On March 11, 1947 Al was born at Our Lady of Victory Basilica Hospital in Buffalo, New York. As a young boy attending elementary school Al sang alto in his church choir. His dad was a hobby honky tonk singer, his uncle Mike was a night club singer and his uncle Raymond was a professional opera singer. Uncle Raymond had plans for Al to follow in his footsteps as an opera singer. His uncle arranged Bel Canto singing lessons for Al to train under his personal vocal coach from the Julliard School of music. Al was being groomed to become an opera singer but that never happened. Al liked the soulful blues and rock n roll music that he heard on radio much more than he liked opera. The vocal coaching gave Al the mechanics of vocalization giving him the ability to sing properly with power and tone. Al took his training and applied it into the music he loved.
As a teenager Al sang acapella with his High School buddies in the alley behind the shopping plaza singing “Doo Wop”. At the age of fifteen while being chaperoned by his dad. Al started singing Soulful Blues & Rock n Roll with bands in bowling alley bars, neighborhood saloons and frat parties.
Al’s first fulltime professional gig was with a band from Buffalo N.Y. called “THE CAVEMEN” they became a very popular and a very successful 60’s act. The band entered a Battle of Bands contest in Rochester N.Y. and won a recording contract with Capitol Star Records. The band recorded a song Al wrote titled “All About Love” on side A and recorded “Hey Bo Diddley” on side B “THE CAVEMEN” had personal management that invested in the group. Management provided them the very latest mod clothes from NY brand new Gibson Guitars, Fender amps and Vox PA system plus the band played at all three of the teen clubs that their manager owned. The band opened for numerous groups in the sixties such as the Young Rascals, The Standells, Question Mark & the Mysterians, the Blues Magoos, The Hollies, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Joey Dee & The Star lighters and more. “THE CAVEMEN” started to slowly dissolve after the rhythm guitarist was killed in an auto accident and then shortly after the bass player was severely injured in an auto accident. To make matters worse Al developed nodules on his vocal chords and had to stop singing for a while. Upon a full recovery Al sought after musicians and formed a soulful funky Pop Rock R&B show band named “BRASS TACKS” a 70’s six piece group with Al being one of two lead singing front men. Al learned early on about the pitfalls of signing with record labels and decided not to sell his soul for fame and fortune but pursue his music career as a live performer. This time Al decided to treat music as a business as well as an art form. Brass Tacks were all business they were incorporated and even hired a seamstress to make their custom tailored stage clothes. The group was made up of some of the most talented and artistic musicians in the western N.Y. area. The band recorded an in studio live demo and signed with a booking agency touring the northern states, Canada and Midwest.
Upon completion of the first successful tour Al took a refined version of “BRASS TACKS” on a second east coast tour from NY to Florida but this time as a five piece with Al fronting the band. Upon arriving in Florida Al fell in love with Florida and decided to move the family to Florida making it home base. While in Florida Al became very ill with a case of pneumonia and once again was forced to stop performing. Upon regaining his health Al really missed performing and was ready to return to the stage.
Al formed a new hi energy band called “HOT TICKET” touring night clubs, major hotels and resorts throughout Florida and the southeast. After successful tours with “HOT TICKET” Al returned to home base in Daytona Beach working the high rise hotels and clubs on the strip.
Al was contacted by the band leader of “GOOD VIBRATIONS” a Florida show band that was in need of a front man.“GOOD VIBRATIONS” was a first class show band that toured on the East Coast, Las Vegas, Midwest and Florida. The group appeared at corporate functions, Country Clubs and showcased at the world famous Playboy Clubs! Then another setback due to performing floor shows six nights a week singing all styles of music from Broadway tunes to standards to Pop Rock R&B and Country four sets a night, Al developed a hernia from singing that required surgery. Al had to slowly get strong before he could return to fulltime performing and under doctor’s orders was refrained from singing once again. Forced to take time off from performing however immediately after months of healing Al decided to do some vocal training to strengthen his voice. Fortunately he found Richard Evans a Bel Canto voice coach in Daytona Beach. He also studied martial arts to help him strengthen his body and mind. Al needed a low energy gig to build back his voice to full potential. His vocal coach helped Al land a gig in Ormond Beach singing standards with Tommy Bell former pianist for Nat King Cole. After months of voice training, martial arts and singing every weekend Al made full recovery.
One night while performing Al was approached by the leader of a local jazz group called “THE TROPICS”. They were looking for a vocalist to sing & scat various styles of jazz material with the group. Al jumped at the opportunity to sing one of his favorite genres and also expand his musical talents as a hand percussionist. The group performed in the Daytona area at popular tourist resorts and clubs on the beach. The leader of the band was a jazz song writer that asked Al to sing on his original album project with his progressive jazz fusion group called “NEBULA”. The songwriter flew in his college jazz band musician friends and rehearsed his original song charts with the group preparing for the studio recording.
“NEBULA” was the most challenging project Al has ever done musically but he loved every minute of it. Upon completion of recording the album with Nebula the song writer decided to sit on the recording without a follow up tour and the band departed. Al moved on and hooked back up with the leader of “GOOD VIBRATIONS” that was performing with his new act called “TROPICO”. The group was working in Key West and in need of a front man with floor show experience. Al took the gig performing two floorshows nightly.
While performing in Key West Al was approached by a German film producer that was producing a Hollywood film in the Florida Keys. The producer hired Al as a stunt actor for a speaking role as a hit man tough guy in a Hollywood movie called “Cuba Crossing”. Starring Stuart Whitman (center pictured with Al) and cast including Robert Vaughan, Woody Strode and Michael Gazzo. It was the only beard he ever grew while performing.
After the movie Al took a little time to celebrate and recharge. The “TROPICO” band leader decided to change the band name back to “GOOD VIBRATIONS” and landed a booking in the Caribbean. Al signed on to perform on Grand Cayman Island with the quartet. The group was held over for two months on the island.
Shortly after Al returned home from the Caribbean he was contacted by a booking agent about a hotel house gig in Texas. The hotel was looking for a nightly upscale jazz presentation at the “Top of Stouffers” in downtown metropolitan Houston Texas. Al signed on for the booking and moved the family to Houston. Al handpicked some very accomplished jazz musicians for the gig and after a few rehearsal sessions Corte’ was on the marquee of the Stouffers Hotel in downtown Houston. The jazz gig was a great change for a while but Al got the itch to return to performing a more high energy platform. Al began the process of forming a high energy variety band that could perform variety music. While in Texas Al met a group of top shelf musicians in San Antonio, Texas and started rehearsing. Al rehearsed the band in a living room and the band was stage ready within two weeks. He signed with a booking agency and hit the road with his new act “STREETPLAYER” touring the Southeast, Midwest and the Texas dance hall circuit.
“STREETPLAYER” was a crowd pleaser having no problem staying booked. “STREETPLAYER” delivered a diverse repertoire of high energy soulful Texas blues, rock, classic nostalgia, a mix of Motown and current R&B dance music. The group toured west playing in Las Vegas and then onto Phoenix. Al was attracted to the beauty of the Arizona desert and decided to stay in Phoenix making it his new home base…
While on the west coast Al had the opportunity to attend the Bobby Ball Acting Academy. Upon graduating from the academy Al signed with a casting agent and worked as an actor predominantly doing TV commercials.
While working as a commercial actor Al hooked up with “The Arizona Gunfighters” a theatrical troupe that performs live Wild West shows and street shoot outs. Al also received additional experience doing stunts like horse drags and falling off buildings not to mention good ole bar brawls. Being a cowboy actor was fun but Al was destined to sing live on stage and he began networking on the development of a new act. He sought out seasoned players that could perform all styles of music. Al was focused on building a musically diverse high energy act with a wide repertoire that could play any room anywhere. After auditioning musicians for months in a warehouse and rehearsing the chosen musicians for a number of months the results were fantastic! Al named the band ‘CINCH” due to the band being tight as a cinch knot!
In the mid eighties Al rebranded the act with his stage name Corte’. Al continued doing multiple tours across the nation. Corte’ escalated into a very entertaining showcase act performing in the finest niteries, high profile resorts, theatres and corporate events coast to coast. After three decades of live performing and touring the forty eight continental US, Canada and Caribbean Al stepped off the stage in 1992 to pursue a career on the other side of the business. In 2009 Al semi retired and moved to his homestead in Arkansas. Not too long after his move to Arkansas Al’s oldest son and lovely wife had a baby girl being Al’s only grandchild. Al wanted to do something special for his granddaughter and went into a studio to record a couple songs for her. While in the studio the recording engineer asked Al if he would like to do a rhythm & blues recording project.
In the winter of 2014 Al’ s fate was in play and he returned to his roots only this time not as just a live performer but as a recording artist live performer. He recorded a soulful rhythm & blues cover album titled “Seasoned Soul”. His transition back to the stage is ignited by his cover R&B CD titled “Seasoned Soul” that received rave reviews having gained worldwide recognition and radio play. A number of songs on “Seasoned Soul” also charted into the top ten of the Roots Music Report and the album landed at #46 on the top fifty album chart for 2016. The CD was also voted best self produced CD by the Memphis Blues Society. Al has performed select live performances in Memphis and the south east region of Arkansas, Tennessee and the Delta during 2016.
Al has just completed recording an all original album at Royal Studios in Memphis. The album is set to release in 2017. Al has his sights on returning to the stage and performing live upon the launching of his CD.
For updated information, music and merchandise please visit: www.alcorte.us