Prior to relocating to the Capital Region in 1972, accordionist Al Haugen was a much sought after member of the club and jazz scene in the Hudson Valley, New York City and New Jersey. He played his first professional gigs at age 14 and later auditioned for the United States Military Academy Band at West Point where he served for three years as accordionist and chief music copyist on the band's arranging staff.
After completing military service, Al gigged in New York City and was staff music copyist at Radio City Music Hall and various music writing and recording agencies. While earning BS and MS Degrees in Geology at Alfred University and State University College at New Paltz, he minored in music and subsequently taught science at secondary and post secondary levels and taught private lessons on accordion.
Al and his inspiration and close friend of nearly 50 years, Art Van Damme (father of the jazz accordion), have travelled together nationally in efforts to bolster the image of the accordion as a jazz instrument. Al continues to perform with his groups (trio, quartet, quintet) in the local jazz scene including the Stockade Inn, the Van Dyck Restaurant, Tosca Grille and others.