Andre Hodeir

b. 22 January 1921, Paris, France. Hodeir studied music formally for many years but also developed a fascination for jazz. In the late 40s he frequently wrote jazz criticism, becoming chief editor of the French magazine Jazz Hot. He also wrote an important book, first published in the USA in 1956 under the title Jazz: Its Evolution And Essence. He played violin and recorded with various jazz groups, including musicians such as Django Reinhardt and Kenny Clarke. However, Hodeir was more interested in composing and writing about jazz and his playing days were thus numbered. From the mid-50s until the end of the 60s he co-led a band, Jazz Groupe De Paris, with Bobby Jaspar, a vehicle for his own compositions. In the 60s he took an interest in third stream music, composing in this hybrid medium. He was also in demand as a composer of music for the soundtracks of motion pictures. By the 80s Hodeir had abandoned composing, channelling most of his energies into writing. From recordings of his work, Hodeir’s composing and arranging talents are evident, although there is much about his composing, especially in third-stream mode, that makes his work less than readily accessible to the general listener. His criticism is also interesting and perceptive although often pugnaciously argumentative and sometimes slightly wrong-headed. Nevertheless, he is always thought-provoking and some of his in-depth analyses are incisive and informed.

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