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Bill Chase-A Moment in Music History

Updated on September 7, 2011

Bill Chase

Bill Chase was a jazz trumpeter with few peers. Born in Boston, in 1934, and educated at Berklee school of music, he did not begin his career at the bottom. He started with none other the the immortals known as Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson. Adding a stint with Woody Herman to his resume during the 1960s, he was on the fast track to success.Like Maynard Ferguson, extreme upper register solos were a mainstay with Chase. It did not take long for him to develop a following.

In 1970, Bill Chase formed the band Chase. The idea was to fuse jazz with rock and roll. In 1971 they succeeded with their debut album, also called Chase. The most famous song from this album, "Get It On", showcased the four man trumpet section and the vocal talents of lead singer Terry Richards. This song remained on the charts for thirteen weeks, beginning in May, 1971, and earned the band a Grammy nomination for best new artist.

Bill Chase- Get It On

Ennea 1972

Buy a Bill Chase CD On Amazon

Tragic Ending

In 1972, they released their second album, Ennea. Their trademark brassy sound was better blended with the rest of the band on this outing, and they introduced a new lead vocalist, named G.G. Shinn. This album was more heavily jazz influenced than their first. In fact side two was called Ennea suite, and was entirely comprised of jazz arrangements.

With the exception of one song, "So many people", Ennea did not receive much radio love, at all. In the end, they didn't even approach the 400,000 units that their first album sold.

In 1974 they releasd their third and final album. Called, by many, their most commercial album, Pure Music was more jazz than rock. This one seems to have fallen into relative obscurity. Few people with whom I discuss music, have heard of this album, or the band, for that matter.

Shortly after the release of Pure Music, Chase began work on their fourth album, but it would never be completed. On August 9th, 1974, while en route to a performance in Minnesota, their plane crashed. Killed in the crash, were Bill Chase, keyboardist Wally Yohn, guitarist John Emma, and drummer Walter Clark. In a single moment, the tightest horn section ever assembled was silenced. A loss that is mourned, to this day, by trumpet players and jazz enthusiasts everywhere.

Among the songs that I hold dear, are "Get it on", "Boys and girls together", and an unforgettable cover of Manfred Mann's "Handbags and Gladrags".

In a prophetic twist of irony, the name of the first track on their first album was "Open Up Wide", and the last track on their third album was "Close Up Tight". In 1977, after period of mourning, the surviving band members released an album called "Watch Closely Now", in tribute. Sadly, without the mastery of Bill Chase, "Close Up Thight" was to remain the final word on the jazz-rock fusion experiment that was Chase.

Chase- Close Up Tight LIVE


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      this guy is horible

    • profile image

      Susan of Indy 

      7 years ago

      My sister and I were discussing the band CHASE at the dinner table during a holiday visit as part of one of our favorite childhood memories. CHASE played in Independence, Kansas when we were elementary-age kids, and we have an autographed album cover somewhere. Band member Alan Ware had a local connection. We never, ever forgot the power and energy that exploded on that small stage. We can imitate the trumpet riffs from memory to this day. Dartanyan is looking good after all these years. Fans for life!

    • rmr profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Livonia, MI

      Carolina Muscle- Thanks for taking the time to comment. You're absolutely right. Dartanyan is an amazing bass player. Did you click his link? It's about 2 comments above you. Thanks again for coming by!

      Mrcooper- You've listed some of my all time favorites! Chase's horn section was among the tightest I've ever heard. I really miss that big sound!

    • mrcoopr2010 profile image


      8 years ago

      2 rmr, I actually never knew you was a fan of Bill Chase. Bill Chase is truly one of the ultimate trumpeters of our worlds and today stills remains one of the true unsung heroes on trumpet alongside Maynard Ferguson, Bud Brisbois, Ack Van Rooyen, Cat Anderson, damn what can I say?

      Excellent hub!

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Great post... I loved this band. Dartanyan Brown's work on that album was incredible!!!

    • rmr profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Livonia, MI

      Dartanyan, I am honored and humbled that you took the time to read this hub and comment! I was a young trumpet player when I first heard the band. I think the song was "Boys and Girls Together." I was hooked from that moment on. I'll never forget Bill or his music.

      I've actually looked around your site several times in the past. Thanks again for coming by, and for posting the link for others to enjoy.

    • profile image

      Dartanyan Brown 

      9 years ago

      My sincere thanks to you for remembering Bill Chase and his music. I was a member of the Pure Music band which recorded the last album before BC's tragic death. We were a band that had great times together and we may have been under-reported but we overachieved on the bandstand.

      To hear/read more about the last 17 months of an incredible group of guys.

      Thanks for posting.

      Dartanyan Brown, bassist Chase 1973-74

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Regarding the band Chase, I've been racking my brain....I swear I saw them at a high school or college gym in May of 1973. It was in or around Windsor Ontario Canada. Me and a friend hitchhiked there to see them. Anyone know if they ever played in Canada?

    • rmr profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Livonia, MI

      Glad you like it DJF. I just hope you practice your respectfully argumentative commenting skills on my iopd hub, as you are sure to disagree with my views.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • DJ Funktual profile image

      DJ Funktual 

      10 years ago from One Nation Under a Groove

      Wooo Hooo! I love this hub. I can't hear the vids, cause I'm at the library but I look forward to revisiting it later.

    • rmr profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Livonia, MI

      So good to hear from you again, Zsuzsy! I would never have guessed you were a jazz fan. Hope you find that LP. There aren't many of those left around.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      rmr! I actually remember them. I must hunt around I think there is still an LP or two of theirs lurking in my 'goody chest'. I haven't thought of that band in a dogs age.

      In the good old days my X and I used to go to Toronto twice a month to the Jazz Cellar on Yonge street. Some local boys did a pretty good rendition of "So many people".

      Thanks for some good memories regards Zsuzsy

    • rmr profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Livonia, MI

      White atlantic, I am indeed. Thank you for noticing.

      Chef Jeff, Thanks for commenting. Might there be a horn somewhere in your past? The only people I run into these days, who remember Chase, seem to be musicians. I think that's a shame, as they accomplished so much with just three albums.

    • Chef Jeff profile image

      Chef Jeff 

      10 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      I remember that tragic day.  I was still in basic training, and we had an hour every day to read.  It remember the songs as well.  The good die too young!

    • white atlantic profile image

      white atlantic 

      10 years ago from INDIA

      i thnk u r a music lover really nice:)


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