Johnny Dodds, 1892-1940

* A short biography of the greatest clarinetist in the area of traditional jazz.
* Read about the experiences of Johnny's son, John Dodds II, during the rehearsals of King Oliver's Jazz Band in the dining-room of Dodds' residence.
* You can also take a look on a chronological list of all Dodds' recordings.
* Music sheets of Dodds' clarinet solos and midi files for clarinetists.
* If you are interested in the music, all these Dodds' recordings are available as mp3-files on one CD, too.


Johnny Dodds John M. Dodds was born in 16th of February, 1892 in New Orleans, Louisiana. When in his early teens his father bought him his first clarinet. When Jazz was developing in that city Dodds' early experience was with such legendary bands as Eagle and Tuxedo. Then for a period of some six years, beginning when he was about 19, he worked under the leadership of the famous trombonist, Kid Ory.
By 1920 Johnny Dodds left New Orleans for good joining King Oliver's Jazz Band. The band travelled to California in the summer of 1921 staying there for nearly a year.
With the 'Albert' clarinet In Chicago, 1923, began the chain of recordings, first with Oliver and Armstrong and then with numerous famous artists of the time. He played in many small bands and led his own groups, too. The recording phase which lasted for six years and produced over 250 sides with nearly all jazz talents of those days.

After the Wall Street Crash in the '30s, Johnny was soon in difficulties like so many other musicians, but he continued to play in small groups whenever there was a change. He didn't record again until 1938. The renewed popularity of the New Orleans-style in 1940 worked in his favor but his health was deteriorating rapidly and he died on August 8, 1940, still not fifty years old.

All the horns Johnny Dodds is my favourite clarinetist - the thing - that made me collect nearly all his recordings during the years, 1957 onwards. Juhani Piha, the banjoist in our band, has been the main master on this record-gathering hobby. That's why we nowadays own nearly all recordings where Johnny Dodds is featuring. There are still some to be found.
I have put all these recordings as a html-file here for those who may be interested.
Go to my home page.