Clarinetist Frank Chace was a linchpin of the Chicago jazz scene for more than four decades, lending his edgy, powerful sound to sessions headlined by fellow Windy City mainstays Marty Grosz and Wild Bill Davison. A Chicago native born July 22, 1924, Chace spent a year at Yale University before he received his draft notice. After World War II he returned home and earned his first significant recognition as a latter-day member of the venerable Salty Dogs, headlining Chicago nightspots including the Blue Note, the Sabre Room, the Hunt Club, and the Red Arrow. In 1951 Chace made his first recorded appearance on a Grosz-led session on Jolly Roger, and a year later toured the Midwest behind trumpeter Dewey Jackson -- the group's St. Louis date finally earned commercial release in 2007 via the Delmark LP Live at the Barrel. Chace earned widespread acclaim for his contributions to the 1957 Traditional label release Hooray for Bix!, also spearheaded by Grosz. In the years to follow he backed artists including Doc Evans, Eddie Condon, Art Hodes, Jabbo Smith, Lil Armstrong, Israel Crosby, and Natty Dominique, but remained largely unknown outside the Midwest. In 1986 Chace was tapped to appear on the all-star Atlantic Records session Chicago Jazz Summit, and although it would prove his final performance on LP, he played the annual Chicago Jazz Fest several times during the 1990s. Chace died in Evanston, IL, on December 28, 2007.
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