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This Week in Texas Music History: John Hardee

Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman remembers a talented musician who traded in the nightclubs for the classroom..

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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Tenor saxophonist John Hardee was born Dec. 20, 1918, in Corsicana. As a teenager, he began playing locally with Dan Carter’s Blue Moon Syncopaters. Hardee went on to attend Bishop College in Marshall but left from 1937 to 1938 to tour with Don Albert’s Band from San Antonio. Hardee eventually returned to Bishop College and graduated with a music degree in 1941. He soon joined the military and was stationed in New York. While there, Hardee recorded for the Blue Note Label and performed at several of New York City’s most popular venues, including the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

In the late 1940s, John Hardee moved back to Texas and taught high school in Dallas until 1976. He emerged from musical retirement long enough to play his final public performance in 1975 at the Nice Jazz Festival in France.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll celebrate one of the state’s most versatile and prolific jazz musicians.