Thanks to Tim Gracyk
Johnny Hodges plays alto saxophone on this recording of Passion Flower and does so like no other player. He was a long time member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Duke said of Johnny Hodges that he was never a showy player but rather a soft lyrical player, and among the best of the Swing Era Alto Sax players. Passion Flower was written by the great Billy Strayhorn. When I first heard this record on Don Brown’s Cobweb Corner, I had to have it. It was recorded in Hollywood, July 3, 1941. It confirms what I’ve always said about Duke Ellington and his musicians, that he was years ahead of everyone else. What this tune reminds me of are the film noir movies of the late 1940’s. I can just see Humphrey Bogart walking down a foggy street in a trench coat with its collar pulled up, a dark fedora hat, and smoking an unfiltered cigarette.