From 1967 through 1977, Bowie (Md.) Senior High School sponsored an extracurricular jazz band called The Starliners. The Starliners was a relatively standard big band, with 5 reeds, 4 trombones, 4 trumpets, piano, bass, guitar, and drums. Often the band was augmented with additional percussion, vibes, French horns, and vocalists. At times, there were as many as 23 of us on stage. The band leader during its entire existence was Lt. Col. Joseph G. Carley (USAF, retired). He was paid a salary of $1 per year by the county Board of Education.
During its life, The Starliners produced four albums, Space Chasin’, In Stereo, 12 by 3, and Bowie Straight Ahead. Sales of these albums, along with gigs 3-4 times per month, paid for the purchase of new charts, as well as for travel to jazz festivals and competitions.
Bob O'Hara provided Bowie Living with album covers and recordings from all four albums. The details from Space Chasin' (the Starliners first album) can be seen below. Space Chasin' was recorded in 1967.
Click a song to hear the recording.
- Starliners Theme
- The Knack
- The Man I Love
- I May Be Wrong
- A Walk in the Black Forest
- Trombone Soliloquy
- Batman Theme
- South Rampart Street Parade
- Days of Wine and Roses
- Call Me
- I Remember You
- Tijuana Taxi
- I Left My Heart in San Francisco
- Sam's Boogie
Text from the Back Cover
ABOUT THE BAND ... (Average age: 15 1/2)
Formed in August 1966 under my direction (while still a Lt. Col. in the Air Force) with enthusiastic support from Tom Warthen, principal, and Bob Wiant, school music director. Debut at a PTA meeting in early '67 brought this normally sedate audience to their feet for a thunderous ovation. Subsequent concerts in the D.C. area were equally successful. The big test came on 10 May '67 in the Bowie High gym when the group faced the 2700 strong student body. The Band absolutely fractured 'em! (Who said the Big Band Sound was dead?) The season was ''capped off" at the Annapolis Arts Festival on 18 June when the Band was billed with Count Basie and Buddy Rich.
ABOUT THE RECORD...
During the 10 May concert, I asked how many of the students would purchase a record (if made) and, further, make an advance down payment to finance the recording session with all profit (if any) destined for the stage band fund (under school control). The response was overwhelmingly in favor. Within a few days the band members had issued receipts for 729 records — more than enough!
The recording session was held on 21 May 1967 — the only date available before the end of the school year. The fourteen numbers were cut in 3 1/2 hours with minimum re-takes. Conduct, stamina and a sustained peak in quality of performance impressed the recording engineers. They (and I) consider this recording an outstanding product for such a young group.
I shall remember these young people for their consistent display of professionalism, for being a real credit to their school and community and, in the vernacular of the Jazz Man as "a blowin' bunch of cats"! I’ve had several kudos thrown my way for contributing my time and effort, but let's not kid one another — the pleasure was all mine!
Pictures and Captions from the Back Cover
Starliners Posts on Bowie Living