Nicholas, Albert (Nick)

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Nicholas, Albert (Nick)

Nicholas, Albert (Nick), talented New Orleans-style clarinetist, saxophonist; b. New Orleans, May 27, 1900; d. Basel, Switzerland, Sept. 3, 1973. His uncle, “Wooden Joe” Nicholas (b. New Orleans, Sept. 23, 1883; d. there, Nov. 17, 1957), played cornet and clarinet, working with King Oliver in 1915, and later was active during the late 1940s-early 1950s New Orleans revival. Albert started playing clarinet at age of 10, took lessons from Lorenzo Tio Jr., and soon gigged with Buddie Petit, King Oliver (several times including 1924–26), and Manuel Perez. From August 1926 he worked with bands in Shanghai, Cairo, Alexandria, and Paris, then returned to the U.S., arriving on Nov. 9, 1928, when he joined Luis Russell until December 1933. He then worked with Chick Webb, John Kirby, Louis Armstrong (1937 until spring 1939), Zutty Singleton (December 1939 to October 1940). In late 1941, he left full-time music to work as a guard on N.Y. subway, then worked for the U.S. government in Washington, D.C. Returned to N.Y. in late 1945, and began performing with various revival bands. From 1949 until 1953, he mainly led his own groups in and around L.A. In 1953, he went to France, and spent the rest of his life touring the Continent. He returned to the U.S. for playing visits in 1959 and 1960, and visited his hometown for the last time from late 1969 to early 1970.


“This Is Jazz” (1947); All Star Stompers (1959); A.N. Quartet (1959); Tribute to Jelly Roll Morton (1970).

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

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Nicholas, Albert (Nick)

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