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Casey, Al(bert Aloysius)

Casey, Al(bert Aloysius)

famed jazz guitarist; b. Louisville, Ky, Sept. 15, 1915. Casey is best known for his fine and swinging acoustic work with Fats Waller, and he later turned to the electric guitar. His father was a drummer. He started on violin at the age of 8, then played ukulele. He moved to N.Y. in 1930, studied guitar while at the DeWitt Clinton H.S., and received some tuition from James Smith. His first professional work with Fats Waller was in 1934; he worked regularly with Fats throughout the 1930s and recorded over 230 songs with him. He was with Teddy Wilson Big Band in 1939–0, then with Buster Harding’s Quartet at Nick’s, N.Y., in May 1940. He worked with Fats Waller again from October 1940 until 1942. During these years he also recorded with Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson, Earl Hines, Sid Catlett, and Chu Berry. He led his own trio from 1943, playing at clubs in L.A., N.Y., Chicago, and elsewhere. He was featured at Metropolitan Opera House concert in January 1944, played briefly in Clarence Profit’s Trio (early 1944), with Billy Kyle Trio (1949), and others. He did extensive freelance work in the 1950s, then worked regularly in King Curtis All Stars until 1961, then played long residency with Curley Hammer’s Sextet in N.Y. Resident at Baby Grand, Harlem (1971). He returned to basic blues and jazz in the 1970s and 1980s, playing with Helen Humes and the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band.

Discography

Al Casey Quartet (1960); Buck Jumpin’ (1960); Al Casey (1961); Surfin’ Hootenanny (1963); Jumpin’ with Al (1973); Guitar Odyssey (1976); Best of Friends (1981); Genius of Jazz Guitar (1981); Al Casey Remembers King Curtis (1985); Jivin’ Around (1995).

—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter

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