Aaron Dodd (1948-2010) was an incredible tuba player 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 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’s love was jazz
While at Chicago’s Wendell Phillips High School, Aaron 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 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.
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
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 joined the 8 Bold Souls
In 1985, Aaron 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 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.
This tuba player’s good vibe never let health issues stop him
Friends and family say that Aaron was eventually confined to a wheelchair. But, despite the weather, rain or shine, Aaron would strap his tuba to the back of his wheelchair. Then, board a city bus downtown and roll himself to Symphony Center. In 2008, he told the Chicago Tribune, “The music is the way I exist. I get pleasure from playing, especially at night. Seeing people walking, hand in hand, smiling, so happy.” Aaron was truly a tuba inspiration.
His serious diagnosis of pulmonary disease did not stop him. Aaron continued to play as long as he could. He passed away on June 17, 2010 at the age of 62. “He loved being a musician and he just breathed music,” said his sister, Linda Dorsey.
In conclusion, our everyday hero, Aaron Dodd, was a fine musician and a great entertainer. Giving off good vibes with his passion for music and love of performing. He felt music was an art to live for, his life force. He loved people and loved being a showman. Thank you, Aaron. To sum it up, Aaron loved to share his tuba inspiration.
Video Production: Rocko Productions
Review Written By: M. Cardinal
Date Written: Mar 24th, 2020
Good Vibe FAQs
Vibes are the emotional signals a person gives out to those around them with their body language and social interactions. An example of good vibes is a happy person smiling and having a positive effect on those around them.
Focus of positives.
Soak up the good things around you.
Have Fun in everything you do.
Do Something Nice for Another Person.
Smile and laugh.
Expressions of thanks, gratitude, and appreciation, along with a sincere interest in others’ lives—and warm smiles—all send forth positive energy. The more positive emanations you send people, the more they will feel appreciated, and appreciate you in return.
Slang. A distinctive positive emotional quality or atmosphere that is sensed or experienced by someone: an entertainer who gave off a good vibe. Origin of vibe. Short for vibration.