Monday, September 10, 2012

Meet my "bro," Baron Chase

Baron Chase is one hell of a bass player.  I've been saying that to anyone who'll listen for about 33 years now.  I'm saying it even more now, trying to get even more people to pay attention to what he has done and can do.

No, Baron and I aren't blood brothers, but we might as well be.  We became roommates in college in 1978, and our backgrounds were as different as could be -- Baron coming from the city around Washington, D.C., where they actually played progressive rock and jazz-fusion on the radio on a regular basis, and me coming from rural Idaho where radio never stretched beyond Top 40 hits.

Baron Chase plays his fretless bass.  (Photo By John G. Miller)
Baron and I hooked up as roommates and became good friends, and the experiences we shared made us more like brothers both in the semester-plus we shared a dorm room together and in the few years after that when we'd get together whenever possible after I'd left school to take a shot at being a journalist or a radio disc jockey or whatever came along.

It was Baron who educated me on the "big picture" of progressive rock and jazz-fusion, and I soaked it all up like a sponge.  He knew a music fanatic when he saw one.  When he was without a vehicle, we'd load his bass into my car and drive off to jam sessions with his friends nearby.  I went to a few of his bands' shows.  I knew as far back as 1978-79 just what he could do with a bass, and I knew that if he stayed with it he could go far.

In 1984, we lost touch with each other.  I found out later that he moved to the San Francisco area, and a while after that -- when I discovered that he had his own website ( -- I saw that he'd ended up playing with some of the people that we'd spent so much time together in college and beyond listening to and admiring.

I knew he could do it.

It took some effort, but Baron and I finally reconnected on the phone one night in the summer of 2008, around 24 years after we'd last seen each other.  It was like we'd never been apart, even after all that time.  Sure, we had a lot of catching up to do, but that closeness was still there like it was in the "old days."

Baron and me.  (Photo By Chuck Steed)
Last December, Baron invited me to the Bay Area to visit with him in person (for the first time in over 27 years) and to help celebrate his 52nd birthday with one of his now-annual birthday jam sessions on New Year's Eve.  In the past, he's celebrated at his jams with friends like former Santana and fusion percussion/drumming great Mingo Lewis.  In the last birthday jam, I got to meet his good friend and neighbor and the guy Baron helps out as music director, Lester Chambers.  That's Lester Chambers from the iconic 1960s soul/psychedelic/rock/gospel group The Chambers Brothers, the group that gave the world a song like "Time Has Come Today," the Lester Chambers who did lead vocals when The Chambers Brothers had a hit with the classic "People Get Ready."

Baron may have some great contacts in the world of music, he's done some impressive work with his playing and composing.  That's not his full-time career, though, as much as he'd love it to be.  And when guitar legend Steve Cropper played with Baron and Lester and their Blues Revue in a benefit show for the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund (a charity that's helped people like Lester through some rough times himself) at Yoshi's in the Bay Area a while back, it was Steve Cropper who looked Baron in the eyes and told him flat-out himself that Baron needs to become better-known.

Quite a compliment.  I've been saying that for years.

There are a lot of musicians out there who could have similar stories.  In the case of Baron Chase, though, we're talking about my bro.

Click here for samples of Baron Chase's music and more information on

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