[Dixielandjazz] Al Casey Obit - (Guitarist with Waller, Holiday, Armstrong, Wilson et al.)

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Sep 13 06:33:55 PDT 2005

Al Casey Dies at 89; Early Jazz Guitarist - By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: September 13, 2005

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.

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