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Sears, Al(bert Omega)

Sears, Al(bert Omega)

Sears, Al(bert Omega) , jazz tenor saxophonist; b. Macomb, III, Feb. 21, 1910; d. N.Y., March 23, 1990. Brother of sax-playing leader Marion Sears. Al originally specialized on alto and baritone saxes. He first worked professionally in Buffalo with various bands before moving to N.Y. to replace Johnny Hodges in Chick Webb’s Band in 1928. Before joining Elmer Snowden in N.Y. (1931), Sears toured in the “Keep Shulflin’” revue and then led his own band while also working as a sideman with others. In spring 1932 he was forced to leave Snowden because of a bad case of pneumonia; Sears returned to Buffalo and reformed his own band. He toured with Bud Harris and his Rhythm Rascals in early 1933, then led his own band for several years in various cities in the 1930s; he also left music temporarily in 1935 to study business management. Sears joined Andy Kirk from February 1941 until summer 1942, then reformed his own band, which played in N.Y. and did a long U.S.O. tour in 1943; Lester Young was a sideperson. Sears joined Lionel Hampton for four months beginning in December 1943, then worked with Duke Ellington from May 1944 until September 1949 (brief absence in early 1949). Sears then played in Johnny Hodges’s small band from March 1951 until October 1952. After the success of his composition “Castle Rock,” he formed his own music publishing company which became his major occupation. Sears continued to record through the 1950s, and also played occasionally with Duke Ellington’s Orch.


Dance Music with a Swing Beat (1959); Swing’s the Thing (I960).

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

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