ISBN-10: 0190653906
ISBN-13: 9780190653903
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date: 09/02/2019
Dimensions: 9.30" L, 6.20" W, 1.10" H

Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges


Price: $29.95


In his eulogy of saxophonist Johnny Hodges (1907-70), Duke Ellington ended with the words, Never the world’s most highly animated showman or greatest stage personality, but a tone so beautiful it sometimes brought tears to the eyes–this was Johnny Hodges. This is Johnny Hodges. Hodges’
unforgettable tone resonated throughout the jazz world over the greater part of the twentieth century. Benny Goodman described Hodges as by far the greatest man on alto sax that I ever heard, and Charlie Parker compared him to Lily Pons, the operatic soprano. As a teenager, Hodges developed his
playing style by imitating Sidney Bechet, the New Orleans soprano sax player, then honed it in late-night cutting sessions in New York and a succession of bands lead by Chick Webb, Willie The Lion Smith, and Luckey Roberts. In 1928 he joined Duke Ellington, beginning an association that would
continue, with one interruption, until Hodges’ death. Hodges’ celebrated technique and silky tone marked him then, and still today, as one of the most important and influential saxophone players in the history of jazz. As the first ever biography on Johnny Hodges, Rabbit’s Blues details his place
as one of the premier artists of the alto sax in jazz history, and his role as co-composer with Ellington.


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One of the most absorbing elements in this book is the wealth of quotes about Hodges from his friends, fellow musicians and musician-admirers. They illuminate the music, the recordings, the style, but tell us little about the inner man. He remains, as Chapman suggests in the Prologue, an enigma,
private to the end. – Max Easterman, Vintage Jazz Mart

Con Chapman's biography of alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges catapults him into the pantheon of timeless jazz immortals...Chapman brings vibrant life to one of jazz's greatest altoists admired by everyone from Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and even Benny Goodman. – Frank Griffith, London Jazz

What's remarkable about Rabbit's Blues is that it's taken this long for this master of the alto saxophone to be so commemorated. Hats off therefore to author Con Chapman for writing about a man whose tone and beautiful playing was unsurpassed during his lifetime and since his 1970 death. Rabbit's
Blues is full of fluid prose, leanly conveyed in 175 pages of easy-to-read enjoyment, complemented by 16 pages of delightful photographs. – Marilyn Lester, New York City Jazz Record

Con Chapman's book is the massively overdue first full-length biography of Hodges and explores indepth his early life, work with Ellington and relationships with saxophone peers as well as corrects long-held mistakes about Hodges' life. – The New York City Jazz Record

Like many brilliant musicians who contributed to the music of jazz immortals, Johnny Hodges' artistry have been woefully ignored. Yet Hodges was an immortal himself, and through scrupulous research and a keen appreciation of Hodges' gifts, Con Chapman has brought us as close to this taciturn
genius as we are likely to get.–Bob Blumenthal, Grammy Award-winning jazz critic

Con Chapman's first-rate Rabbit's Blues catapults the incomparable alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges into the pantheon of jazz immortals. Chapman celebrates Hodges's rise from Cambridge, solo work with Duke Ellington, conciseness of melody, and gorgeous instrumental tone with musicologist precision.
This is a marvelous biography for the ages. Highly recommended!–Douglas Brinkley, Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair of Humanities and Professor of History at Rice University and Grammy Award-winning jazz record producer

The sound of Johnny Hodges was and is one of the landmarks of jazz, not to mention the feeling it conveyed, but he was a man of few words. Here, for the first time, we have a full-fledged portrait of the artist himself.–Dan Morgenstern, Grammy Award-winning jazz critic

It was Johnny Hodges to whom Duke Ellington entrusted his most beautiful melodies. Until now, Hodges has been an enigma to the world - he was famously taciturn and was said to put everything he felt into his saxophone. Con Chapman has managed a miracle in bringing to vibrant life one of jazz's
greatest musicians, admired by Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. Chapman places Johnny Hodges in the midst of American music in the same fashion that Ellington placed him in his musical world.–Loren Schoenberg, Grammy Award-winning jazz historian

Duke Ellington surrounded himself with sidemen whose strong musical personalities were essential to his success. Yet for all their individuality, they lived out their lives in his long shadow–and still do. Now the greatest of them, Johnny Hodges, is the subject of a full-scale biography of his
own, one that tells his story clearly, readably, and in richly rewarding detail. Thanks to Con Chapman, it is possible at last to see Hodges for what he was, a musical giant in his own right whose towering stature was inescapably obscured by the greatness of his boss.–Terry Teachout, author of
Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington

Johnny Hodges' unmistakable sound on alto saxophone was at the heart of the Ellington orchestra for decades. Except for brief periods, Hodges's extraordinary career spanned the long life of the Ellington Orchestra, from when Hodges joined the band in 1928, at the start of its Cotton Club years,
until Duke's death in 1974. Hodges, a reserved person, was nonetheless a perennial crowd-pleaser and poll-winner, and an idol to countless aspiring jazz saxophonists. Con Chapman helps uncover the details of Hodges' personal life, and his ascendance as a prominent jazz soloist with the 'Beyond
Category' Ellington Orchestra, and on his own.–Stephanie Crease, ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award-winning author of Gil Evans: Out of the Cool

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ISBN-10: 0190653906
ISBN-13: 9780190653903
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date: 09/02/2019
Dimensions: 9.30" L, 6.20" W, 1.10" H
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