Otto Hardwick

May 31, 1904 - August 5, 1970

Started on string bass at the age of 14, worked with Carroll's Columbia Orchestra (1920), then switched to 'C' melody sax. Began gigging with Duke Ellington in and around Washington, also worked for Elmer Snowden at Murray's Casino, Washington (1922). Went to New York with Duke Ellington in 1923 and shared many of that leader's early experiences, including week with Wilber Sweatman (March 1923) and residencies with Elmer Snowden, occasionally doubled violin and string bass in the mid-1920's, but specialised on alto sax. Worked regularly with Duke Ellington until the spring of 1928. Went to Paris, worked in band led by bassist John Ricks, led own band and played briefly with Noble Sissle and Nekka Shaw's Orchestra before returning to New York. Brief stint with Chick Webb (1929), then led own band at the "Hot Feet" Club, New York (1930), subsequently led at Small's then worked with Elmer Snowden before rejoining Duke Ellington in the spring of 1932. Except for brief absences he remained with Duke until May 1946. Subsequently retired from music, worked in hotel management, also ran own farm in Maryland. (from Who's Who of Jazz Storyville to Swing Street - by John Chilton)

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