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Baby Dodds

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Warren “Baby” Dodds (December 24, 1898–February 14, 1959) was a jazz drummer born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“Baby” Dodds was the younger brother of clarinetist Johnny Dodds. He is regarded as one of the very best jazz drummers of the pre-Big band era, and one of the most important early jazz drummers. Dodds was among the first drummers to improvise while performing: varying his drum patterns with accents and flourishes.

Dodds gained reputation as a top young drummer in New Orleans, then worked on Mississippi River steamship bands with young Louis Armstrong. He moved to California in 1921 to work with Joe “King” Oliver there, and followed Oliver to Chicago, Illinois, which would be his base of operations. He recorded with Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Art Hodes, and his brother Johnny. In the late 1940s he worked at Jimmy Ryan’s in New York City. On some of his trips back to New Orleans he recorded with Bunk Johnson. He died in Chicago in 1959.

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