Otto Hardwick
Otto Hardwick

Otto Hardwick Biography (Wikipedia)

Otto James "Toby" Hardwicke (May 31, 1904 – August 5, 1970) was a saxophone player associated with Duke Ellington.

Hardwick started on string bass at the age of 14, then moved to C melody saxophone and finally settled on alto saxophone. A childhood friend of Duke Ellington's, Hardwick joined Ellington's first band in Washington, D. C. in 1919. Hardwick also worked for banjoist Elmer Snowden at Murray's Casino.

In 1923, Ellington, Hardwick, Snowden, trumpeter Arthur Whetsol, and drummer Sonny Greer had success as the Washingtonians in New York. After a disagreement over money, Snowden was forced out of the band and Duke Ellington was elected as the new leader.

They were booked at a Times Square nightspot called the Kentucky Club for three years where they met Irving Mills, who produced and published Ellington's music.

Hardwick occasionally doubled violin and string bass in the 1920s, but specialized on alto sax. He also played clarinet and bass, baritone and soprano saxes.

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