Albert Omega Sears (February 21, 1910 – March 23, 1990) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and bandleader, sometimes credited as Big Al Sears.
Sears was born in Macomb, Illinois. His first major gig came in 1928 when he replaced Johnny Hodges in Chick Webb's ensemble. Following this he played with Elmer Snowden (1931–32), then led his own groups between 1933 and 1941. In the early 1940s he was with Andy Kirk (1941–42) and Lionel Hampton (1943-44) before he became a member of Duke Ellington's Orchestra in 1944, replacing Ben Webster. He became one of Ellington's best-known soloists and remained in his employ until 1949, when first Jimmy Forrest and then Paul Gonsalves took over his chair. He played with Johnny Hodges in 1951–52 and recorded the tune "Castle Rock" with him; the tune became a hit but was released under Hodges's name.
Sears was in Alan Freed's band when Freed did live shows, being introduced as "Big Al Sears." He played as a studio musician on a variety of R&B albums in the 1950s and recorded two albums for Swingville Records in 1960. He also owned several record labels, including Arock, Serock, and Gator.
In 1990 he died in St. Albans, New York, at the age of 80.
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Birth and Death Data: Born February 22, 1910 (Macomb), Died March 23, 1990 (New York City)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1942 - 1957
Roles Represented in DAHR: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone
= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 50 records)
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||D6VB-2095||10-in.||7/9/1946||Transblucency (a blue fog that you can almost see through)||Duke Ellington Orchestra ; Duke Ellington||Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Victor||D6VB-2131||10-in.||9/3/1946||Royal garden blues||Duke Ellington Orchestra ; Duke Ellington||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||71050||10-in.||7/14/1942||Hey lawdy Mama||Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||71051||10-in.||7/14/1942||Boogie woogie cocktail||Twelve Clouds of Joy||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||71052||10-in.||7/14/1942||Ride on, ride on||Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||71053||10-in.||7/14/1942||Mc Ghee special-2||Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||71239||10-in.||7/31/1942||Worried life blues||Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||71240||10-in.||7/31/1942||Take it and git||Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||71241||10-in.||7/31/1942||Hip hip hooray||Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||71242||10-in.||7/31/1942||Unlucky blues||Andy Kirk ; Twelve Clouds of Joy||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||71825||10-in.||3/2/1944||Loose wig||Lionel Hampton Orchestra||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||71826||10-in.||3/2/1944||Chop chop||Lionel Hampton Orchestra||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||71827||10-in.||3/2/1944||Flying home No.2||Lionel Hampton Orchestra||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||71828||10-in.||3/2/1944||Hamp's boogie woogie||Lionel Hampton Orchestra||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||75610||12/19/1949||125th Street New York||Al Sears ; The Sparrows||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||75611||12/19/1949||Shake hands||Al Sears ; The Sparrows||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||75612||12/19/1949||Tan skin lad||Al Sears ; The Sparrows||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||75613||12/19/1949||Brown baby||Al Sears ; The Sparrows||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||87814||4/22/1955||Come and dance with me||Al Sears and his Rock 'n' Rollers||instrumentalist, alto saxophone|
|Decca||87815||4/22/1955||come a-runnin'||Al Sears and his Rock 'n' Rollers||instrumentalist, alto saxophone|
|Decca||87816||4/22/1955||Tom, Dick 'n Harry (Instrumental)||Al Sears and his Rock 'n' Rollers||instrumentalist, alto saxophone|
|Decca||87817||4/22/1955||Tina's canteen (Instrumental)||Al Sears and his Rock 'n' Rollers||instrumentalist, alto saxophone|
|Decca||89964||5/16/1956||Camel rock||Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||89965||5/16/1956||Up and down||Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
|Decca||89966||5/16/1956||Take one||Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band||instrumentalist, tenor saxophone|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Sears, Al," accessed June 4, 2023, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109665.
Sears, Al. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 4, 2023, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109665.
"Sears, Al." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 4 June 2023.
DAHR Persistent Identifier
Linked Open Data Sources
LCNAR: Sears, Al, 1910-1990 - http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/no93022660
Wikidata: Al Sears - http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q195171
MusicBrainz: Al Sears - https://musicbrainz.org/artist/52f9e4c8-27e2-4151-9d3c-8a505d0d044b
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