Personalities | Johnny Dodds | Twenties | Jazz & Blues
The premier New Orleans clarinetist of the 1920s, Dodds played in Kid Ory’s band from 1912–19 and then alongside Louis Armstrong and his own brother, Warren ‘Baby’ Dodds, in Fate Marable’s riverboat band. Dodds left New Orleans in January 1921 to join King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band in Chicago, taking part in that influential band’s classic 1923 recordings for Gennett.
Dodds played a key role in Armstrong’s legendary Hot Five and Hot Seven sessions from 1925–27, and his virtuoso solos and distinctive, liquid tone also grace recordings by Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers, the New Orleans Wanderers, the Chicago Footwarmers and his own Black Bottom Stompers, featuring Armstrong. He worked regularly in Chicago throughout the 1930s while also running a cab company with Baby Dodds. He led his final session on 5 June 1940, before passing away two months later.
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