Shortly after Johnny Dodd's death Sidney Bechet invited Johnny's brother to join his New Orleans Feetwarmers in a recording honoring Bechet's hometown musical colleague and lifelong friend. Although Baby Dodds pronounced "Blues for You, Johnny," recorded in Chicago on September 6, 1940, a "fine tribute," Down Beat found vocalist Herb Jeffries "from hunger on blues." A more fitting memorial would have been "Wild Man Blues" cut by Bechet a few months previously. Said to be his favorite number, "Wild Man Blues" was recorded by Dodds three times in 1927 and once again in 1938. This study examines Johnny Dodds's style of performance and methods of improvisation by comparing the extant recordings, of which, counting alternate takes, there are six.

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Copyright © Rutgers University's Institute of Jazz Studies. This article first appeared in Annual Review of Jazz Studies 8, 39-62.

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