Various Artists – Johnny Dodds – New Orleans Clarinet (1956)

FrontCover1Johnny Dodds (April 12, 1892 – August 8, 1940) was an American jazz clarinetist and alto saxophonist based in New Orleans, best known for his recordings under his own name and with bands such as those of Joe “King” Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Lovie Austin and Louis Armstrong. Dodds was the older brother of the drummer Warren “Baby” Dodds, one of the first important jazz drummers. They worked together in the New Orleans Bootblacks in 1926. Dodds is an important figure in jazz history. He was the premier clarinetist of his era and, in recognition of his artistic contributions, he was posthumously inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame. He has been described as “a prime architect in the creation of the Jazz Age.”

Dodds was born in Waveland, Mississippi. His childhood environment was a musical one. His father and uncle were violinists, his sister played a melodeon, and in adolescence Johnny sang high tenor in the family quartet. According to legend, his instrumental skill began with a toy flute which had been purchased for his brother, Warren “Baby” Dodds.


He moved to New Orleans in his youth and studied the clarinet with Lorenzo Tio and Charlie McCurdy. He played with the bands of Frankie Duson, Kid Ory, and Joe “King” Oliver. Dodds went to Chicago and played with Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, with which he first recorded in 1923. He also worked frequently with his good friend Natty Dominique during this period, a professional relationship that would last a lifetime. After the breakup of Oliver’s band in 1924, Dodds replaced Alcide Nunez as the house clarinetist and bandleader of Kelly’s Stables. From 1924 to 1930, Dodds worked regularly at Kelly’s Stables in Chicago. He recorded with numerous small groups in Chicago, notably Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven and Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers.


He also recorded prolifically under his own name between 1927 and 1929 for Paramount, Brunswick/Vocalion, and Victor. He became a big star on the Chicago jazz scene of the 1920s, but his career precipitously declined with the Great Depression. Although his career gradually recovered, he did not record for most of the 1930s, affected by ill-health; he recorded only two sessions—January 21, 1938, and June 5, 1940—both for Decca. He died of a heart attack in August 1940, in Chicago.


Known for his professionalism and virtuosity as a musician and his heartfelt, heavily blues-laden style, Dodds was an important influence on later clarinetists, notably Benny Goodman, who stated that no one ever surpassed Dodds in achieving a finer tone with the clarinet. Dodds was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1987.


Several accounts suggest the Dodds brothers did not always get along. When the brothers were young children, Johnny received a clarinet from his father while Baby did not get a drum even though he asked for one. In The Baby Dodds Story, Baby Dodds discusses his jealousy of his older brother when they were children. As they grew up, Johnny refused to let Baby play music with him because Baby was a heavy drinker and Johnny did not drink. When Joe Oliver hired Baby to join his band, Johnny realized how much Baby’s talent as a drummer had grown, however, Johnny changed his mind. Although they continued to argue about Baby’s excessive drinking, they grew closer as brothers and musicians. Baby was greatly affected by his brother’s death. (by wikipedia)


Okay … and here we can hear Johnny Doods with groups and musicians like Jasper Taylor’s State Street Boys, Jimmy Blythe’s Washboard Band, Blind Blake, Junie Cobb’s Hometown Band, Viola Bartlette, State Street Ramblers and Lovie Austin’s Blues Serenaders.

And we hear wonderful music from the very early days of Jazz.

Let´s drink to all these today more or less forgotten fine musicians … Cheers !



Jasper Taylor’s State Street Boys:
Johnny Dodds (clarinet)
Eddy Ellis (trombone)
Natty Dominique (cornett)
Tiny Parham (piano)
Jasper Taylor (washboard)

Jimmy Blythe’s Washboard Band:
Jimmy Blythe (piano)
Buddy Burton (washboard)
Johnny Dodds (clarinet)

Junie Cobb’s Hometown Band:
Jimmy Blythe (piano)
Junie Cobb (saxophone, carillon)
Johnny Dodds (Carillon)
Eustern Woodfork (banjo)

Viola Bartlette & Lovie Austin’s Blues Serenaders:
Lovie Austin (piano)
Viola Bartlette (vocals)
Junie Cobb (clarinet)
Johnny Dodds (clarinet)
Albert Wynn (trombone)

Blind Blake:
Jimmy Bertrand (xylophone)
Blind Blake (guitar)
Johnny Dodds (clarinet)

State Street Ramblers:
Jimmy Bertrand (washboard)
Jimmy Blythe (piano)
Johnny Dodds (clarinet)
Natty Dominique (trumpet)

Lovie Austin’s Blues Serenaders:
Lovie Austin (piano)
Johnny Dodds (clarinet)
Tommy Ladnier (cornet)
Henry Williams (vocals)



Jasper Taylor’s State Street Boys:
01. It Must Be The Blues (Parham) 2.29
02. State Street Blues (Parham) 2.34

Junie Cobb’s Hometown Band:
03. East Coast Troat (Blythe/Stevens) 3.01
04. Chicago Buzz (Blythe/Stevens) 2.49

Viola Bartlette & Lovie Austin’s Blues Serenaders:
05. Walk Easy ‘Cause My Papa’s Here (Cobb) 2.59

Blind Blake:
06. Southbound Rag (Blake) 3.17

Jimmy Blythe’s Washboard Band:
07. Bohunkus Blues (unknown) 2.52
08. Buddy Burton’s Jazz (unknown) 2.33

State Street Ramblers:
09. Cootie Stomp (Clark)
10. Weary Way Blues (Blythe/Minor) 2.54

Lovie Austin’s Blues Serenaders:
11. Chicago Mess Around (
12. Gallion Stomp




Johnny Dodds (April 12, 1892 – August 8, 1940)

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