Art Hodes Biography

Arthur W. Hodes, 14 November 1904, Nikoliev, Ukraine, d. 4 March 1993, Harvey, Illinois, USA. A few months after Hodes was born, his family emigrated from Russia and settled in Chicago, Illinois. He began playing piano and by his late teenage years was working in dancehalls and clubs. He played with several local bands, including Wingy Manone’s, but also established himself as a solo performer. For the next 10 years he was active in Chicago, but in 1938 moved to New York, where he played with jazzmen including Joe Marsala, Sidney Bechet and Mezz Mezzrow, continuing into the early 40s. During this time he had his first experience as a radio broadcaster, presenting record shows. He also began to write, and for some years was editor ofJazz Record magazine. He led his own bands for engagements at many clubs and restaurants in and around New York, but at the end of the 40s decided to move back to Chicago.

For the next four decades Hodes led bands, played solo piano, taught, broadcast on radio and television, all in and around Chicago. In the 60s he recorded with Truck Parham and Mama Yancey. Hodes made occasional tours, including trips to Denmark, Europe and Canada, where he worked with Jim Galloway, one of their concerts being recorded and released asLive From Toronto. In the early 80s he appeared again in New York, but he remained true to his adopted home-town. Stylistically, Hodes was strongly rooted in the blues. His knowledge of blues piano and stride, allied to his teaching, writing and demonstration, helped keep the forms alive. In 1977, some of his earlier and perceptive writings forJazz Record were published in book form.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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