|Birth name||Jason Randolph Scheff|
|Born||April 16, 1962|
San Diego, California, U.S.
Jason Randolph Scheff (born April 16, 1962) is an American bassist, singer, and songwriter who was a frontman for the American rock band Chicago from 1985 to 2016. Replacing former lead vocalist Peter Cetera, Scheff was the longest-serving bassist/vocalist of Chicago.
In mid-1985, 23-year-old Scheff joined the multiplatinum band Chicago, after Peter Cetera had departed the band to continue his solo career.
In addition to performing the band's classic material, Scheff had composed several original songs for the band, including their 1989 top-5 single "What Kind of Man Would I Be?" Scheff also co-wrote the song "Heart of Mine" with Bobby Caldwell and Dennis Matkosky. The song became a big hit for Boz Scaggs in 1988 and was included in the 1988 Boz Scaggs album Other Roads and the collection Hits!. Scheff performed "Heart of Mine" several years later in 2007 for a theater-in-the-round setting at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.
Scheff, along with co-writers Peter Wolf and Ina Wolf, wrote the song "Bigger Than Elvis" in 1993 for what was intended to be Chicago's 22nd album. This song is about his father, Jerry Scheff, describing Jason's childhood memories of watching his father play on television. The album, however, was rejected by Warner Bros. in 1993, and remained unreleased until 2008, when Rhino released it as Chicago XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus.
In 2005, Scheff and Chicago founding member Robert Lamm convinced the band to record Chicago XXX, their first collection of new material since 1991's Twenty 1. Scheff also enlisted Rascal Flatts vocalist and bassist Jay DeMarcus to serve as producer for the new album, which was released on March 21, 2006. Scheff co-wrote seven of the 12 songs on the CD. He recorded as a solo artist, releasing a CD titled Chauncy in 1996, as well as several duets released only in Japan.
He was part of two a cappella releases by West Coast All Stars. The first in 1997, called "California Dreamin'", included vocals by Joseph Williams, Bill Champlin, Bobby Kimball, and Scheff; the second in 1998, "Naturally", again featured Williams, Kimball, and Scheff, adding this time Tommy Funderburk as the fourth vocal.
In 2005, Scheff (credited as Jason Chefe) appeared on the Pink Floyd tribute album Back Against the Wall, performing lead vocals and bass on the track "Run Like Hell", together with Dweezil Zappa (lead guitar), Tony Kaye (keyboard solo), Aynsley Dunbar (drums), Bob Kulick (electric guitar), and Billy Sherwood (keyboards).
A few weeks after performing with Chicago for the band's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in April 2016, Scheff took a leave of absence from the band. Singer/bassist Jeff Coffey filled in for him on the summer tour. In October of that year, Scheff left Chicago permanently, with Coffey as his successor before he was initially replaced by Canadian tenor vocalist Neil Donell and bassist Brett Simons in late 2018. He remains the longest-serving bassist/vocalist in the band's history.
Scheff appeared in January 2017 in the CNN feature film by Peter Pardini Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago, which began filming before his departure from the band.
After leaving Chicago in 2016, Scheff participated as a judge for American Super Group. He has worked with new artists trying to break into the music business by conducting songwriting workshops and music lessons.
Scheff is currently touring with Todd Rundgren, Denny Laine, Christopher Cross, and Joey Molland in celebration of the Beatles' White Album on the It Was Fifty Years Ago Today – A Tribute to the Beatles’ White Album. Scheff performs the Chicago songs "25 or 6 to 4" and "Hard to Say I'm Sorry".
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