Al Sears

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Al Sears
Al Sears (left) with Johnny Hodges, 1946
Al Sears (left) with Johnny Hodges, 1946
Background information
Birth nameAlbert Omega Sears
Born(1910-02-21)February 21, 1910
Macomb, Illinois, U.S.
DiedMarch 23, 1990(1990-03-23) (aged 80)
St. Albans, New York City, U.S.

Albert Omega Sears (February 21, 1910 – March 23, 1990)[1] was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and bandleader, sometimes credited as Big Al Sears.

Sears was born in Macomb, Illinois, United States.[2] His first major gig came in 1928 when he replaced Johnny Hodges in Chick Webb's ensemble.[2] Following this he played with Elmer Snowden (1931–32), then led his own groups between 1933 and 1941.[2] 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.[2] He remained with Ellington until 1949,[2] 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;[2] 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."[2] He played as a studio musician on R&B albums in the 1950s and recorded two albums for Swingville in 1960. He also owned several record labels, including Arock, Serock, and Gator.[1]

In 1990, he died in St. Albans, New York, at the age of 80.[1]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues – A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 135. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 2215. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.

Other sources[edit]

  • Scott Yanow, Al Sears at Allmusic
  • Scott DeVeaux and Barry Kernfeld. "Sears, Al." The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press.

External links[edit]