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Chuz Alfred has always considered himself a jazzman, but when he was starting out Ozzie Cadena, the A&R man for Savoy Records, apparently had other ideas.  Consequently, the Chuz Alfred Combo (as they were billed) wound up recording “Buckeye Bounce” backed with “Caravan” for their first single and “Rock Along” backed with “Rockin’ Boy” for their second.  The last was the lead off track on the 1955 compilation album, Rock ‘n’ Roll, released on Herman Lubinsky’s Regent label (Lubinsky also founded Savoy).

Because Chuz and the boys were lumped together on this album with Hal Singer, Paul Williams, T.J. Fowler, and other, presumably, African-American musicians, he continues to be regarded by some as one of a long line of black tenor sax players. In a July, 1955, Billboard ad headlined  “Congrats from Savoy!”,  the Chuz Alfred Combo is pictured along with ten black groups/performers (among them Columbus’s Larry Darnell).

Locally, promoters liked to pit Chuz against the other hot tenor players in town, including Rusty Bryant.  In fact, Chuz and Rusty came close to co-leading a band, but Rusty backed out at the last minute.  All that survives of that venture are some publicity photos.

When Chuz subsequently went to Newark, NJ, to pick up payment for the “Rockin’ Boy” 45, he mentioned to Ozzie that the band preferred to play jazz and invited him to hear the band at Goldfarb Studio which he had rented for rehearsals.  Surprisingly, Ozzie did drop by unexpectedly at the end of a late night rehearsal session, but left without saying a word.  Chuz figured they had blown their chance, but the next day Ozzie called to say he had booked time in a recording studio.

Chuz, Ola Hanson, and Chuck Lee promptly reported to Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Hackensack, only to learn they would have to make up some original tunes on the spot because Savoy would not pay royalties to ASCAP or BMI. Other than “Chuz Duz,” a song written by a friend which they had never played, everything else was created during the three-hour session with only one take of each tune and no overdubs.  The result was released on Savoy as Jazz Young Blood, a respectable effort that was re-released on CD in 1993.  However, tracks from his first two singles have been included on the compilation CDs Bump, Jump, Jive Volume Nine, Big Apple Boogie, and Boogie On Broadway.

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