by Al Sears Al Sears


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When he wasn't playing in Duke Ellington's band or with the Johnny Hodges Orchestra, tenor saxman Big Al Sears was cutting R&B and rock & roll numbers leading his own group or as a member of the Alan Freed Orchestra. This CD collects Sears' complete R&B
ock & roll sides, cut for the Coral, RCA Victor, Herald, and Groove labels between December 1949 and July 1956, in one place. There's not a lot of difference between the 1949 and the 1956 sides except for the disappearance of the Mills Brothers-style vocalizing on the early tracks in favor a greater emphasis on the beat and on solo vocals where there are any at all -- mostly, though, this is a showcase for playing, primarily Sears' sax (and those of Eddie Barefield, Rudy Powell, Budd Johnson, Sam "The Man" Taylor, and Haywood Henry). Mostly this is great R&B-style dance music of the kind that had pretty much gone out of style in much of the black community by the second half of the 1950s, though in its curious way it shows Sears' (and Freed's) continued commitment to the most complex sides of R&B, even as the latter was being abandoned around them in favor of simpler and safer commercial sounds. Despite some disclaimers in the booklet about the sound, the audio quality is excellent throughout and this is a hot disc through and through, with some of the best sounding big-band-style R&B of its era.

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Product Details

Release Date: 06/28/1994
Label: Bear Family
UPC: 4000127156686
catalogNumber: 15668
Rank: 163979


  1. 125th Street, New York
  2. Shake Hands
  3. Tan Skin Lad
  4. Brown Boy
  5. Huffin' and Puffin'
  6. Sear-Iously
  7. Mag's Alley
  8. Fo-Yah
  9. In the Good Old Summertime
  10. Ivory Cliffs
  11. Easy Ernie
  12. Vo-Sa
  13. Goin' Uptown
  14. Tweedle Dee
  15. Come and Dance with Me
  16. Come A'Runnin'
  17. Tom, Dick & Harry
  18. Tina's Canteen
  19. Right Now, Right Now
  20. Midnight Wail
  21. Love Call
  22. Rock & Roll Ball
  23. Here's the Beat
  24. Great Googa Mooga
  25. Fo-Yah

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sears   Primary Artist,Leader,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals
Milt Jackson   Marimbas
Budd Johnson   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Dave Bailey   Drums
Eddie Barefield   Saxophone
Lawrence Brown   Trombone
Tyree Glenn   Trombone
Taft Jordan   Trumpet
Mickey Baker   Guitar
Sam "The Man" Taylor   Alto Saxophone
John "Johnny" Adriano Acea   Piano
Harold Baker   Trumpet
Joe Benjamin   Bass
Henderson Chambers   Trombone
Willie Greer   Drums
Ernie Hayes   Piano
Haywood Henry   Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Milt Hinton   Bass
Wilbert Kirk   Harmonica
Charles Lee   Tenor Saxophone
Clarence Palmer   Bass
Rudy Powell   Saxophone
Eli Robinson   Trombone
Cliff Smalls   Piano
Lloyd Trotman   Bass
Dick Vance   Trumpet
William Tinney   Guitar,Drums
Kalil Mahdi   Drums
Joseph Marshall   Drums

Technical Credits

Frank Driggs   Illustrations
Phil Schaap   Liner Notes,Illustrations
Bob Thiele   Producer
Mark Wilder   Disc Dub
Robert Pruter   Liner Notes
Hoffmann Nienburg   Art Direction
Richard Weize   Reissue Producer
Joe Thomas   Producer
Bob Rolantz   Producer
Ren Shields   Composer
George Evans   Composer

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