Johnny Hodges & Léon Thomas & Oliver Ne…
The paths of Johnny Hodges (John Cornelius "Johnny" Hodges, nicknames: "Rabbit", "Jeep". b. July 25, 1906, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, d. May 11, 1970) and Duke Ellington are eternally intertwined. ...show more
The paths of Johnny Hodges (John Cornelius "Johnny" Hodges, nicknames: "Rabbit", "Jeep". b. July 25, 1906, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, d. May 11, 1970) and Duke Ellington are eternally intertwined.
While Hodges is now universally acknowledged as one of the seminal alto saxophonists in jazz he was, at times, overlooked as an artist in his own right; somehow hidden in the penumbra of The Duke Ellington Orchestra, of which Mr. Hodges was the lead alto for many decades (doubling on soprano saxophone in the '30's and '40's as well). Hodges was apparently aware of this effect, leaving the Ellington orchestra in the 1950's, to be replaced by the stellar alto man, Willie Smith, formerly the lead alto star of the Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra. This situation somehow benefitted neither Ellington or Hodges, with the Ellington orchestra losing a certain luster despite Mr.
Smith's excellence, and with major stardom just beyond Mr. Hodges' reach. Luckily for the listener the recordings Mr. Hodges left behind as a leader, while arguably eluding stardom for the artist at the time, are nonpareil examples of relaxed swing, subtle inflection and perfect phrasing, peerless tone and seemingly effortless technique. ...show less
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