Also Known As: William Chiaiese
Born: 1935 in Boston, MA
Died: August 9, 1974 in Jackson, MN
Bill Chase was born William Edward Chiaiese on October 20, 1934 to John and Emily Chiaiese in Squantum, Mass. Chase played drums in marching band until his junior year of high school when he began playing trumpet. After high school Bill studied at the New England Conservatory, only to complete his degree at the Berkley School of Music in Boston, where he studied with Herb Pomeroy and Armando Ghitalla. Chase soon found himself working with Maynard Ferguson, where he remained for about a year and moved on to the Stan Kenton Orchestra, settling finally into the lead trumpet chair in Woody Herman's Thundering Herd. Bill would work with this group for most of the early and middle 60s. After leaving Herman's band, Chase found himself in Las Vegas, working as a freelance musician and arranger, with artists such as Vic Damone, Johnny Carson, and others. It was also at this time that the Beatles came on the scene, and his interest turned toward rock. He was soon writing blistering arrangements combining the best of both worlds. As the 1970s began, Chase found himself thinking of creating his dream band. The group evolved over six months into the four trumpets, four rhythm instruments and one vocalist arrangement which earned the group a "Best New Artist" grammy nominationin 1971. When his group Chase blasted on the scene with "Get It On," Chase rocketed to national Bill Chaseattention with his horn section using to full advantage delicate contrapuntal figures, swinging riffs, ingeniously-scored colorations as well as powerful climaxes. All lying atop the potent rhythmic base of the group. In 1974, Chase chartered a plane to take him and three band members to a performance in Jackson, MN. The weather was bad with a low ceiling, and the airport in Jackson had little communications equipment. The plane went down, but was not found until the next day. There were no survivors. Today, Bill Chase is still recognized as one of the premier exponents of Jazz-Rock fusion and modern lead trumpet style.