Jazz Artist of the Week
Johnny Hodges "Rabbit"
Johnny Hodges grew up in Boston and moved to New York in 1924. He joined Duke Ellington's band in 1928 and would continue in that ensemble off and on for his entire career. He had a pure tone and economy of melody on both the blues and ballads that won him admiration from musicians of all eras and styles, from Ben Webster to John Coltrane, who both played with him when he had his own orchestra in the 1950s. His highly individualistic playing style, which featured the use of a wide vibrato and much sliding between slurred notes, was frequently imitated. Benny Goodman described Hodges as "by far the greatest man on alto sax that I ever heard."