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Al Sears

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.

Birth and Death Data: Born February 22nd, 1910 (Macomb), Died March 23rd, 1990 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1942 - 1957

Roles Represented in DAHR: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
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-1 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  
Decca 89967 5/16/1956 The grey bear Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 100343 7/27/1956 Homesick blues Eddie Fontaine instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 100344 7/27/1956 Into each life some rain must fall Eddie Fontaine instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 100345 7/27/1956 Cool it baby Eddie Fontaine instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 101657 2/14/1957 John Thompson Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 101658 2/14/1957 Sure Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 101659 2/14/1957 Swell Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 101660 2/14/1957 Easy rock Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 101666 2/15/1957 Sentimental journey Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 101667 2/15/1957 Stop, look and run Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 101668 2/15/1957 Twenty one Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 101669 2/15/1957 Sometimes I'm happy Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 102267 4/15/1957 Swizzle time Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 102268 4/15/1957 Late hours Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 102269 4/15/1957 You for me Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 102270 4/15/1957 Readin', writin' and rockin' Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 102279 4/16/1957 Three bad men Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 102280 4/16/1957 Gumbo rock Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 102281 4/16/1957 Kissing rock Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 102282 4/16/1957 Sweet potato pie Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 102283 4/17/1957 The street Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 102284 4/17/1957 Mr. Onion head Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 102285 4/17/1957 Ease down Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca 102286 4/17/1957 The king's ring Alan Freed Rock 'n' Roll Band instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  
Decca N 2994 10-in. 1/2/1945 Midriff Duke Ellington Orchestra instrumentalist, tenor saxophone  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Sears, Al," accessed October 17, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109665.

Sears, Al. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 17, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109665.

"Sears, Al." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 17 October 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109665

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