Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Johnny Hodges
Artist:Johnny Hodges w/Duke Ellington Orchestra
Song:Things Ain't What They Used To Be
Album:Passion Flower 1940-46
Alto sax player Johnny Hodges spent most of his career as a main soloist for Duke Ellington and was one of the most respected and influential musicians in jazz history. He really didn't record as a leader much. He was born July 25, 1907 in Cambridge, MA. As a teen, he was taught soprano sax by the legendary Sidney Bechet but soon switched to alto. Early in his career he played with Bechet, Chick Webb & Willie "The Lion" Smith. But Hodges career really began when he joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1928. He quickly became one of Ellington's most important soloists. Ellington usually wrote and arranged material for specific soloists and Hodges was one of his favourites. Hodges remained with Ellington through the 40s and this RCA/Bluebird comp covers that period. Things Ain't What They Used To Be is one of several Ellington tracks featuring Hodges. It also has several tracks from sessions Hodges recorded as a leader for Bluebird in 1940-42. Johnny Hodges left Duke Ellington in 1951 to lead his own band. He recorded for Norman Granz' Norgran label. But he wasn't successful and returned to Ellington just in time for their triumphant 1956 Newport Jazz Festival performance. Hodges remained with Ellington until his death on May 11, 1970 at age 62. Consider this an opportunity to become more familiar with one of the unknown legends of jazz. Here's Johnny Hodges with the Duke Ellington Orchestra performing Things Ain't What They Used To Be in the mid-60s.