Baby Dodds

20th century drummers'
hall of fame

Warren "Baby" Dodds

listen to Baby

Mr. Jelly Lord
Baby Dodds on brushes with Jelly Roll Morton

Best record to buy:

Johnny Dodds - Wild Man Blues: His 24 Greatest 1923-1940 This CD spans the bulk of Baby's career as well as his brother Johnny's, including early tracks on which he can be heard as an essential sideman with King Oliver, Louis Armstrong's Hot Seven, and Jelly Roll Morton. Baby also plays great washboard on this CD.

He took his first drum lessons at the age of fourteen with Dave Perkins, he then studied with Walter Brundy and Louis Cottrell. Baby knew the rudiments, and represents the transition from the New Orleans marching band to the drumset player's setup we know today. Before dodds, there were three drummers: on bass, snare and cymbals.

1910's: Dodds played drums in New Orleans parade and jazz bands

1918-21 he played in Fate Marable's riverboat bands, up and down the Mississippi.

1922 he went to San Francisco to join King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band. Dodds recorded with Oliver in Chicago the following year, and before the end of the decade, he appeared on classic recordings with other ex-New Orleans small-group leaders such as Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Baby's brother Johnny Dodds. He also played in Johnny's bands during the 1920s and '30s; during the 1940s traditional jazz revival, he was active in New York City as well as in Chicago, including a period with Bunk Johnson's popular band (1944-45). Poor health led Dodds to perform only irregularly after 1949. 

The Baby Dodds Story
by Baby Dodds as told to Larry Gara

This autobiography was originally released in 1959, the year Baby dodds passed away. It's an interesting look into the mind of a legendary figure in the history of jazz. Click on the link or the picture to buy it at AMAZON.

More great sound samples at John Petters' baby dodds page at traditional-jazz.com


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