Johnny Hodges Day

July 25, 1907 – May 11, 1970

 

On the sunny side of the street

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Alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges was born on July 25, 1906 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Hodges, nicknamed “Rabbit,” taught himself the sax as a teenager. In 1928, he was given his big break playing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, whom he played with the rest of his life.

Hodges’ oft-imitated style became a defining aspect of Ellington’s music and changed the
sound of jazz sax forever.

Ellington described Hodges as having a tone “so beautiful it sometimes brought tears to the eyes.”

Johnny Hodges takes the spotlight during this wonderful 1966 performance “On the Sunny Side of the Street” with the Duke Ellington Octet.

Written by Jimmy McHugh and released in 1930, “On the Sunny Side of the Street” has been covered by greats such as Art Tatum, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Count Basie.

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