happens all too often with great and special things - they are not fully
appreciated until they are gone. And the loss can only be mourned, because
it cannot be regained in any measure. Sometimes, however, in the rare and
more fortunate circumstance, something of worth and consequence passes
away, but its death is illusory. Like a perennial plant, it has not died
but merely gone dormant. So the only loss is of time.
The music of Bill Chase did not die with him. Not solely by virtue of its greatness, but because it was not his alone, it was a collective force - and ensemble concept - and he shared as much during and with its development as he did cause it to be created. It is, in the latin, aere perenius - more lasting than brass. That is why the Chase musical legacy is as valid and viable and cognate today as it was before his unseasonable demise in the summer of his years. Appreciation has grown, and the seeds he planted were widely scattered, left to germinate, and, following their true nature, have bloomed again.
The planter is gone, but the growing season has come again. With the yield and enrichment known before.
it all started...
Trumpet player, agent and promoter Tommy Martin was a close friend of Woody Herman's. Tommy knew of Chase's talent so when Woody suggested including Bill in their dinner plans one night, Tommy agreed. Over this monumental meal at Mike Fish's Restaurant in Chicago, Bill described his new project and Tommy wanted to hear it. They went to Bill's hotel room and listened to the instrumental demo tape of Get It On. Martin was so excited about the project that he later flew to Vegas to hear the band live. Bill picked Tommy up at the airport in his Corvette and immediately ran out of gas.
pushed it to a station where Bill quipped, "Great way to impress my future
manager." After hearing the band Tommy told Bill, " I love it and want
to run with it." He and Bill sealed their long-term business relationship
on the spot. Martin became Bill's agent/manager and the rest , as they
say, is history. What evolved was a lasting bond between them that transcended
tremendous success, acclaim, hardship, and tragedy.
Tommy still has Bill's Yamaha flugelhorn and Schilke B-3 trumpet (serial #3917 with a tunable beryllium bell) that were in a leather gig bag at the time of the crash...
John La Barbera, TPIN