement of "A Taste Of Honey." A brief solo spot on "Satin Doll" is also in this episode. However the lead playing is what makes the shows so great. Bill pushes the band as far as he can considering the energy level is so low because of the lack of a crowd. Gleason, although a well respected jazz critic, is useless in the shows. He asks such questions as, "Woody are big bands coming back?" This was in 1963. What a tough question in a time that gave us some of the better big band albums, not only by the Herd but by other bands as well.
Bill spoke about playing the demanding lead book on the Herman Band with Leonard Feather, “That was hard work I had to play lead trumpet and set fire to the whole band. Even when we saw nothing but buses and hotel rooms and ballrooms, when my chops were beat or swollen, I just forced myself to keep going. Woody Herman showed me a lot, he showed me that my prime duty was never to let the public down.”
Critics were astounded by the power of the Herd in the 1960's, each album they recorded received more praise then the previous one. "Many critics have attributed much of the band's spark and drive to Chase's forceful lead work (the trumpeter plays what he calls the "screech" parts and often solos, but it is his lead work that has been most often cited)."
Trumpet player Bill Byrne “I first met Bill Chase at Jake Koven’s practice studios in
Chase did all of the hiring for the brass and Nat Pierce did the rest. I started out on third and eventually ended up playing the fifth book. After the first two weeks Woody asked Bill why I was still in the band. Bill told him I was playing the parts as good as anyone. He knew I was practicing them every day.
Chase was playing a Martin at the time but started getting into Schilke. One reason Bill sounded so strong on lead is because Jerry Lamy. Jerry was indestructible and he was always there for him. He would cover what lead Bill didn’t play and support him all the way. They were great buddies. Chase was also writing for the band at that time. As a matter of fact, he was working on charts for the band when I met him at Koven’s studio. I’d hear him pounding away at the piano.
We were pals. I guess it’s because I like to eat and drink wine, and that’s what he loved to do. We’d eat tons of food before the job, especially when it was an Italian restaurant. I recall when we were in
Chase would do long tones and intervals to warm up if he had time before a gig. He also liked to use a warm down. It was basically starting at the top and coming down. That was a ritual when time permitted. He also had a set of physical exercises that he did all his life. He had learned stretching routines from the women dancers in
He told me that the way he got his range was long tones. When he was a kid he’d work his long tones in intervals and a half step at a time. He would expand the exercise a half step at a time and wouldn’t move to the next half step until he really had it locked in. So his range wasn’t some natural or freak thing, he worked his ass off on it! Another thing about Bill was that he could analyze chop problems and figure out solutions. If someone got a cut or something, he would figure out what the guy was doing wrong.
He was a stickler for accuracy. He would call sectional rehearsals just to work on tone quality and cut-offs. We’d run some things as many as 20 times until it was really solid. And when we got to the gig, we played it that way too. One thing I noticed is that the band played with a big open sound. It was the loudest I ever played but it was a solid and musical. The section really blended well even on the soft passages.
Chase would give you the “ray” look out the side of his eye at you or have a talk if he thought you weren’t up to par. If the guy wouldn’t cooperate, he’d get somebody who would. Another thing is that Bill would listen to the balance of the whole band. He was very aware of what the band was doing. He would talk it over with Nat and the guys to make it better all of the time.
Chase would ask Nat Pierce if it was a sit down gig or a stand up gig. He had sit down pants and stand up pants.
Chase was also an excellent photographer. He took his 16mm movie camera to
I was on the band with Bill from August 65 to August of 66. He left after a gig at the Tropicana Hotel in Vegas. He left to play the “Viva Les Girls” show, taking over for Charlie Turner. It was kind of a shock for Bill because it was a different type of playing. Three shows a night took a lot of endurance. When they redesigned the show, they had Bill out front playing trumpet with beads hanging all over him, When the other players in Vegas would put him on about this he’d say, “Man, I get a hundred bucks a week extra.” He came back to Woody’s Band in either February or March of 1969 and played until September.
I first heard the Chase band at the Pussycat A-Go-Go when we were playing at Ceasar’s Palace. That was around 1970. They would play five sets from 12:00am to 5:00am. Bill lived in some little apartments behind the Tropicana Hotel and that’s where we would go to eat. Bill was a very good chef and he’d really put on a feast after the gigs.
The concert reviews from the current band were better than ever. "The trumpets with some new faces on hand, had their customary bite and sparkle, paced by Chase's remarkable lead work. Chase has some exciting solo bits, mostly in high note climaxes, but also in a more melodic vein, as on "Everybody Loves Somebody."
"The trumpet section led by the fiery Bill Chase is a killer. Chase a dark and handsome 28 year old is a superb trumpeter. Musicians are astonished by his chops. His range is literally the same as Maynard's, and he is playing lead an octave over the others much of the time. When he's not doing that he's playing straight lead. The rest of the time he plays solos-sensitive and extremely musically solos."
Q: How did you find Bill Chase’s lead playing? Don Rader:
Well now, he’s a gasbut at that time he was still trying to find himself. He’d been a third trumpet up until that time. I guess he got a chance to play some lead with Maynard. Though he was mainly second and third there, because Augie Feretti was playing all the leads.
Q: He’s certainly found his feet now in the present Herman band.
This particular trip with Woody only lasted seven weeks and then the band broke up, because he only had one tour booked. It was from October until around December 1st, 1959. The band formed again in February, 1960. In between times Bill went with Stan Kentonand that’s where he really seemed to get his chops together. When he came back he was really blowing good, and since then he’s continually got better and better.
The Woody's Winners album in 1965 is probably the best, as far as Bill's playing goes. "The best writing is Chase's 23 Red, a wild, boppish up tempo arrangement in the first Herd tradition. Chase does a terrific job in the section. He's one of the stronger lead trumpeters around now and maybe one of the best in history." All of this from a Downbeat critic, usually one of the tougher magazines to get a good big band review.
Bill was always in command of the Herman trumpet section with his playing and even sometimes the whole band. "There are things I made Woody’s Band do that I accomplished without saying a word. Just by taking one note and placing it in a certain position, maybe an infinitesimal fraction of a beat further each night, with the objective in mind that eventually it would get to the point where I thought it should be. And the guys would follow those subtle changes without even knowing that they were doing it. That's a groovy satisfaction." Bill was called on many times to be the sparkplug of an exhausted band. "And there were times when I knew I'd simply have to turn on the whole band, like after an all-day bus ride when everyone was totally beat...So I would turn it on so damned hard that at the end of the night I'd be completely spent. I wouldn't have one note left. Because no matter how tired or swollen your chops might be, when a key highnote passage comes up, you pace yourself and you play it. A major part of it is mental. If you say, 'There's no way I can make it tonight,' then you will not make it. But when it has to roar and you're the lead player, you can't say that. Because you HAVE to make it!"
In 1966 while on a tour for the state department, Nat Pierce had this to say: "We were playing a reception for the second vice president of
In a 1966 interview with Melody Maker Magazine, Bill spoke about wanting to develop as a soloist, “I definitely have it in mind to develop as a soloist. I never used to think this way until the last couple of years. I like the usual soloists, like Clark Terry, Clifford Brown, Dizzy and don’t forget Harry Edison. But I would like to fashion my style on
Trumpeter Bill Byrne credits Bill for keeping him on the band (Byrne remained with the band until it folded after Woody died) "Bill Chase was the main reason that I got to stay on the band. He saw me working hard on the parts and let me stay on the band." Bill later became the band manager and tour director among other capacities he held with the band. "Bill Chase was a great cook and took wonderful films of our Herman Africa trip in 1966."
In 1966, Bill left Woody and landed in
Paul Fontaine “We got to
Several sources say that Bill appeared on the Ed Sullivan show as a featured soloist in 1968 when Sullivan was filming in Vegas. In an all too brief two minute spot Bill played his high note feature as scantily clad chorus line girls danced all about. No one remembers exactly what was played, but one source thought it was the "Carnival of Venice" up an octave. Throughout his stint in Vegas, Bill continued to do occasional tours with Woody even up until 1970. Several of these concerts have recently been issued on compact disc.
In an article in Melody Maker Magazine by Jerry Dawson, Bill spoke about his 1969 tour with Woody Herman and the
I started experimenting with electronic instruments and eventually finished with my own equipment balanced to our particular requirements, amplifying piano, bass and saxes. I am aware that a lot of people particularly in the jazz world are anti-electronic sounds and I prefer the pure sound of acoustic bass myself, but I can remember so many concerts when bass and piano might just as well have not been there. In a big swinging band one can possibly get away with this, but economics being what they are I had to bow to the inevitable if my band was to be heard.
I’m all right on trumpet, I can make myself audible but the balance wouldn’t be right. My spell in Vegas taught me a lot and I know just which way I am going. I intend to stay with the Herd for the summer and in the autumn plan to form a band of piano, drums, electric bass and guitar and four trumpets. I visualize a rocking rhythm section with a front line of jazzmen, and already I have written a number of charts. I hope that what I have to offer will be acceptable for concerts and club dates, and we shall try to sell records by getting across to young people.
Woody has proved that, by careful adaption, jazzmen can get across to the youth of today, and I’ve enjoyed doing it with him. I’ve heard rock groups. I think I know what they are attempting and I’ve even enjoyed sitting in with them.
It’s really funny how way back the Four Freshmen and particularly the Hi-Lo’s used the voices as instruments. What I would like to do is use instruments in the manner that groups like the 5th Dimension use their voices. I’m very happy indeed in the way music is moving. One can play much more freely today then ever before. New sounds are no longer unfamiliar they are evident even in the simplest of television commercials. Listeners are being brought up on them, they are no longer strange on their ears.
Rock, beat, pop, call it what you will, has made people accept change, new sounds particularly, as they would not have accepted them a decade ago. It is up to we jazzmen to take advantage of this situation. Music is progressing harmonically and the 5th Dimension are doing with the music of today what the Hi-Lo’s did in their era, but they are taking it even further by simplifying it and getting into the listener’s ears. And you can relate a lot of what they are doing to Gospel music.
I did a lot of research into Gospel music when I was last with Woody Herman. It was my intention to do a lot of writing in this idiom, but I never got around to it. I shall certainly use the idea in my own band. Gospel really gets the message across and swinging. I shall retain this, adding a little more harmonically.”
Speaking with Leonard Feather, Bill discussed his “research” for his new group. “During my last tour with Woody, just a couple of years ago, I spent a lot of time in
In Vegas, Bill's reputation as a fearless lead player landed him many quality gigs. However he became bored of life in the clubs. He once mentioned that he used to play cards and read comics with one hand as he played the show with the other. Bill also spent time as Vic Damone's lead player. When big shows came to Vegas needing an extra trumpet player, Bill was the trumpeter that each artist would call on. When Johnny Carson would come to town, Doc Severinsen would call Bill to play in the band. Bill, Doc, Johnny and Ed McMahon were all close.
Trumpeter Byron Lingenfelter met Bill in 1964 when he joined Woody’s Band to replace Larry Ford. Byron was only on the band for three weeks when he received his draft notice. After the service Byron settled in Vegas and played the Viva Les Girls show with Bill.
Byron’s daughter Diane remembered this time “I do remember that Bill always called me ‘punkin head’ and that when we first moved to
Jay Burrid remembered one time Bill was working at the Dunes and in the main room Siegried and Roy were there with their tigers. Bill had his corvette, he put a tiger in the corvette and drove to his hotel and walked into the pool area with the tiger (and the trainer), people just scattered. Every once in a while, Bill did something crazy..... Bill also taught me how to make a good Martini. Bill learned this particular method from Woody Herman. Jay also mentioned a clear mouthpiece that Bill used to have that allowed him to show airflow when he put it on his horn….
Bill became so bored with playing the same show that he began to look for a new way to express himself. Drummer Jay Burrid was on the road in 1968 with Bobby Darrin and then settled in Vegas. He hooked up with Bill and they discussed the band concept. Bill was playing the Viva Les Girls show at the Dunes and Bill’s girlfriend was dancing in Jay's show. The first rehearsal was late in 1968 at Jay’s house. The trumpets were Bill, Buddy Childers, Chuck Findley, and Bobby Shew, piano was Bob Rosario from Bobby Darrin's Band, Brent Alverson on Bass and John Palmer on guitar. They used to rehearse at 4:30am after everyone had finished their shows. The trumpet section went through some immediate changes. By 1969 things started coming around. The band began to rehearse in a large vacant warehouse after they had finished their jobs. Usually rehearsals would run from 2:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. The band also rehearsed in a dance studio that was behind a Mexican restauraunt. The band originally learned tunes off the radio, such as "Vehicle," "With a Little Help from My Friends," "Celebrate" and others. The first rehearsal saw Bill, Gerry Lamy, Bobby Shew as trumpets, John Palmer on guitar, Brent Alverson Bass and Jay Mitthauer (Burrid) on drums. Shortly after, the regular band was Bill, Lin Biviano and Byron Lingenfelter on trumpet, Palmer, Alverson, Burrid in the rhythm section and joined by Phil Porter on organ.
Originally the band was going to be all instrumentals, but Jay convinced Bill that they would need a vocalist in order to have commercial success and Bill found Terry in early 1969. Finally with enough cover tunes learned they auditioned at the Pussycat-A-Go-Go. They signed on as an after hours music group. They would play five one hour sets. The band gradually formed a local following and slowly added in some original tunes.
The first gig at the Pussycat was originally booked as a two week job, however it soon stretched into two and a half months. This was in the summer of 1970. Bill felt that he needed to shop his product around a little, so he got some help from Woody and friend Tommy Martin in finding some record executives who would listen. Frank Rand was one of the first people to really feel that the group would have a future and he enthusiastically added his support and background to getting the band with Epic records.
Frank Rand “ Bill was an incredible musician. He had one of the best pair of lips I have ever heard. In a trumpet player, the lips are almost everything. Musically, he never sat still. We spent many hours talking music, and with Chase, the talk almost always was on centered on the future. He was just coming into his own when the future was cut short. Everybody at Epic was excited about his “Pure Music” album, and we were looking forward to his next one. Had he lived, there would have been a next one. “Pure Music” sold in the neighborhood of 100,000 pieces. Above all, Bill Chase was a sensitive and intense human being. I am proud to have been able to know and work with him.”
Bill Byrne commented some on this time period too. "The Woody Herman band used to go to the Pussycat in
Bill flew to
The band at this time was made up of Bill, Byron, Jerry and Lin on trumpets. The rhythm section was comprised of John Palmer on guitar, Jay Burrid on drums, Dennis Johnson on bass and Phil Porter on keys.
Trumpeter Alan Ware came in to replace Byron who decided he wanted to keep his steady hotel playing job. Alan was working in the lounge act in the same hotel where Bill was playing. They became friends in their off hours and naturally when Bill needed another player, Alan came to mind. Alan became the band's road manager. He was also the only band member with good credit. He bought a car for the band to travel in. This was a major commitment, as sometimes they had to scrape by on only $75 a week.
After about two months of rehearsals, Guitarist Angel South joined the band bringing a heavy background in blues, and rock music. Angel soon became one of the most inventive and talented guitarists on the scene. Later when the band started to tour, Bill would rely on Angel's soloing to bring the crowd to it's feet.
When the band decided to go out on the road, several members chose to stay in Vegas, hoping that a gig in a club would be more steady than the life on the road with Bill's fledgling band. Byron left the band early in 1971 to stay with his wife and newborn son. Lin was offered the lead chair in Buddy Rich's band. Gerry also wanted to stay with his steady job in town.
With replacements needed, Bill went to the band for help. Jay Burrid had been in the Navy with trumpeter Jerry Van Blair stationed in
Ted remembered that tunes like “God Bless the Child” were done off the cuff. Terry was a great lounge singer and was wonderful on those standards. At the Pussycat a Go-Go, Bill would sing “Sweet Home Chicago”. During this time, Ted was asked to joined Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders but had already joined Chase.
Epic records saw a future in the band and had the band move to
After the early afternoon session they would move all the gear back into the club for the show that night. This process was repeated for more than a week. In nine days they figured that they had the album completed. After compiling the total time of the album, Bill realized that it was about six minutes short. He sent Ted and Alan into a practice room to arrange something. In very little time, they had an arrangement of Rod Stewart's "Handbags and Gladrags" finished. Bill loved it and it was recorded that same afternoon.
The album proved to be a huge success as "Get It On" became a number one pop hit in the summer of 1971. The band was nominated for a Grammy award. Bill was voted as the number two pop musician of the year, runner up to Carly Simon. The group also placed second in the Rock/Pop/Blues group category and the album was the number one pop album of the year, according to Downbeat Magazine. According to Jay Burrid, at one point, the band had 260 one nighter’s in a row.
Again speaking with Leonard Feather, Bill discussed the music, “On our next album we’ll be aiming for more color, more variety of expression. I built a bit of a monster for myself with the four trumpets, especially since I don’t care for the more commonly used mutes. But we can level off a lot by doubling more often on Flugelhorns. There have to be plenty of vocals because it helps sell the band. But I agree about the words. We have some lyrics now that are more meaningful. In most jazz-rock bands, the horns tend to be just a background, the horns are in the forefront here and that’s what’s different about our group, I believe. We want the horns to be predominant, to share the mileage without drowning the singer out, and to allow for enough instrumental passages so that the right proportions are maintained.
Luckily the tune that got the best reaction in the first album was a thing Terry and I wrote called “Get It On” in which we achieved the best balance between vocal and horns. We want to keep up that pattern of bouncing back and forth between the trumpets and the singer.”
Bassist Dartanyon Brown “The first time I heard Bill Chase was in
At this point, I’ll leave you to savor the first time YOU heard Chase. That’s the reason any of us are here (hear) interacting in the first place. Hearing the album definitely changed my impressions of what music could be; but I had no idea of how William Chase’s music would soon literally reshape my life in the years ahead.”
Riding the crest of the first album's success the band was booked into George Wein's Newport Jazz Festival. The show went over extremely well, but the festival had it's problems when riots broke out during the following group's performance. Angel remembers rioters tearing the place apart and even hurling the grand piano off of the stage. All of the bands ran for their lives. This was the event that caused the moving of the festival to Carnegie Hall for several years.
In May of 1971, CHASE helped re-open the Aquarius Theater in
In June of 1971, CHASE made it’s
Jazz Promoter George Wein, from the liner notes of Dave Brubeck’s “The Last Set at Newport” Before Dave Brubeck made his appearance at Newport on the fateful night of July 3rd, 1971, Bill Chase and his jazz/rock group had just finished playing one of the most exciting opening sets that we ever had at the Newport Jazz Festival. Dave was visibly affected by the reaction of the audience and the enormous volume of sound that came from the incredible amount of electronic equipment that Chase used in their performance. Dave asked me to please turn up the sound system as loud as possible so that his tiny quartet would not appear dwarfed by the sound of the previous group. I told him to forget it and go out and "wail””.
The band's fame soon spread and national television spots followed. Performances on the Smothers Brothers and Tonight Shows brought their music to more people. The band was doing a gig in Lincoln, Nebraska, they finished the gig and then flew immediately to Los Angeles first thing in the morning, they went to the hotel for a quick clean up and then went over to the studio to tape the Smothers Brothers Show, after the show they went back to the hotel to clean up again, then they went to NBC to tape the Tonight Show. From the Tonight Show, they went and did two sets at the Whiskey A-Go-Go. After the gig they flew back to the Mid-West for a show the next day. The Smothers show was taped in the studio with no audience. In between numbers the camera was filming the band as Bill's voice over talked "people ask me why the name CHASE, well, that's my name too!" The band played "Open Up Wide" and "Get It On" on both shows. On the Tonight Show the audience went crazy, prompting Johnny Carson to quip "Fine group, just fine, but there are nine fellows who will not be invited to Lawrence Welk's birthday party." That evening the band played at the
Trumpeter Dan Jacobs, “I first met Bill in ’64 when he was playing with Woody in
On a break, we were talking and he mentioned for the first time the idea of putting together the band with a 4 trumpet front line, that ultimately ended up being the “Chase” band. He said he was sick of being a side man and that playing behind a curtain, unseen, in the Vegas bands was driving him crazy. In fact, he said that is why he asked Woody to let him go back on the road for that tour, he said he felt he was losing it with the bands in Vegas.
In 1971, they were touring after the first album, and they had a one night stand at a place called “Mr President” in
Throughout 1971 the band maintained a vigorous touring schedule. The band was a supercharged bunch of musicians on stage and after each show they were totally exhausted, having given their all. Usually the shows went off without a hitch, however there were a few occasions when something did go wrong. During one show the drum beat got changed around, nothing like this had ever happened before. Everyone was so amazed that something went wrong that they all broke into laughter. The music stopped and the band took several minutes before they regained enough composure to start the tune over.
In order to ensure a great crowd response for "Get It On," Bill would typically have Angel play a 10 to 15 minute solo displaying his guitar skills, interspersing great trumpet licks during the solo. Angel was a forerunner in the use of guitar effects, that are used so much today. At a show in
Ted-"One time we opened for Black Sabbath & Alice Cooper. Meeting Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper was neat because they were just regular guys, we actually shared the dressing room with them. Also Karen & Richard Carpenter were huge fans of the group. One time when we played
"A lot of times I would double the lead parts with Bill, if I felt like it. If I ever missed something Bill would say "If you're gonna do it...DO IT!" Bill didn't care about me doubling the lead with him on a few things, if he did, he never said anything."
"GG was a far better singer for the group, Terry was good, damn good, but he was a lounge singer, one of the best I heard. It's just for what we were doing, GG was the better choice and GG had to get used to being in a band like Chase, it was alien to him at first, especially things like the Greek suite."
The band was really a group of good friends during the early years. Nicknames were common: Bill “Craze” (Phil Porter used to call him “Grease” and joke to him about having 3-4 of his shirt buttons undone so everybody could see his chest hair)
Alan “Carrot Ass” (because he was a vegetarian) also called the “Prince” because of his long straight blonde hair
Dennis “the Oaf” (Listen to several of the live concert tapes and you can hear Phil playing the Addams Family theme on the organ after Dennis was introduced. Dennis used to trip over amps, cymbals, etc.)
In August of 1971 while at the Hollywood Bowl, the band opened up for the 5th Dimension and over 10,000 people. After the gig Marylinn McCoo told Chase “Never again!”, meaning that they were FAR too powerfull and exciting a group to be opening for the 5th Dimension.
Each member of the band received many of opportunities to be featured. Piercefield and Van Blair sang a couple of numbers. Ware and Piercefield helped in arranging some tunes. Van Blair was provided ample space to showcase his fantastic Clifford Brown-like flugelhorn work. His playing on "God Bless the Child" was beautiful.
Audiences and critics alike loved the band. Critic Chris Van Ness could not get enough, "In thirty seconds Chase took in an audience and brought them to their feet standing and cheering. It is impossible not to be affected by the musical power that nine men called Chase put out. Bill Chase began the evening soloing somewhere around double-high C, and it was impossible not to think back to the showmanship of Maynard Ferguson. And later when all four trumpets started taking one bar solos off each other and building with each one, the other three brass players proved to be almost an even match for Chase's skill and artistry. Chase is quite possibly the most perfect blending of musical elements and musicians to ever hit the rock pop music scene."
Some concerts would begin with total darkness over the stage. Bill would start his solo introduction to "Open Up Wide" as the spotlight focused in on him. When the rest of the trumpets joined in, the lights spread to engulf the whole section. The whole show was well produced and had audiences raving about the band. "In less than thirty seconds Chase took in an audience which had already been dulled into a state of soporific boredom by two hours of mediocre (or worse) music and had many of them standing on their feet cheering. It is impossible not to be affected by the musical power that nine men called Chase put out."
Later Woody Herman described the band as, "A group that has four trumpets all milked up to an acid, heavy rhythm sound with an organ. It's a gas. You walk right in and get pinned right up against the wall with the sound."
Alan did all of the scoring for the charts. Bill wrote out things very slowly. One time Bill called Alan over to his pad to score some things and Bill had only written 8 bars. Alan said “you’ve been writing all day and there’s only 8 bars?” Bill said “Yeah, but it’s a great 8 bars!”
Alan said “Bill wanted to do a tribute to the Rolling Stones and have Jimmy Peterik join the band. Alan wanted to have Bill write a big band type of tribute piece for the group and Bill said “No Way!”
Alan “That WBBM TV show was weird because Bill and Ted stood on this little platform and Jerry and I stood on either end of the platform and we could NOT hear each other that well. It was typical TV BS but it came out alright considering we were still tired from that big LA trip.”
The Chicago Sun Times TV guide placed CHASE on the cover the week of the broadcast. The preview also featured a short article on the band. In the article, Bill was interviewed about the band, “We didn’t want to sound like any other group, and that saxophone and trombone sound would have been unmistakable. I use trumpets on top, the middle is taken care of by guitar and organ and the bass is the bottom. So I’m not losing the fullness of the sound because of the missing trombone or something like that. And I’ve been able to get many colors just using trumpets.”
The band was often booked at odd settings, one time they opened up for ZZ top at the warehouse in
Alan-"Bill never had anything negative to say about any other group, we all loved BS&T, Chicago, the Beatles, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, CCR, Ten Wheel Drive, Santana, 3 Dog Night, you name it. One time I took Bill to see this girl singer Melanie who sang (Brand New Key). Well we get in for free because I knew the bouncer at the door, we sit down and this chick starts singing and it was so awful we were turning green. All these little teeny-boppers were screaming for more and Bill leans my way and yells to me 'What are they yelling about?' It was pretty bad."
In January of 1972 on the way to Africa, the band stopped in
The bands busy tour schedule taken from the tour program was like this: January 3-5 Johannesburg City Hall 8pm, 6th Pietermaritzburg City Hall 8pm, 7th Durban City Hall 8pm, 8th Durban City Hall 6 and 9pm, 10th Durban City Hall 8pm, 11th Durban City Hall 6 and 9pm (Coloureds and Asiatics), 13th Cape Town University 8pm, 14th Athlone Stadium Cape Town (Coloureds), 15th Cape Town University 6 and 9pm, 17th Pretoria City Hall 8pm, 18th Johannesburg City Hall 8pm.
In April of 1972, when touring
A big thrill for Ted was at the 1972 Newport Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall, Ted got to trade solos with Bill on valve trombone on the tune Close Up Tight which was the encore for the night, Jerry Van Blair was also featured. Jon Faddis was backstage waiting to see Bill and the band after their set.
Ted-"Sure there were drugs, not as much as with other groups maybe. Jerry was a big stoner and Jerry was so beautiful man, he could play great straight or stoned, it didn't matter. I didn't like coke, it made me too jumpy. Bill was a fan of cocaine but it did NOT get in the way. Usually Bill was straight, in fact one time we all came to a rehearsal stoned and Bill was upset. He never yelled at us, but he was like "Come on guys, we HAVE to get this thing together. Go home...we'll do it tomorrow."
For the second album, "Ennea," the band traveled to
Alan-"The cover for the ENNEA record was done at the National Park Museum in
GG was supposed to be the first singer, he and Angel knew each other. Angel called GG to join the band for $250 a week. GG laughed and told Angel he was already making $2000 a week with his own group. His band was working in LA and broke up in December of 1971. When the Chase band was in San Francisco working on the Ennea album, Angel called GG again and asked him to come up to San Francisco to join the group, GG joined.
This recording session proved to be a very exciting album for trumpet players and music lovers alike. However the critics disliked it and sales did not reach the success of the first album. Containing an entire side dedicated to Greek Mythology, this album was quite a step for Bill's writing talents. "Cronus" had been an instrumental version since the early days of the band, Erin Adair added lyrics to the song and to the rest of the Ennea Suite. "Woman of the Dark," a tune that had been in the bands books since early in 1971 proved to be one of the jazzier songs the band recorded as far as free blowing goes. In the solo section Chase and Van Blair each play a chorus, then trading fours on out were Chase, Piercefield, Ware and Van Blair. The ending turned out exceptional, considering they had only outlined the idea beforehand. According to Chase's attorney Alex Devience, the album took about three weeks and either cost $130 thousand (which was a lot of money for an album) or was $130 thousand dollars over budget, he couldn't remember exactly which.
Ted “We personally felt the Ennea album was too non-commercial and too early in the bands history to go that far out there. The music was unbelievable but everything changed after the 1st album. We often felt, at times, it was all about Bill and Bill only. Even though the band WAS Bill's vision, it was more of a group effort. Everybody was a star and everybody had a role to fill. Jerry's parts were the weirdest, those 4th parts. If you looked at his music it made no sense, but put the other 3 voices on top of it...it was beautiful. Jerry had to play a lot of roots and 9th's in the chords, but Jerry was a better soloist than anyone, even Bill knew that.”
In concert, the band was always full of energy. The band members had fun on stage. Dennis made a habit of going to Phil at the keyboards to tune his bass before the song "River." He realized that Bill was listening to him and using it to find the pitch he was supposed come in on. One night Dennis asked for a tuning note a half step off on purpose. Bill played his entrance and then realized he had been tricked.
Drummer Gary Smith was only 20 or 21 years old when he joined the band. He was a good friend of Dennis Johnson who helped to get him on the band.
In mid 1972, the band went on hiatus for a time due to a rash of problems, culminating with Bill declaring bankruptcy. His dream did not die, he soon reformed with an exceptional line-up of talent. Jay Sollenberger, Jim Oatts (who incidentally saw Bill playing with Woody in 1963, when he was 14, convincing him to drive towards a future on the trumpet) and Joe Morissey formed the trumpet section for the longest period in 73-74, however there was a lot of changing personnel during this reformation process. Carl Haefili, Van Blair, Rick Gardner and Byron Lingenfelter floated in and out of the trumpet section. Lynn Nicholson was on the band only briefly and Bill's long time buddy Lin Biviano often subbed for the band, as did Alan Ware.
In 1972, Bill attended the National Trumpet Symposium in
Bill reformed the band in September of 1972 to record a new Demo featuring the tunes: "Dead, Love, Frustration, Close Up Tight and Twinkles". The band was Bill, Ted, Alan, Jerry, Gary Smith, Dennis Johnson, Augie Bucci on organ and Clay Cropper on guitar.
October of 1972 saw a newly reformed band and Bill looking for a different sound. From October through March of 1973 the band was Bill, Rick Gardner, Alan and Jerry on trumpet, Davy Ferguson on guitar, Jerry Manfredi on bass, Joe Correro on drums, and Wally Yohn on keyboards. Skip Weiser was on trombone briefly. At the beginning of the tour the band carried a vibraphonist and a trombonist who doubled on flute. This did not last long as Bill returned to his trademark sound. Bill had also learned that by adding a few more tunes on flugelhorn, he could add some new color to the music. Bill's playing was stronger then ever.
Jerry Manfredie- "I had known and was friends with Gary Smith & Dennis Johnson in
Joe Correro actually joined us in
Prior to joining Chase, I was never really a big fan of that kind of thing...the jazz-rock-pop stuff. However, upon getting with Chase I fell in love with Bill's concepts of the 4 trumpets + rhythm thing. The cool thing was we were like a band inside of a band. Davy, Wally, Joe & Myself all had our own ideas about how the band should sound, etc. and Bill had his ideas and we sort of met in the middle and it worked great.
We actually recorded an entire LP prior to going to
When Davy & I left the band, we wanted Wally Yohn to come along but he and Bill were drinking buddies and Wally decided to remain and ended up being on the small plane that went down. When I was there Bill still had the big plane...the DC3...the money was getting scarce and Bill had to sell the plane to the pilots. The guys in the band always got paid, however I remember one gig at a high school in Florida where the I.R.S. was waiting for us outside to garnish Bill's wages...that was weird...Bill did not pay back taxes for a couple years."
Rick Gardner “I brought Wally Yohn (pronounced Yawn), Jerry Manfredi and David Ferguson to the band per Bill’s request.. Alan Ware was from my home town of
The band again toured
Angel South formed "Cottonwood South," and also had a record deal with Epic, which resulted in one album. One tune on his album had originally been written for Chase and another had been written by Dennis and Ted for their band.
After their return from
Drummer Joe Correro was with singer Helen Reddy when CHASE opened up for Helen, when Joe heard CHASE, he was totally knocked out! After his show, Joe went backstage to Bill and told hem how great he thought the group was and that he liked the drummer. Bill told Joe that it was not the regular drummer and they were looking for someone. Joe said "How about me?", Bill auditioned him right then and there and Joe went to LA and told Helen Reddy's manager he was leaving the next day for Chicago to play with Chase. The manager chased Joe around his car trying to clobber him screaming at Joe "Are you nuts?". Joe said the CHASE band was one of the best experiences of his life, it was great because the music was so great and the energy level so high.
Joe said “One time while flying the DC3, I noticed oil leaking out of the engine, I asked the pilot ‘should it be doing that?’ he responded ‘no problem, it’s fine’. When they landed, sure enough the engine had to be replaced. We spent the entire month of January 1973 in
Always willing to help students, Bill worked as a clinician at the Elon College Jazz Workshop in
Lynn Nicholson mentioned that Bill never really had a kick ass night playing wise during his short stint on the band, there just was not enough work to keep everybody’s chops up at that time.
Bill did have a hand in getting me on Maynard's Band, but I was only on the Chase Band for a couple of months and in that time there were hardly any gigs. Chase's chops were not that strong when I was on the band because there were no gigs, Bill never practiced. If Bill wasn't out playing gigs, he wasn't playing. Period. Maynard was the same way. Bill did have a few moments in each show, though, that reminded everyone who he was and what he was capable of. It's just the gigs always seemed dark and desperate. The music was great, but the vibe was never harmonious, just dark and desperate. I'm not sure where the darkness came from, I always felt Jay Sollenberger did not like me and several weeks after being on the band I was fired.
However, to this day, Chase and Maynard are my favorite players...when they were on. Bill is the perfect trumpet player, kind of mix between Maynard and Bud Brisbois. Great lead high chops, good jazz chops...great endurance when he was on. He had a great feel for his music. He fit perfectly into the rock world, too, but just couldn't seem to stay popular. Longevity is much easier to maintain in the jazz world.
When I was on Maynard's band Johnny Emma came by to say hi. He told I was lucky to have left the band when I did. Very prophetic, Johnny was on the plane...I guess I was just there at an odd time.”
Dartanyon added that when the band broke up in December of 1973 it was because the money was pretty much gone to keep it going. Dart went to
Jay Sollenberger mentioned that “
During this break Bill rented a condo in
Jay Sollenberger-"I was playing with the
Our first gig was in
I remember in 1974 we played a gig in
We would start every show in the dark. We had to find our way to the stage in the dark. There would be a spotlight on Bill as he started on a double high C. He’d do the cadenza for awhile, using electronics, playing high notes, bluesy licks the works. When he was ready, he’d play a certain lick four times, and we knew it was our cue to start the tune Open Up Wide.
I picked up his way of falling off a note using all three valves and continuing down a long way. Also, he’d play a high A with all three valves down. I don’t know anybody else who does that. He taught me how to back off and shape phrases so you don’t have to play loud all the time and how to really play short notes short. I was always impressed with his concept of time. Sometimes he’d be so on top of the beat he’d be almost pushing us. He was definitely unique. Nobody played like him. He was an original.
One thing I do remember is that he’d insist we play with our feet apart. I was the biggest offender. He’d stick his foot in and pull my feet apart. He believed you could afford the air better with the proper posture. He probably learned that from Maynard. He also had this yoga thing where he could release air just when it was about to give out. He’d contract the stomach muscles to force the air from the diaphragm. It would look like he was breathing but he wasn’t. I used that quite bit when I was with Stan Kenton. I’m not sure if I learned correctly but it seemed to help.
He had a way of writing for the trumpet section that was unusual. He’d write the first eight bar phrase for the first player playing lead, then the second player would pick it up for eight bars and so on down the line. It kept the music interesting for the section.”
Jim Oatts “A couple of the band members from
Every night we got there to play it was like “go for it”. Everybody was good friends. There was no bickering that I’ve seen on so many other road bands. Bill treated you with respect, so you really wanted to play and make it happen. He was the kind of guy that if you asked him for $500, he’d give it to you if he had it, no hassles. I’d never experienced that kind of respect before on a band.
I remember my first rehearsal very well. He said, here are the parts, memorize them in a week. He was a great believer in letting things happen naturally. The band was his idea, and he worked on locking it in.
I’d hear him warm up before a gig, and he’d really warm the horn up. You know, he’d take it up to the top. Basically his warm up was short and sweet to get it working, not burn it all up before the gig. For two hours that was a demanding book, we’d play an awful lot, especially him. He not only played with the section but did a majority of the solo work as well. Sometimes I thought the band got way, way too loud, but that was the whole rock and roll syndrome. Actually, I suffered a little hearing loss because of it. When Bill hit double high C’s through those giant monitors, you thought your fillings would come out.
We played in
Dartanyon Brown “Another nice thing about my residence was that it was across the parking lot from a popular night club/roadhouse called the 505 Club. Owned and managed by Dick Kampus, a large and hearty man with a real lust for throwing a party, The "5" was the classic edge-of-town out in the county-type place which even the local police didn't mess with too much because it was that rough.
Over the years, we saw lots of different groups there. Funky horn groups like the Flippers, singer Marvin Spencer and lots of groups from
I picked it up. " Hello" , I said.
"Hey Dart" said the excited voice on the other end, "Get your ass over here now and see this...!" I recognized the voice as Dick's from across the driveway at the 505.
"What are you talking about, man?" I queried.
"Just get over here NOW, you won't believe it."
He was right.
As I loped across the expanse of white gravel, I heard through the walls of the club the rhythmic thud of bass guitar and drums but as I got closer to the door, the syncopation was getting "too good" if you know what I mean (the players do). By the time I entered the cavernous club it only took another two or three minutes to realize that something special was happening on the stage--and this was just rehearsal.
The group rehearsing for the evening's show was Wayne Cochran and his band, the CC Riders. For those of you unfamiliar with the tradition, Wayne Cochran was a soul singer in the tradition of James Brown, but just like Pat Boone, Elvis Presley and the Osmonds, Cochran was a white version of a black innovator.
The cool thing about Wayne Cochran is that he, like Brown, is the real deal. He was a loud, signifyin'' funkified white boy who could drive an audience as well as any R&B veteran I ever saw. But I digress.
Cochran's energy came as much from his band as his own nasty soul and in this case, the band was being stoked by a young, tall skinny kid named Jaco. Yep, the original bass legend was playing in my home town and just like a private party in my backyard!
Jaco Pastorius was the heart of they rhythm section which also included guitarist Charlie Brent (ironically, Brent was/is a dynamite arranger who would contribute charts to Chase's Ennea album.
Well, I watched my life flash before my eyes as I listened to Jaco creating a totally loose, but on-the-mark groove. They were actually playing "3 Views of a secret", (years before Jaco would record it on his own solo album.) His sensibilities for groove and support and melodic bass playing was strangely scary but at the same time an affirmation of where I knew the instrument could go.
After the rehearsal, I made a beeline for the stage and introduced myself to Jaco. Being an old newspaper reporter, I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to "interview" this guy to find out where he got his style from.
For the next 3 days, I was host to the Future Of Jazz Electric Bass. Jaco stayed with us and we jammed, talked, went to the Cochran gig then jammed some more talked a lot more about life, our families, Miles, and why each of us had a lot to offer. I have never met a more honest, caring, sensitive and talented individual as Jaco Pastorius in 1972. The reason I am including this anecdote in my story about how I met Bill Chase is that the two events were really a one-two punch to my career as a musician and a human being.
Jaco was a natural musician who, told me about his father who played drums and toured and his Mom, Greta who he was totally devoted to. He already had a young family and it was his single-minded goal to support his family by convincing everyone that he was the world's greatest bass player! He was totally convinced of that fact (I certainly wasn't going to disagree from what I heard..) and he told me of his plans to leave Cochran soon and travel to
Anyway, I spent three fairly private days with Jaco and we had what could only be termed as a meeting of kindred spirits. The next time I saw Jaco was in 1976 at the Newport Jazz Festival. By then he was with Weather Report and a true star. The funny thing was, when I saw him again, he actually spotted me at the back of a large auditorium (Alice Tully Hall, I think) as I was walking in for to see Weather Report's sound check.
From the stage, he saw me (barely visible I was) and yelled at the top of his lungs "Hey DARTANYAN, HOW YA DOIN'." It was a testament to his eyesight, his memory and his heart to actually remember our time together after HIS life had changed so radically.
One sad note: The Jaco I knew in 1972 was on a natural high of life. He played in some of the nastiest sin pits in the country but at that point in his life he never smoked, drank or talked about anything but the most inspiring subjects. His goal was to play with Miles Davis. Period. He knew he was good enough, musical enough and hip enough and that was that!
I never saw Jaco again after
He told me in
The musicians he hung out with in the Apple (both known and unknown) were into drugs and other bad habits and I believe that he was ultimately demoralized (and hence vulnerable) when he (as I heard but never confirmed) was rejected by Miles Davis. So much of Jaco's life was dedicated to reaching Miles that when he did meet--and was rejected--it was more than he could understand.
I personally can't listen to anything Jaco recorded after his stellar work with Joni Mitchell and Heavy Weather. I hear too much pain and not enough precision in his playing compared to the cat I knew who helped Wayne Cochran and the CC riders rock the house in '72. Bless you Jaco.
Our band, Wheatstraw was an idealistic, talented, naive (at least I was) band, attempting at doing music business with no business plan. What we did have was raw love for the music and we made it work for two years as I said earlier. When reality finally caught up to us, I went back to
A band of writers, we were a precursor to the Bruce Hornsby-type jazzy roots music which you hear these days. Funny, in those great days we morphed from one style to another with relish. It was a joy to listen to John Coltrane, Paul Butterfield, John Cage, Tree, Donny Hathaway and the Sons of Champlin and to incorporate such disparate forms in our own compositions.
It was a great band with talent to burn and unfortunately for our band (but fortunately for my future) Tommy Gordon was called by Jerry Manfredi, Chase's bass player at the time to join the band (The Ennea album had been released months earlier). Tommy was a great drummer who jumped at the chance to play with Bill, he was off to
Of course, it meant the end of our great little
Back to Bill....
It was now spring '73 and, as I mentioned earlier, Tommy Gordon had already joined Chase through his connection with a group called the Fabulous Flippers. Former members of that group were touring with Bill doing the Ennea tour and so TG's connection from years earlier paid off. It was about to do the same for me.
I was in my kitchen making a sandwich when the phone rang.
I picked it up with my mouth half-full and and almost choked when the voice on the other end said. "Hello this is Bill Chase."
Needless to say, I was nervous and incredulous as he laid out his offer.
"I've been looking for a new bass player and Tommy says that you're a great bass player and a singer too." I didn't quite know what to say except to try to agree without sounding too egotistical (unlike my friend Jaco who would have had no problem promoting himself)
We have a tour due to start in
Talk about bittersweet....
I had just signed a lease with my friends in
Well, like all professionals, my partners, John Rowat, Michael Schomers, Frank Tribble and Bill Jacobs were more supportive of me moving up than they were at losing a renter so I was off to
Time has scraped away the memories of actually leaving
The time went fast. We worked like madmen, rehearsing for hours and then heading out into the Rush street night to dig who was playing at the Rush Up rock club or the Jazz Showcase where we saw George Benson, Eddie Jefferson, Bill Evans, and many other great artists.
Bill put the band up at the Maryland Hotel directly across the street from the Jazz Showcase and Rush Up. So here I was at 23 coming from sleepy little Des Moines and in a few scant days, I was playing with one of the best bands in the world and living in the heart of Chicago's music center. I WAS IN HEAVEN. You understand, don't you.
The wonderful thing about my situation was that Bill really was an understanding guy who wasn't really into showing you what a powerful boss he was. He treated me as an equal from the beginning and with old pros like Jerry Van Blair in the band, I learned pretty quickly about how to pace myself on the road.
I quickly realized that if I was going to keep up with 'Craze' (Bill's intra-band nickname) I had better learn how to stay up late, get up early, practice on the bus, or plane, or later station wagon) and learn to handle any bad habits you might have without letting it affect your performance.
I don't have to tell you about the energy involved in a Chase concert. All those stories you might have heard about sex and drugs and (jazz)rock 'n roll are generally true, but not if you let it interfere with your performance. Consequently, you learned how to 'party hardly" (spelling correct..) “
April through June of 1973 saw the band personnel change again, Bill was joined by Jay Sollenberger, Carl Hafelli and Jerry on trumpet, Tony DeCaprio on guitar, Dartanyan Brown on bass, Wally on keyboard, Tommy Gordon on drums, Russ Freeland on trombone and Fred Raulston on vibes and percussion. Lin Biviano also filled in on trumpet periodically.
Dartanyon flew with Bill and Tony to the Kansas City Jazz Festival in 1973, Dart got so scared in that tiny plane that he was sick, he NEVER flew again with the group, he liked to drive.
August through October of 1973 saw Lynn Nicholson replace Carl Hafelli in the trumpet section briefly and the exit of the trombone and vibes from Bill's vision. Joe Morrissey came in to replace
Bass player Dartanyan Brown joined the band in April of 1973, the following is from his writings on his time with the band: “The year was 1973 and winter was begrudgingly releasing its grip on
At 22, I was ambitious and now as I look back on it, I was extremely hungry to play with the very best players I could find. Thanks to playing with local
The first time I heard Bill Chase was in
At this point, I’ll leave you to savor the first time YOU heard Chase. That’s the reason any of us are here (hear) interacting in the first place. Hearing the album definitely changed my impressions of what music could be; but I had no idea of how William Chase’s music would soon literally reshape my life in the years ahead. Wheatstraw was in was an idealistic, talented, naive (at least I was) band, attempting at doing music business with no business plan. What we did have was raw love for the music and we made it work for two years as I said earlier. When reality finally caught up to us, I went back to
On Bill's birthday in 1973 the band was performing in
Rick Rockey remembered this “In 1973, my girlfriend and I attended a Chase concert at the Bald Eagle Nittany High School in
It was a great concert but few people attended probably because it was winter (a cold PA winter) and few people in this area realized who he was. Bill and the band looked tired but the energy was high. The band was well received. I distinctly remember that he played “Ode to a New England Jellyfish.” It was a beautiful tune….I never forgot it!!!
Near the end of the concert, Bill had been playing his flugelhorn (while his trumpet was setting on the trumpet stand). Somehow he accidently knocked his trumpet off the stage and what would have served as the orchestra pit. He damaged his trumpet quite badly and was noticeably upset. He then proceeded to do something I would have guess as almost impossiblehe played lead on “Get It On” with only one valve working…the first valve. You couldn’t tell any difference between this rendition and the one on the album.
After the show I’d hoped to have my picture taken with him. Upon leaving the auditorium and entering the hallway where Bill and a number of other people were standing, I soon changed my mind, Bill was so angry over what had happened, he grabbed his trumpet by the bell, tearing it from the bracing, and bent the bell backwards. Needless to say, I wasn’t about to ask him for a photo now so my girlfriend and I silently moved away…”
The band went back to
Jay-"There was supposed to have been a Weird Song #2 at one point, we rehearsed a tune in 10/8, but it never got past the sketch stage"
Bill let the band go on vacation while he stayed in town to listen to the playbacks. While listening to "Close Up Tight," Bill had an idea for some flugelhorn parts. Jay was at the studio with his horn, so Bill asked him to help add the parts. Bill wrote out the parts in 15 minutes and within the hour they were dubbed onto the tune. If you listen closely you can hear them.
John Baeke added “Chase was in his prime when I was in my brass blowing prime as a jazzer in high school. He came to our high school in
After the clinic, I went home, and put on my best leisure suit and silk shirt. Strategically unbuttoned the top four buttons, just like Chase. Picked up my date…it was my first date ever actually….and off I went to meet my other band geek friends for concert and dinner. We all sat together. No one understood why I made a stink about wanting to sit on the aisle. You see I had snuck in my tape recorder, and I wanted to have clear airspace between his trumpet and my recorder. Recorded the entire concert on the cheapest quality tape Radio Shack ever made. Chase had just released his third album. The place was sold out.
The concert started with Bochawa. Great light/smoke effects…at least considering this was the 70’s and in a high school theatre. Chase was standing on a riser higher than the other trumpeters in total darkness. Slowly a lone spot dimly illuminated his trumpet. Then gradually the rest of the trumpeters joined in. The entire stage was never fully illuminated the entire evening. Merely, spots of different colors bouncing around, and reflecting off all of the brass. You know the song. The intensity was rabid. I am sure that the live version that night must have been 3 times longer then the recorded version. Chase had all of us intoxicated with his power. Forget putting my arm around my new date, there would be many movies in the years ahead for that, tonight the date was merely along for some after concert fun. For now, Bill Chase had 110% of my attention. He played all of my favorites. Gladrags, Get It On. And one I had never heard on any album, “Ode To A New England Jellyfish”, I still have that old homemade tape. Though I haven’t listened to it in over 25 years, I still reassure it like some prized possession. It wasn’t long after, that Bill and members of the band were killed in that plane accident. It seemed like so many rockers of that era had met similar fate. Almost as if being killed in a plane accident was the ultimate mark that you had arrived with true musical greatness. I was so upset. I had planned on Chase pouring out years more Bochawa’s and the like. I vicariously hoped that someday I might too blow a horn with half the verve as Bill Chase. Now all that changed. Maynard, the Thundering Herd, Kenton, Rich, all were still touring with their bands, but somehow, though more musical, they lacked the power that provided such incredible joy for this pubescent kid. My idols were not football players, politicians or chess champions. But guys like Chase who could show that it’s still cool to be a band geek.”
In 1973, Dartanyan was given a deal by Gibson, to promote it's new model, the Gibson "Ripper" bass guitar. He was to record a tune on a demo to showcase the new improved features of the bass. He invited Bill to come and join him on the session. He wrote the rhythm parts and Bill added the trumpet parts. Bill overdubbed all of the parts himself, adding some tight punches and licks to a great little tune. Bill enjoyed Dart's writing style so much that he asked him to do some more writing for the band.
Trumpet player Mark Biegel, “I'll never forget when I was fortunate enough to see Bill Chase's group live in concert at a local high school in
back in the '70s (year???). I had known he was active in the big-band scene and was a well respected Trumpet player but was totally overwhelmed when I heard him live. I think there were 3 trumpets leading the group and most of the players were the same as listed on his new album. They used an old Shure sound system with the skinny upright speakers that Munster, Indiana
produced rock-band sound decibals. Being a young trumpet player myself, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. At that time, most of us were rock and roll fans, and we played in conventional high school big bands/stage bands etc....Chase had unbelievable range on the horn and with the other trumpet players on the stage playing jazz licks along with the rock rhythms -- were were blown away by the intensity of the
band. Sadfully, the auditorium wasn't even filled. But those who were there will always remember that night. What I remember most was the bands version of 2001 Space Od./Also Sprach.... (spelling). Imagine Chase and the other trumpets exchanging riffs leading to the climax of that song. This band accomplished what Chicago or Blood Sweat and Tears couldn't-----True jazz playing in combination
with the intensive rock rhythms. It was a powerful combination which really has not yet been equaled. It was only a couple of weeks after this gig that Chase and several band members died on a terrible plane crash. I believe if Chase would have lived, the band would have progressed to produce even more powerful jazz-based pop-rock music. The power of that concert still lingers in my mind---its probably part of the reason I continue to try to grow with my jazz trumpet playing. I'll never forget Bill Chase and that night.”
January of 1974 saw Walter Clark replace Tommy Gordon on Drums. When the album was released, the band held several release parties.
Dartanyon -"I had my original electric bass stolen at Universal Studios in
Some of the highlights for me was when we played the Whiskey A Go-Go in May 1974, that was big time. Walt Clark & I were close too, so we were like 'Let's show these LA cats how it's REALLY done. That was fun because LA was a big scene, Bill was on and Jay had good chops there as well. Walt & I were HUGE fans of the Head Hunters (Herbie Hancock)".
This band proved to be one of the most exciting to listen to. Many of the numbers had expanded solo sections, and the only vocalist in the band was bass player Dartanyon Brown. He liked singing, but didn't have the capabilities of Terry or GG. Solo spots were added to "Get It On," showcasing all of the trumpets, "2001" and other tunes were now trumpet free for all's.
Jay Burrid recalls catching the band at the Whiskey A Go-Go in 1974 and Walter talked to him about subbing for a bit so he could take a break. Jay was waiting to hear from Walter when he learned of the accident. Jay was playing at Knotts Berry Farm with a group that included Don Menza on sax and Dalton Smith on trumpet.
Trumpeter Nelson Hatt became friends with Bill early in the 1970's and later Bill got Nelson into Woody's trumpet section. Nelson an avid photographer, like Bill, had taken several pictures of the band in concert that were to be used on the fourth album cover. Bill wanted to give him something for the pictures, but he wouldn't take any money, so Bill slipped him a couple of his mouthpieces. In 1977 Nelson played on one tune on the tribute album as did Allen Vizzutti. The cut they played on was "Superman," featuring Walt Johnson. A track that later had a disco re-mix made.
Trumpet player Jeff Schroeder saw the band in concert “it was May or June of 1974. Our high school marching band was competing in the big Iowa State University Greek week sponsored event. The weekends closing events were the Chase / Spinners concert. The most memorable event for me was these two items. First, since our group was 100+ people we were sitting even with the front of the stage in the lower bowl but way off to the left of the stage. Pretty close to the stage and the band. They came on stage in the dark, took their position and began with Open Up Wide. What a great experience to be so close.
Second, a group of us wanted to get a look at the stage directly from the front. We decided the only way this was going to happen was to take the elevator to the second floor and get our "straight on" view from the back of the second level. We got in the elevator - the door shut - and to our amazement it was still so loud it was like the concert was being pumped in to the elevator. Pretty hard to imagine but with four trumpet players performing in front of the speakers they were so loud you could hear them perfectly inside the closed elevator.
I'm sure you are aware they always played in front of the speakers - Bill loved the reverb sound. Honestly, in 30 years of concert going the only concert I was ever at that was louder was a KISS concert in 1978.”
In June of 1974 Alan Ware replaced Joe Morrissey, original band member Byron Lingenfelter returned to the band in July of 1974 replacing Alan. He was the only band member to be on the band at both the beginning and the end but never record anything on the three albums.
In August of 1974, the band played a week long stint at the Village Inn in
In 1974 work had been started on a fourth album between gigs on the road. The band would fly to
On the way to the fair in
The rest of the band was waiting for Bill at the fair. When they received the news of the crash, the equipment truck left and headed for
Mike Dowling, Bill’s agent at the time with Beacon Artist’s said “I have known him for four years and had worked with him since the conception of the group. He was one hell of a trumpet player, and I don’t know anyone who could replace him as a musician. He was one of the finest men I’ve ever known, and this comes to me personally as a great loss. A lot of people knew Bill and many, many more miss him. It’s really difficult to say anything meaningful at this time. Whatever does go out, I think it is important to reflect upon Bill Chase both as a man and a musician.”
Bill's sudden death left a void in the music industry. He had many friends and admirers throughout the world. In his honor Reonald Schilke and Charles Colin set up a memorial scholarship fund for the NY Brass conference in 1975. Angel South's album was dedicated to Bill. Woody's "Road Father" album was dedicated to Bill. The title for that album was the nickname that Bill's parents had given Woody during the 60's. Former Chase trumpeter Jay Sollenberger played on the album.
Trumpeter Roy Roman, became a friend of Bill's in the 1960's as a young musician. Later in 1973 Roman had written some charts for the band. Roman went into the studio to record the charts so Bill could hear them and then make any changes he thought necessary. Bill never got a chance to listen.
Maynard Ferguson, a man that Bill was often compared to, had kind words for Bill also. "Bill Chase was one of my closest friends in my own band somewhere in the 1960's (1958 to be exact). We used to go out to dinner together, hang together and that sort of thing. He was a great lead player in my band. He didn't play very many solos in my band. When you have a great lead player you tend to keep him just on lead and I guess I unconsciously did that to Bill. On the other hand, maybe he hadn't developed his solo chops then... because when I heard him later on with Woody Herman he just sounded absolutely marvelous."
Bill got Bobby Shew onto Woody’s Band when a spot opened up. Bobby also played with Bill in
Later in Vegas, Bobby was around Bill again. When Bill was playing the Viva Les Girls lounge act, Bobby would come to see him play. Bill had talked the musical director into adding a jungle number to feature his playing. Bill wanted to show off. "Bill would come out wearing a loincloth, orange and green feathers around his ankles and wrists, a lions-tooth necklace and an ugly hat filled with green and orange feathers. Bill was a big guy, so he was showing off his body to the ladies and his high notes to everyone. I would kill to get a video of that, probably one of the funniest things I've ever seen."
One trait about Bill that many of his close friends knew was his penchant for good food. Said to be a gourmet chef himself, Bill would continually search out good restaurants for pre-concert meals. Usually a large steak would do. Alan Ware remembers being in a small town in the Mid-West with the band and everyone was hungry. Bill took the lead and led everyone well out of town and down a dirt road, to a cafe. Bill had eaten there many years earlier with Woody’s Band. He had a good memory for hot spots to find good food.
Over the years the band had performed with a variety of other top groups. Herbie Hancock's "Headhunters," Sly and the Family Stone, B.B. King, The Allman Bros., the Temptations, Chicago, Maynard Ferguson and other bands.
Music magazines all around the world presented tributes and stories on Bill. Allen Scott had previously devoted a whole chapter to Bill in his book, "Jazz Educated Man" in 1973. Scott's article in Sabin's Radio Free Jazz, proved to be one of the best tribute articles written about Bill.
Three years later, in 1977 a tribute album "Watch Closely Now" was recorded, using mainly alumni of the first band and featuring Walt Johnson on the high note trumpet stuff. This album is hard to come by, because
As far as his approach to playing, Bill was an advocate of playing with the lips rolled in. He continually used long tones to build up the lip muscles. Originally he used a lot of pressure, so he began to hold the horn by his finger tips while he practiced to try and break his old habits. While with Maynard, Bill had bent horns in half because he used so much pressure. Bill said that the arched tongue is very important and that he used the ah-oo-ee tongue levels according to register. This increases air velocity and causes the lips to vibrate faster. He used his tongue for lip trills, and moved the horn on a shake, as well as for vibrato. He believed that air pressure was developed in the abdomen.
His equipment changed over the years. In the 50’s and early 60’s he played Bach and Martin Committee horns, in 1964 he briefly played a Getzen 900S, in 1965 he switched to a Schilke trumpet model B6, after 1968 he played a B6L with a 6 a/2 ounce beryllium-bronze bell. He had Jet Tone make him mouthpieces for a while, four separate models, and again landed on a Schilke of his own model. It is still sold as the Schilke 6A4A. It has a wide diameter but has a very shallow cup.
Bill's trumpet style and sound have influenced many of the great players of today as well as many up-and-coming musicians were greatly influenced by Bill's lead playing with the Herman Herd, as well as by his playing with his own band
Bill Chase was truly a legend in his own time. His popularity as a musician is still very strong in the trumpet world. His albums are continually the most sought after at record conventions. The memory of Bill Chase will continue to live as long as his music is still appreciated.
Interviews for this article were done by Kevin Seeley, JJ Martin, Pat Dorian (Roger Middleton, Paul Fontaine, Herb Pomeroy, Maynard Ferguson), John LaBarbara, Dartanyan Brown’s website, and collected from other printed articles about Bill.