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Clarinetist Johnny Dodds
Clarinetist Johnny Dodds

Johnny Dodds (April 12, 1892 – August 8, 1940) was one of the greatest clarinetist of the 1920’s. Although both Jimmie Noone and Sidney Bechet had better technique, Dodds had a very soulful, bluesy style of playing that was often emotionally powerful. He was a master of the New Orleans’ ensemble style of collective improvisation. He didn’t have the flash of Louis Armstrong, but often provided the perfect environment for Armstrong to shine. He worked with most of the major Hot Jazz bands of the era. Dodds was in Kid Ory’s band in New Orleans from 1912 to 1919. He played on riverboats with Fate Marable in 1917 and moved to Chicago in 1921 to play with King Oliver. Johnny and his brother Baby Dodds were an important part of Louis Armstrong’s classic Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings for Okeh. During the 1920’s he also recorded with Oliver’s Creole Jazz BandJelly Roll Morton and on most of Lil Hardin-Armstrong’s sessions. Unlike many of his famous contemporaries, Dodds and his brother stayed in Chicago and were pretty much forgotten as Jazz moved East to New York in the Thirties. He recorded several records under his own name in the Twenties, often with Natty Dominique on trumpet, and worked regularly at Kelly’s Stables from 1924 to 1930. Dodds continued to play and record in Chicago throughout the Thirties, and also ran a cab company with his brothers.

band or session leader

Johnny Dodds TrioJohnny Dodds Washboard Band
Beale Street Washboard BandJohnny Dodds Hot Six
Johnny Dodds’ Black Bottom StompersDodds And Parham
Johnny Dodds and his OrchestraJohnny Dodds And His Chicago Boys

TitleRecording DateRecording LocationCompany
Clarinet Wobble
(Johnny Dodds)
4-21-1927Chicago, IllinoisBrunswick
Oh! Lizzie
(A Lover’s Lament)

(Irving Bibo)
4-21-1927Chicago, IllinoisBrunswick
(Lindsay McPhail / Walter Michaels)
4-21-1927Chicago, IllinoisBrunswick
The New St. Louis Blues
(W.C. Handy)
4-21-1927Chicago, IllinoisBrunswick

accompanied by

Bud ScottGuitar
Lil Hardin-ArmstrongPiano

Johnny Dodds by G.E. Lambert, A.S. Barnes, 1961
The Baby Dodds Story as told to Larry Gara, Louisiana State University Press, 1959
El jazz clásico y Johnny Dodds : su rey sin corona, by José Francisco Riesco, Santiago , 1972


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