Johnny Hodges was an American alto saxophonist, best known for solo work with Duke Ellington's big band. He is considered one of the definitive alto saxophone players of the big band era (alongside Benny Carter). Benny Goodman described Hodges as "by far the greatest man on alto sax that I ever heard."He had a pure tone and economy of melody on both the blues and ballads that won him admiration from musicians of all eras and styles, from Ben Webster and John Coltrane, who both played with him when he had his own orchestra in the 1950s, to Lawrence Welk, who featured him in an album of standards. His highly individualistic playing style, which featured the use of a wide vibrato and much sliding between slurred notes, was frequently imitated.