'The Mysterious Rabbit' (accompanying Blue Light 26-4)

Bob Wilber’s exemplar tunes from his talk at Ellington ’88 in Oldham.

In Blue Light Volume 26 Issue 4, we printed an article on Bob Wilber’s keynote speech about Johnny Hodges at the Ellington ’88 Conference in Oldham. Titling his speech “The Mysterious Rabbit”, Mr Wilber’s spoke of the early influences on Johnny Hodges as well as four distinct phases of Johnny Hodges’ musical development. He included sixteen audio examples to demonstrate the different phases to the audience.

To accompany the article in Blue Light, we have sourced all of the recordings and have placed them in a Spotify playlist. The tunes have been arranged in their original sequence and headings have been added to help organise them for those that do not have Blue Light 26-4 in hand.

A full video of the talk can be found on the website of our friends at the Duke Ellington Society of Sweden.

Missing from the video and the transcription in Blue Light, but unearthed from another source just just after going to press:

I’d like to mention that this is a set of thirty-two tapes of Johnny Hodges that was made up for me by my dear friend Derek Webster from his own private collection; probably one of the great Hodges collections in the world.

Bob Wilber

Early Influences on Johnny Hodges:

Cake Walking Babies, African Jungle, Give Me Your Telephone Number

The Hot Period in the 1920s:

Syncopated Shuffle, Flaming Youth

The Romantic Period in the 1930s:

I’ll Get By, These ‘N’ That ‘N’ Those, I Cried For You, On The Sunny Side Of The Street

The Exotic Period in the 1940s:

Moon Mist, Squatty Roo, Whispering Grass

The Funky Period from the 1950s and beyond:

Big Fat Alice’s Blues, Something To Pat Your Foot To, Wings And Things, Funky Blues