Johnny Dodds’ Washboard Band

April 13, 2010

Enthusiasts of old hot jazz would know that Johnny Dodds (pictured perched on piano with King Oliver’s Jazz Band) was the clarinetist for Oliver, Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven and Jelly Roll Morton and His Red Hot Peppers, the recordings of which are some of the finest in jazz history.
Less discussed, however, is Dodds’ work as a bandleader in his own right. I’m a big fan of the arrangements and improvisation in Dodds’ recordings, which are just bursting with a magical energy seldom heard in modern recordings. Soaring clarinet, pounding bass, stride piano, polyphonic horn improv, and Johnny’s brother Baby Dodds – inventor of the kick drum (!) on washboard – what more could you ask for?
My folks had some old 45s of Dodds’ Washboard Band that my brother digitized some years ago. Here are a couple from that batch…


Bull Fiddle Blues – Johnny Dodds’ Washboard Band


Blue Washboard Stomp – Johnny Dodds’ Washboard Band

P.S. For a great hot jazz radio show, check out WAMU’s Hot Jazz Saturday Night with Rob Bamberger

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5 Responses to “Johnny Dodds’ Washboard Band”

  1. Yann Seznec Says:

    I love these recordings. If I remember right from the liner notes on the 78s, they were recorded in the 50’s…at that point Jonny and Baby Dodds were living in Chicago running a taxi business.

  2. Malachy Says:

    Have you seen Robert Crumb’s portrait of Johnny Dodds? Next time you’re on this landmass Corentin, there’ll be a present waiting for you.

    Another fine post. Thanks.


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