Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
brownie

Al Casey dies

7 posts in this topic

Thought the man was indestructible!

From The New York Times today:

September 13, 2005

Al Casey Dies at 89; Early Jazz Guitarist

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

Al Casey, a guitarist whose playful acoustic rhythms and solos were a defining feature of Fats Waller's band in the 1930's and 1940's, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 89.

The cause was colon cancer, said Albert Vollmer, leader of the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, with which Mr. Casey played until 2001. He had been hospitalized at the Dewitt Rehabilitation Center for about a year.

Born Sept. 15, 1915, in Louisville, Ky., Mr. Casey joined Waller's group in the early 1930's and was Waller's main guitarist until Waller died in 1943. Mr. Casey also worked with Teddy Wilson's big band in 1939 and 1940 and recorded with Billie Holiday, Frankie Newton and Chu Berry.

Mr. Casey played and recorded with Louis Armstrong in 1944 when both were recognized as leading jazz musicians in the Esquire magazine readers' poll, Mr. Vollmer said.

Along the way he switched from acoustic to electric guitar. Over the next decades he freelanced in swing and blues venues and from 1957 to 1961 played rhythm and blues with the saxophonist King Curtis.

In 1981, Mr. Casey was coaxed out of retirement to join the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, said Mr. Vollmer, who founded the band.

Mr. Casey is survived by his wife, Althea, and his son, Al Casey Jr.

A 90th birthday celebration for Mr. Casey, scheduled for Thursday evening at St. Peter's Church, 54th Street and Lexington Avenue, will now be his musical memorial service, open to the public.

Very sad to hear of his passing away. He brought so much joy to this world.

Casey was such an essential part of the Fats Waller ensemble sound...

His 70s recordings for the French Black and Blue label showed he still had the fire!

Edited by brownie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to see him go. I saw him several times in the late 80s and early 90s with the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band. He always played great and the man was a gentleman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to break out some of those Fats' discs for Al Casey.

I thought he was a great, underrated player.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only recently became aware of Al Casey. I had downloaded his Prestige Swingville date from emusic.com. Wonderful stuff. I'll have to check out some more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He was a wonderful musician. A friend who owned a record company once told me that one session he would have liked to have recorded was an Al Casey/Tiny Grimes date. I can only dream about what that might have sounded like.

Thanks for sharing your music with us, Mr. Casey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Listening to a 2004 interview with him on "Fresh Air" right now.

Thanks for everything, Al!

R.I.P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Saddened to read this - yet it's good to know Al Casey does not have to suffer any longer.

I first met Al Casey around 1982 in Zurich (got to know him better through Johnny Simmen) and visited him twice at his home on St. Nicholas Ave. in the mid-80's. We have exchanged Christmas-cards quite regularly 'til the late 90's.

I feel honored to have known and met this humble and dapper gentlemen !

It's time to spin Bluebird 11324 - "Buck Jumpin'" - possibly Al's greatest record; although he did not to consider it anything special himself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.