Caughey Roberts

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Caughey Roberts (August 25, 1912 – December 15, 1990) was an American jazz alto sax player, best known for his time in the Count Basie Orchestra in the 1930s.

He was born in Boley, Oklahoma,[1] later moving to Los Angeles. He played both baritone and alto sax, and clarinet. During the early-1930s, he was a music band teacher at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles.[2] He later joined Buck Clayton’s 14-piece jazz ensemble (known as the Harlem Gentlemen).[3] They traveled by cruise liner to Shanghai, China where they performed an extended engagement at the elegant Canidrome Ballroom. He would eventually leave Shanghai before the 1937 Second Sino-Japanese War.[4][5] After returning from Shanghai, he replaced Buster Smith in the Count Basie Orchestra, leaving in 1942 when he was replaced by Earle Warren.[6] He also played in Roy Milton's band. Caughey was drafted into the U.S. Army on August 13, 1942. He trained at Fort Huachuca for a week and a half. He requested to go with the band assigned at Fort Huachuca, but ended up with another band at Papago Park (Prisoner-of-War Camp) sixteen miles out of Phoenix, Arizona. He was there close to four years playing in the dance band and a small combo. He was honorably discharge from the U.S. Army with the rank of Sergeant, February 1946.[7] In later years he played in the traditional jazz band at Disneyland's New Orleans Square with Teddy Buckner and others.[8]

He died in Los Angeles in 1990 at the age of 78.[6]


With Count Basie


  1. ^ Fourteen Census of the United States, 1920
  2. ^ Jazz High by Kirk Silsbee - LA CityBeat Magazine, September 13–19, 2007 [1]
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott. [2000] (2000). Swing: Third Ear – The Essential Listening Companion. Backbeat Books publishing [2]
  4. ^ Jones. Andrew F. [2001] (2001). Yellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age. Duke University Press [3]
  5. ^ [4] Buck Clayton, Nancy M. Elliott, Buck Clayton’s Jazz World. A&C Black, 1995
  6. ^ a b Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music: Count Basie
  7. ^ National Archives and Records Administration, U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [5] and Peter Vacher, "Swingin' on Central Avenue, African American Jazz in Los Angeles, Published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, pages 141-142
  8. ^ Clora Bryant, Central Avenue Sounds: Jazz in Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1999