The first jazz flute soloist in history (predating the better-known Wayman Carver by several years), Albert Socarras made records with Clarence Williams starting in 1927 and took occasional flute solos at least as early as 1929. He began his career playing in his native Cuba, moving to the U.S. in 1927. A technically skilled musician, Socarras played all the reeds (particularly alto and clarinet) and worked with the Blackbirds shows of 1928-33. He was with Benny Carter for a short period in 1933, ran an all-girls band that toured Europe in 1934, toured with Sam Wooding the following year and mainly led his own groups other than being briefly with Erskine Hawkins in 1937. A talented classical solo flutist and an educator, Socarras worked outside of jazz after the 1930's. However when one hears his flute solos from the 1920's (including one in which he is followed by some rambunctious Cyrus St. Clair tuba-playing), Albert Socarras (who only led a single record date of his own, four songs with a Cuban-oriented band in 1935) sounds quite futuristic! It is a pity that his flute playing was not utilized more in jazz.
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