Monday, September 29, 2014

Johnny Dodds: Clarinet Wobble

Clarinettist Johnny Dodds was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1892. Johnny Dodds was one of the greatest jazz clarinetists of the Twenties and he possessed a very soulful and emotional style of playing. Dodds and Louis Armstrong complimented each other perfectly when the two musicians worked together in King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band and later in Armstrong’s Hot Five and Seven recording bands.

Dodds played in many of the leading jazz bands of the classic jazz era. Dodds played in Kid Ory’s band in New Orleans from 1912 to 1919, and like Armstrong, he played on riverboats with Fate Marable before moving to Chicago in 1921 to play with King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band. Dodds also lent his fine clarinet chops to Jelly Roll Morton’s band, The Red Hot Peppers. Dodds appeared on most of Armstrong’s classic Hot Five recordings and recorded numerous excellent sides under his own during the Twenties.

The best of Dodds’ solo recordings include, “Clarinet Wobble,” “Wild Man Blues,” and “Piggly Wiggly.” Dodds continued to play and record in Chicago throughout the Thirties, and also ran a taxi cab company with his brother, drummer Baby Dodds, until his death in 1940.

 The 2009 compilation, “The Complete Johnny Dodds,” is the best collection of his works. Dodds is also included on “The Chronological Classics: Johnny Dodds” series from 1991/1992.

Johnny Doods (third from right) with the Fate Marable  Band