Albert Nicholas

Better known for his clarinet playing, but did also play saxophones, Albert Nicholas was born in New Orleans on May 27th, 1900, and died in Basle, Switzerland on September 3rd, 1973.

One of the mellowest of New Orleans clarinettists, he played with all the early stars in his home town, served for three years in the U.S. Navy, where his comrades included Zutty Singleton and Charles Bolden. Was back in New Orleans in 1923 and lead his own band which included Luis Russell and Barney Bigard. By early 1925 all three were working with King Oliver's Dixie Syncopaters, but Nicholas eventually left to go to the Far East with Jack Carter's band. Rejoining Russell in 1928, he stayed with the band for ten years then left to work in New York City, part of the time there was spent playing in John Kirby's quartet, then with Louis Armstrong's big band (where he played tenor) and then in 1939 with Jelly Roll Morton.

By 1945 he was working with Art Hodes, Buck Johnson and later (1948) with Ralph Sutton's Trio at Jimmy Ryan's club.

He settled in France in 1953 and, like his childhood friend Sidney Bechet, maintained a solo career until his passing.

Recommended recordings:"The Albert Nicholas Quartet"Delmark DS-207 (LP only)
"Baden 1969"Sackville SKCD2-2045