7 Songs, 33 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
69 Ratings

69 Ratings

ex-trumpeter ,

Chase plays a high school

This album brings back wonderful memories about Chase the band the Bill Chase the bandleader, stories that I don't think are known to the band's fans.

In the early 1970s I was the third trumpet in Walpole HIgh School's stage band. Our bring-the-house-down, flag-waver, pull-out-all-the stops showstopper was Chase's Get It On. While no experienced musician would have confused us with the real band, we did a credible job on the piece, mostly thanks to Bill Case, our lead trumpet, and David Gardner, our equally skilled second trumpet. (Yes, our lead trumpet was named Bill Case.) Audiences, especially young audiences, always loved it. Needless to say, we passionately admired Bill Chase and his band.

In 1973, chance put Bill and his band in concert in the auditorium of Walpole High School. Apparently the band was scheduled to play somewhere in Boston, but the gig was canceled. I no longer recall the details. The problem was, Bill was short of money to pay his band and crew, so he tried desperately to find another gig. After having no luck with the usual venues in and around Boston, all of which were probably already booked, Chase started calling high school music directors to offer a concert on very short notice. He finally called Tom Mills, the director at Walpole HIgh School. Mills was a master's graduate of The Julliard School and an enormously talented music educator. Even better on this day: he had the soul of a riverboat gambler. The notice was terribly short. I believe Chase called on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon to propose a concert for Saturday night. Mills agreed immediately.

Mills called me at home with the news. My dad had a print shop in the basement of our house. I ran straight to the shop and set the type for tickets and a handbill. My dad and I ran them off that night. Other students pitched into getting the auditorium and our dilapidated stage and stage lights ready for the concert. The next day David Gardner and I skipped school and took the MBTA into Boston. We visited all of the music schools and music departments to sell tickets and post handbills. We walked miles, talked to hundreds of music students and teachers, posted all of our handbills and returned home after dark very discouraged. I don't recall how many tickets we sold, but it wasn't many. We began to fear an embarrassing failure, firing for Mills and probably disaster and disgrace for the whole music program, always a poor stepchild in Walpole anyway.

Our fears evaporated on the night of the concert. Cars streamed into the school parking lot and people poured into the auditorium. I'm not sure that we filled the approximately 600 seats, but we came close. The music students and music teachers at the big schools in Boston who had refused to buy tickets in advance must not have had a better offer that night because many of them showed up to hear Chase. The band did not disappoint. The concert was alive, filled with energy and a bond between a musically knowledgeable audience and an appreciative band. I remember the audience standing in their seats to clap and cheer. They dragged the band back for three curtain calls, including performances of tunes from their upcoming album and a couple that never made it onto vinyl before the untimely death of Chase and several members of the band in an airplane crash in August 1974. The audience was bellowing for a fourth curtain call when Bill came out in front of the curtain to plead exhaustion, which I'm sure was no less than the truth, so everyone reluctantly but happily headed for the exits.

We paid Bill and his band in cash from the box office. The money was in two brown paper grocery sacks, guarded by Mills and a dense squad of his band kids. Can you imagine such a thing in a high school in 2011?

There's more to tell about Chase's visit to Walpole High School, including the clinic he ran for the stage band and the after-concert party at the band's motel that was attended by many Walpole band kids. That's a story that I probably shouldn't tell in front of the iTunes audience.

Every now and then, Bill Chase's music pops up in 2011. A certain radio talk show host based in Atlanta sometimes uses a few bars of Get It On as a sounder. I've also heard snippets of Chase's wailing horns in movies and TV shows. Every note brings me back almost 40 years to the Chase concert at Walpole High School, probably my fondest memory of high school. At the same time, I can't help some sadness. I firmly believe that, had he lived, Bill Chase would have had a strong influence on the course of rock and jazz. We'll never know, of course, but I think wistfully of all that might have been.

Chasefreak1970 ,

Chase is here!

It's about time i-tunes re-issued the initial Chase LP, sadly the original stereo version from Epic records was lost in a vault fire some years back (that also destroyed recordings from other great artists like Simon & Garfunkel). Unless you have a quad system from the early '70's you don't really get the full impact of this album. This recording was originally released in April 1971, when bands like Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago had reached their creative peaks and fans of brass-rock were looking for alternatives and found it in abundance with Chase. This album introduces the unique concept of four trumpets with a rock rhythm base and naturally Bill Chase's lead and solo trumpet are the core to the bands excitement.

markg4511 ,

Great!

Agree! This was a great and landmark album. I was in grade school when it came out and my dad, a music teacher, brought it home for me to listen to. I wore out the record playing it. I had never heard anything like it. The screaming trumpets and the energy was amazing. Being an aspiring young trumpet player, I could only dream of being able to play like them. Bill Chase and his band were an inspiration. I have been waiting for ITunes to add this for years. Now finally it is available. Thanks.

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