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Johnny Hodges

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“Pure artistry” is how Duke Ellington described the expressive quality and “unique tonal personality” that characterized Johnny Hodges’s playing. A largely self-taught musician who took up the soprano and alto saxophones in his early teens, Hodges became a protégé of jazz saxophonist Sidney Bechet. After accepting Ellington’s invitation to join his orchestra in 1928, Hodges quickly distinguished himself as a soloist. With a style deeply rooted in the blues, he produced a meltingly smooth and sensuous tone that Ellington likened to “poured honey.” Among the many works in Ellington’s repertoire to showcase Hodges’s talent were “Jeep’s Blues” (1938) and “I’m Beginning to See the Light” (1944)—co-written by Ellington and Hodges—and the hauntingly beautiful “Isfahan” from the Far East Suite (1966). With the exception of a brief hiatus to lead his own small ensembles (1951–55), Hodges remained with Ellington’s orchestra for the rest of his life.“Puro arte”. Así describió Duke Ellington la calidad expresiva y la “personalidad tonal única” que caracterizaban el estilo de Johnny Hodges. Músico más que nada autodidacto, Hodges optó por los saxofones soprano y alto en su temprana adolescencia, pasando a ser el protegido del saxofonista Sidney Bechet. Luego de aceptar la invitación de Ellington para unirse a su orquesta en 1928, Hodges se destacó muy pronto como solista. Con un estilo bien enraizado en el blues, producía un tono sensual y fluido que embelesaba al público y que Ellington comparaba a un “hilo de miel”. Entre las muchas obras del repertorio de Ellington donde brilla el...
Type:
Image
Format:
Selenium Toned Gelatin Silver Print
Created Date:
1958 (Printed 1998)
Rights:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
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Record Contributed By

National Portrait Gallery

Record Harvested From

Smithsonian Institution