Art Hodes Day

November 14, 1904 – March 4, 1993

The trad and blues pianist is remembered

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Pianist Art Hodes was born in Nikolayev, Russia, moving with his family to Chicago when he was just a few months old.

He was part of the Chicago jazz scene of the late 1920s although he only recorded two songs, both with Wingy Mannone and Frank Teschemacher.

Hodes stayed in Chicago longer than most of his contemporaries in the jazz world, not moving to New York until 1938.

He became a force in the Dixieland and trad jazz world in the 1940s, recording many sessions as a leader which included blues-oriented piano solos, trios and full bands with some of the top New York players, some from the world of Eddie Condon.

Hodes not only played fine music but wrote about it, most notably for his magazine The Jazz Record for five years in the 1940s, and on many liner notes in later years.

The pianist stuck to the music he loved throughout his long career, moved back to Chicago in the late 1940s, hosted the television series Jazz Alley in the 1960s, and stayed active until his death at age 88.

Art Hodes is featured playing Hoagy Carmichael’s “Washboard Blues” with bassist Rail Wilson and drummer Don DeMichael in the early 1970s.

-Scott Yanow


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