Johnny Hodges Biography

johnny-hodgesAn Oklahoma City native, Johnny Hodges started his musical journey at the ripe old age of nine. He started playing violin originally but found that trumpet was the instrument he was really meant to play by the end of his 5th grade year. He went on to help his high school jazz ensemble win the state competition 3 out of the 4 years he was there and then attended Central State University on the coveted Alumni Scholarship. That was where his knowledge of the trumpet and his appreciation of jazz really took off. He studied with Dr. Kent Kidwell and Mr. Lee Rucker there and learned a tremendous amount about Jazz and Big Band playing through their teaching.  He was also fortunate enough to play and attend school with Paul Stephens, Vince Norman, Clyde Conners, David Anderson, John Moak, David Gibson, Brett Barlow, Eric Leonard, Brian Gorrel and many others.

Johnny spent time in and around the Oklahoma City area freelancing and then in 1991 went out to perform on the Crown Princess for Princess Cruise Lines. He then moved to Carnival Cruise Lines where he spent the next 11 years, ending his time there as the Senior Musical Director in the fleet.

After Carnival Cruise Lines, Johnny re-united with long time friend Rob Slowik who was and is the Musical Director for The Big Apple Circus. Johnny has been with the circus since 2003 to present and recorded the TV documentary "CIrcus" during that time. "Circus" is a 6hr candid look at life with The Big Apple CIrcus and how that life unfolds over the course of a season. 

Over the years, Johnny has been lucky enough to perform with many different musical greats in many different fields such as Frankie Valli, Martin Short, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers, Johnny Mathis, Paul Anka, Marvin Hamlisch, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The O-Jays, Little Anthony and The Imperials, The Four Freshmen, The Lettermen, The Brooklyn Bridge, Vic Damone, Regis Philbin, Kathy Lee Gifford, Connie Francis, Clark Terry, Doc Severnson, Ashley Alexander, Barney Kessel, Joe Davis, Dennis Edwards, Diane Schuur, Joe Williams, KoKo Taylor, Flashpoint, Roy Clark, Buck Owens, Joe Suttlemire, etc....

Johnny was also fortunate enough to perform for 2 Presidents, 2 Vice Presidents and the Senate and the House of Representatives. He played a national tour of “Bye Bye Birdie" performing in 41 states in 1992. Johnny has since played with several national tours including "The Drowsy Chaperone", "Camelot"," South Pacific", "The Color Purple", "Chorus Line" and others...  Johnny also played lead trumpet on the premier of a brand new musical entitled “Steppin’ out” written by Kevin McAfee. It was one of only three performances allowed in President’s Park each year. He has worked with Mr. McAfee on several recording projects since then.

Johnny currently lives in Kissimmee, FL with his wife KJ, and daughter, Shelby. He plays trumpet and freelances around the NYC and Orlando, Fl. Areas.  While in FL he can often be seen playing with the Craig Turley Orch through out Central Florida.

Johnny is currently endorsed by Sonare/Blessing Trumpets and by Warburton Mouthpieces. He plays on his own model, the "JH" mouthpiece, designed in conjunction with Terry Warburton and Kenny Titmus.

He also owns and plays the following trumpets: a Fides Symphonique, a Roger Ingram model 1600i Jupiter, a Calicchio 3/9L Freddie Hubbard Model and a Conn Vintage One designed by Fred Powell. He also uses equipment by Austin Winds.

This recording..... "Yeah.....About That" is Johnny's first solo recording.