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Caldwell, Happy (actually, Albert W.), jazz

band summer toured chicago

Caldwell, Happy (actually, Albert W.), jazz tenor saxophonist, clarinetist; b. Chicago, III, July 25, 1903; d. N.Y., Dec. 29, 1978. He attended Wendell Phillips H.S. in Chicago and studied pharmacy. He took up clarinet in 1919. He played clarinet in Eighth 111. Regimental Band; after Army service he took lessons from his cousin, Buster Bailey. He returned to studies until 1922, then joined Bernie Young’s Band in Chicago; made his first records with Young in 1923 (“Dearborn Street Blues”), and began doubling tenor c. 1923. He toured in Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds, then remained in N.Y. (1924). After a summer season at Asbury Park, he joined Bobby Brown’s Syncopators (1924). In April 1925 he worked with Elmer Snowden and other leaders. He was with Willie Gant’s Ramblers (summer 1926); worked with Cliff Jackson, and toured with Keep Shuf-flin’ revue (early 1927). He was with Arthur Gibbs’ Orch. (summer 1927-summer 1928), recorded with Louis Armstrong (1929); also worked with Elmer Snowden again, Charlie Johnson, Fletcher Henderson, and others through the early 1930s. He played regularly with Vernon Andrade’s Orch. (1929–33). He was with Tiny Bradshaw (1934) and Louis Metcalfe (1935), then led his own band, mainly in N.Y. He recorded with Jelly Roll Morton (1939), and with Willie Gant (1940). After leading his Happy Pals at Minton’s in early 1941, he moved to Philadelphia for three years; occasionally led his own band, but also worked with Eugene “Lonnie” Slappy and his Swingsters and Charlie Gaines. He returned to N.Y. in January 1945. He was active with own band throughout the 1950s and 1960s; also gigged with Louis Metcalf and Jimmy Rushing. He took a day job as custodian at N.Y.’s City Coll. in the early 1970s, but continued to gig locally. He toured Scandinavia in 1975. His name was sometimes misspelled as “Cauld-well.”

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