John Cornelius "Johnny" Hodges (born July 25, 1906 in Cambridge , Massachusetts , † May 11, 1970 in New York City ) was one of the most important alto saxophonists in classical jazz , especially swing . Hodges joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1928 and, with a brief hiatus in the 1950s, remained there until his death.
Live and act
Hodges was heavily influenced by the soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet , with whom he played for a while as a young man in the 1920s. Hodges' soprano saxophone recordings such as Rent Party Blues show the musical relationship between the two musicians.
Hodges played his instrument with a very warm, full and smooth tone. As an improviser, he was an extremely resourceful and elegant melodist. His playing style is often compared to the voice of a singer. In this way he achieved very sensual, almost erotic qualities in his music. On the one hand, expressive ballads like Day Dream or Warm Valley are combined with his style ; on the other hand, Hodges was deeply rooted in the blues tradition .
Charlie Parker , the most important alto saxophonist in Hodges' successor, once recognized him as "The Lily Pons of the Saxophone". (Lily Pons was a very successful soprano on the opera stage in the USA in the 1930s and 1940s .) Johnny Hodges was one of the most important and musically most formative soloists in Duke Ellington's orchestra. Ellington wrote numerous pieces especially for Johnny Hodges' "Voice". Johnny Hodges was nicknamed "Rabbit" and "Jeep", which Ellington et al. a. immortalized in the songs dedicated to him Rabbit's Jump and Jeep's Blues . The composition Hodge Podge also refers to him.
After he occasionally recorded records under his own name during his time at Ellington (such as his compositions Jeep's Blues , The Jeep is Jumpin ' or Hodge Podge (1938) and Things Ain't What They Used to Be 1941), on which Ellington and whose musicians were involved ( The Duke's Men ), he left the Ellington Orchestra in 1951 to work with his own formations, including Al Sears , who was the soloist on Castle Rock , with whom Hodges did a smaller chart in March 1951 Achieved success. He returned to Ellington in 1955 and also took part in its legendary Newport appearance in 1956 , where he played two of his most famous numbers, I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good) and the Jeep's Blues .
Hodges has released a variety of recordings with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and under his own name. Among other things, recordings with organist Wild Bill Davis and pianist Earl Hines deserve special mention .
A special peculiarity of Johnny Hodges was that the saxophonist didn’t move a face even during the most soulful solos and therefore often seemed completely uninvolved.
- Passion Flower (RCA, 1940-46) with Willie Cook , Roy Eldridge , Quentin Jackson , Russell Procope , Ben Webster , Sam Woodyard
- Caravan ( Prestige Records , 1947–51) with Taft Jordan , Harold Baker , Juan Tizol , Duke Ellington , Billy Strayhorn , Oscar Pettiford , Sonny Greer
- Side by Side (verve, 1959) with Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington, Roy Eldridge , Ben Webster , Jo Jones
- Johnny Hodges wit Billy Strayhorn and the Orchestra (Verve, 1961) with Aaron Bell , Jimmy Hamilton , Cat Anderson, Eddie Mullens
- Johnny Hodges at Sportpalast Berlin ( Pablo Records , 1961) with Ray Nance , Lawrence Brown , Al Williams
- Everybody Knows Johnny Hodges ( Impulse! Records , 1964–65) with Howard McGhee , Cat Anderson , Lawrence Brown , Paul Gonsalves , Harry Carney
- The Complete Johnny Hodges Sessions (1951–1955) - ( Mosaic - 1989) - 6 LPs with Nelson Williams , Lawrence Brown , Al Sears , Leroy Lovett p, Al McKibbon b, Sonny Greer , Billy Strayhorn , Emmett Berry , Lloyd Trotman b, Joe Marshall dm, Barney Richmond b, Flip Phillips , Red Callender , JC Heard , Ben Webster , Al Hibbler , Rudy Williams ts, Ted Brannon p, Al Walker dm, Arthur Clarke ts, Ray Brown , Osie Johnson , Harold Shorty Baker , John Coltrane , Call Cobbs , John Williams , Louis Bellson , Jimmy Hamilton , Harry Carney , Richie Powell , Clark Terry , Jimmy Woode
- The Complete Verve Johnny Hodges Small Group Sessions (1956–1961) - ( Mosaic - 2000) - 6 CDs with Ray Nance , Lawrence Brown , Jimmy Hamilton , Harry Carney , Billy Strayhorn , Jimmy Woode , Sam Woodyard , Clark Terry , Quentin Jackson , Harold Shorty Baker , Russell Procope , Roy Eldridge , Vic Dickenson , Ben Webster , Wendell Marshall , Jo Jones , John Sanders tb, Jimmy Jones , Les Spann , Ray Brown , Booty Wood tb, Jimmy Rowles , Ed Thigpen , Harold Ashby , Aaron Bell , Herb Ellis , Lou Levy , Wilfred Middlebrooks , Gus Johnson , Sonny Greer , Emil Richards , Russ Freeman , Joe Mondragon , Mel Lewis , Jimmy Forrest , Leroy Vinnegar , Mercer Ellington arr
- Carlo Bohländer , Karl Heinz Holler: Reclams Jazzführer (= Reclams Universal Library. No. 10185). 2nd, revised and expanded edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 1977, ISBN 3-15-010185-9 .
- Richard Cook , Brian Morton : The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings . 8th edition. Penguin, London 2006, ISBN 0-14-102327-9 .
- Don Chapman: Rabbit's Blues - The Life And Music Of Johnny Hodges . Oxford University Press, 2019. ISBN 978-0-19-065390-3
- DUKE ELLINGTON - ISFAHAN - played by Johnny Hodges. Retrieved May 11, 2020 .
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Hodges, John Cornelius (real name); Rabbit (nickname); Jeep (nickname)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||American jazz musician (alto saxophone)|
|DATE OF BIRTH||July 25, 1906|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Cambridge , Massachusetts|
|DATE OF DEATH||May 11, 1970|
|Place of death||New York City , New York|