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Otto Hardwick

Toby Hardwick
Otto J. Hardwick

Baritone Saxophonist, Bass Saxophonist, Clarinetist, Violinist, Composer

(1904 - 1970)

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The Washingtonians at redhotjazz...


CD--Ellington, 1927-28 at answer...
CD--"The Duke Steps Out" at musi...
Book--"Reminiscing in Tempo" at ...


Video at youtube.com
Toby Hardwick got his start with Duke Ellington in 1919. Although he and Ellington were five years apart in age, they had known each other for years, growing up just one block apart. Hardwick enjoyed the excitement of the band’s early days playing in Duke’s Serenaders, on-call musicians providing music for parties and country club affairs. In 1923, after several attempts, Ellington, Hardwick, banjoist Elmer Snowden, trumpeter Arthur Whetsol, and drummer Sonny Greer found success as the Washingtonians in New York. They were booked at the Kentucky Club for three years where they would eventually meet Irving Mills, the man who would become their promoter.

In 1933 Hardwick left Duke Ellington and His Orchestra to travel. In Europe he supported himself playing in bands, notably with Noble Sissle and Sidney Bechet in Paris. Returning to the United States, Hardwick played with Chick Webb and Elmer Snowden and then led his own band with Fats Waller leading the rhythm section. Tiring of leadership responsibilities, Hardwick returned to Ellington in 1932.

Although Johnny Hodges was now the featured saxophone player, Hardwick continued to contribute to the Ellington legacy. According to author James Lincoln Collier in his biography Duke Ellington, “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Sophisticated Lady,” and “Prelude to a Kiss,” are adaptations of Hardwick melodies. Ellington and Hardwick’s association came to an end in 1946 when the two had words over Hardwick’s girlfriend, a woman Ellington disliked. Hardwick went on to freelance for a short time and then retired from the music business altogether.

- Jeremy Wilson

Duke's Joint

Duke Ellington

Vol. 1: 1924-1929 - The Alternative Takes

Duke Ellington Hardwick on sax

Early Ellington: Complete Brunswick Recordings

Duke Ellington Hardwick on sax


Duke Ellington Hardwick on sax

The Duke Steps Out

Duke Ellington Hardwick on sax
Reading and Viewing

At Amazon.com you can often buy used for a fraction of the new price

James Lincoln Collier

Duke Ellington

Oxford University Press

Stanley Dance

The World of Duke Ellington

Da Capo Press

(Includes numerous references and a seven page chapter on Hardwick)

Stuart Nicholson

Reminiscing In Tempo: A Portrait of Duke Ellington

Northeastern University Press

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