Home » Good Vibe – Aaron Dodd Tube Player – Spreading Tuba Inspiration

Good Vibe – Aaron Dodd Tube Player – Spreading Tuba Inspiration

by M. Cardinal

Aaron Dodd tuba player…

Aaron Dodd tuba player (1948-2010) was incredible with a good vibe. It has been said that there were two tubists at Chicago’s Symphony Center: The one who played inside Orchestra Hall and the one who played outside Orchestra Hall. I learned that for nearly three decades, Aaron Dodd Tuba Player played on probably the toughest block anywhere for a street musician. The home-base of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. That is to say, he was a very inspirational tuba player.

Aaron Dodd tuba player

Aaron Dodd loves jazz

While at Chicago’s Wendell Phillips High School, Aaron Dodd joined the high school band. He began playing many instruments. His twin sister, Linda said, “He could play anything.” Eventually, he decided that his instrument would be the tuba. Roger Rocco, a Chicago-area tuba player, and music educator said, “I first noticed Aaron’s smile in 1964 when we performed in the ten-member tuba section of the Chicago Public Schools All-City High School Band. Aaron’s grin was as wide as the bell of his tuba.”

Very few young musicians had the opportunity to study with Arnold “Jake” Jacobs. Aaron Dodd was thankful to receive “the knowledge” second-hand from Roger Rocco. Subsequently, Aaron met the legendary tuba player of the Chicago Symphony, Arnold Jacobs. He gave him lessons and helped obtain a music scholarship for Aaron to attend Chicago’s Roosevelt University. Aaron Dodd’s love was jazz. He began his professional career in 1968 with “Philip Cohran & The Artistic Heritage Ensemble.” They recorded Malcolm X Memorial (A Tribute In Music) with Pete Cosey, Charles Handy, Don Myrick, Willie Woods, and Aaron Dodd.

A close up of Aaron's tuba player skills, showing us why he is a everyday hero.

Good vibe for a tuba player

Meanwhile, he played for soul singer Donny Hathaway’s debut album, Everything Is Everything recorded in 1969-70. Richard Armandi, a Chicago-area tuba player and jazz artist/clinician said, “I met Aaron just after he recorded with Donny Hathaway. Above all, I always looked up to him in that he was creating a voice for our instrument in genres of music where the tuba wasn’t usually found. In addition, Aaron helped pave the way to make it a sought after and essential part within the ensemble.”

He then joined, “The Pharaohs,” an R&B band. They recorded two albums, The Awakening in 1971, and in 1972, In the Basement. The group disbanded in 1973. Subsequently, in 1975 Aaron recorded with R&B singer Leroy Hutson. He was a respected jazz musician in Chicago and traveled the world. Chicago reed-player and bandleader Mwata Bowden remembers, “He was a respected musician”. Certainly, Aaron was really rewriting the book on the capacity of the tuba.

Difficult times ensued for Aaron Dodd

When this musical everyday hero faced some difficult times. He did not let that stop his desire to express his musical passion through the tuba. Moreover, he became a street musician. Throughout all the difficulties in his life, his one constant was his love of performing. As a result, that love of performing never stopped. Aaron also loved interacting with people.

Aaron Dodd joined the 8 Bold Souls

In 1985, Aaron Dodd joined Edward Wilkerson, Jr., Mwata Bowden, Robert Griffin, Isaiah Jackson, Naomi Millender, Harrison Bankhead, and Dushun Mosley. They became known as “8 Bold Souls” and released four albums. It has been said by many that his talent was never fully recognized. Just ask those folks who stopped to listen on the corner. Aaron told the son of Arnold Jacobs, one day, that his father taught him to love all people. That is to say, putting a smile on each of their faces.

Aaron Dodd was described as a warm, generous person who, in spite of adversities, he found a way to be thankful. He loved to play and see how his passion inspired those around him.

Aaron discussing his passionate tuba player inspiration and good vibe.

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