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Bill Chase - Armchair Empire

Bill Chase

Howdy everyone, Bill Chase here – longtime friend of Thomas and fellow musician. He has a very full plate maintaining the karaoke machine reviews and the digital piano reviews featured here on theboxtigermusic, so I’ll jump in every now and then and help him out with reviews of my own, or just informational posts.

With the intro out of the way, here’s a little about me:

While I started out with a violin when I was just a kid, I’ve really been a trumpet player my whole life – even went to school for it at the Berklee School Of Music in Boston. I’m a modest guy, but I like to think I’m a pretty good trumpeter! I’ve jammed out with a lot of really cool people over the years, including Maynard Ferguson, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Herb Pomeroy, and even Armando Ghitalla of the Boston Symphony. I’ve had the pleasure of being first chair for bands with a lot of these guys, and that’s how Thomas and I eventually met – we were both in the same band for a while.

If you want to go even further back, I guess I do come from a long line of musically-inclined ancestors. My dad was in the Gillette Marching Band, a great-uncle was first trombone with the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, and Enrico Carusso, and my grandpa could play the piano by ear. People say innate talent doesn’t exist, but there did seem to be a music bug running through my family.

My musical identity didn’t really take shape until I went to a Stan Kenton performance with a classmate. Those were the days when Maynard Ferguson was in the band, playing all that powerhouse horn – my ears opened up like a parachute. I couldn’t believe him! All that night and next day I was making noises to myself, trying to recapture Maynard’s sound.

By coincidence one night I was in the same club that Maynard happened to be in – I told him, if you ever need a trumpet player, call me up. To my amazement, not long afterward he did! I played with him for about a year or so all in all.

Next I linked up as lead trumpet for Woody Herman. 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 was an inspiration; he’s a true pro. He showed me that my primary duty was never to let the public down, and that’s a revelation I’ve always held dear.

I then went freelance for a while and bopped around Las Vegas, working with Johnny Carson and a few other big names on one-off projects.

Eventually, I finally got my own group together – called us Chase, and we made big waves with our first release “Get It On.” It became a go-to tune for halftime shows, and we started appearing frequently on variety TV shows. We did rock and we did jazz, and we did both very well. A lot of people started called us pioneers of a new music genre, dubbed Jazz-Rock Fusion.

I’m getting a little long-winded now, but suffice to say I’m a musician through and through. I am now retired, however, and really enjoy helping Thomas out with this awesome music site. It’s a great way for me to stay active in the industry without it being too much of a commitment.

Stay tuned for reviews and articles from Bill Chase!