(1898 - 1959)
got his start playing in parades in New Orleans, occasionally with Frankie Dusen's Eagle Band.
He played briefly with his brother in Kid Ory's Band, but was embarrassed when all the
musicians walked off stage because of his poor playing. This incident spurred him on to
become a better musician.
He played in several other bands in New Orleans before joining Fate Marable's riverboat band
in 1918. While working on the riverboat he played with Louis Armstrong, Johnny St. Cyr,
Pops Foster, among others. He stayed in Marable's band until King Oliver asked him to join
his band in San Francisco in 1921. Dodds followed Oliver to Chicago and was the drummer in
King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band. After the breakup of that band Dodds worked with Honore
Dutrey at the Dreamland in Chicago and with several other bands in the city.
From 1927 to 1929 Baby Dodds played in his brother's band at Kelly's Stables along with
Freddie Keppard. He was the drummer on many of the classic Chicago Jazz recordings of
Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers and Louis Armstrong's Hot Seven. Throughout the
Depression, Baby played in many of the small groups led by his brother Johnny Dodds and
helped run a taxi cab company in Chicago. When his brother died in 1940, he went on to play
with Jimmie Noone and with Bunk Johnson. After 1949 Dodds had a series of strokes that left
him partially paralyzed, but still managed to play from time to time up until his death in 1959.
King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band
Honore Dutrey - Baby Dodds - King Oliver - Louis Armstrong -
Lil Hardin-Armstrong - Bill Johnson - Johnny Dodds
Baby Dodds, Honoré Dutrey, Bil Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds,
Lil Hardin-Armstrong. Sitting in the foreground: King Oliver
Baby Dodds, Jimmy Noone and Roy Eldridge at the 3 Deuces Chicago 1940
Baby Dodds with Marty Marsala and Bunty Pendelton