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Jack Sohmer

jazz clarinetist and saxophonist, also known as “Nick,” was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Although his parents' names and occupations are unknown, it is known that Nicholas was the nephew of the New Orleans clarinetist and trumpeter Wooden Joe Nicholas, from whom he received his first training on the clarinet in 1910. At age thirteen he began studying with the famed soloist and teacher Lorenzo Tio Jr. By age fifteen Albert was playing with the cornetists Manuel Perez, King Oliver, and Buddy Petit, as well as working with Oak Gaspard's Maple Leaf Orchestra. In November 1916 he enlisted in the navy, and while based in Cuba and Gibraltar aboard the convoy ship USS Olympia he played clarinet in the ship's otherwise all-white band.

Shortly after his discharge in December 1919 Nicholas resumed his professional career in New Orleans by joining first Petit and ...