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Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges

Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges - Con Chapman

Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges


In his eulogy of saxophonist Johnny Hodges (1907-70), Duke Ellington ended with the words, "Never the world's most highly animated showman or greatest stage personality, but a tone so beautiful it sometimes brought tears to the eyes--this was Johnny Hodges. This is Johnny Hodges." Hodges' unforgettable tone resonated throughout the jazz world over the greater part of the twentieth century. Benny Goodman described Hodges as "by far the greatest man on alto sax that I ever heard," and Charlie Parker compared him to Lily Pons, the operatic soprano. As a teenager, Hodges developed his playing style by imitating Sidney Bechet, the New Orleans soprano sax player, then honed it in late-night cutting sessions in New York and a succession of bands lead by Chick Webb, Willie "The Lion" Smith, and Luckey Roberts. In 1928 he joined Duke Ellington, beginning an association that would continue, with one interruption, until Hodges' death. Hodges' celebrated technique and silky tone marked him then, and still today, as one of the most important and influential saxophone players in the history of jazz. As the first ever biography on Johnny Hodges, Rabbit's Blues details his place as one of the premier artists of the alto sax in jazz history, and his role as co-composer with Ellington.
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In his eulogy of saxophonist Johnny Hodges (1907-70), Duke Ellington ended with the words, "Never the world's most highly animated showman or greatest stage personality, but a tone so beautiful it sometimes brought tears to the eyes--this was Johnny Hodges. This is Johnny Hodges." Hodges' unforgettable tone resonated throughout the jazz world over the greater part of the twentieth century. Benny Goodman described Hodges as "by far the greatest man on alto sax that I ever heard," and Charlie Parker compared him to Lily Pons, the operatic soprano. As a teenager, Hodges developed his playing style by imitating Sidney Bechet, the New Orleans soprano sax player, then honed it in late-night cutting sessions in New York and a succession of bands lead by Chick Webb, Willie "The Lion" Smith, and Luckey Roberts. In 1928 he joined Duke Ellington, beginning an association that would continue, with one interruption, until Hodges' death. Hodges' celebrated technique and silky tone marked him then, and still today, as one of the most important and influential saxophone players in the history of jazz. As the first ever biography on Johnny Hodges, Rabbit's Blues details his place as one of the premier artists of the alto sax in jazz history, and his role as co-composer with Ellington.
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