Johnny Bothwell

Johnny Bothwell
  • Born
    May 23, 1917
    Gary, Indiana
  • Died
    1955

Alto saxophonist Johnny Bothwell worked variously for Paul Jordan, Bob Chester, Gene Krupa, Woody Herman, Sonny Dunham, and Tommy Dorsey in the early 1940s before finding a home in Boyd Raeburn’s new outfit in 1944. Bothwell served as one of Raeburn’s featured soloists until 1945 when a dispute over direction and material forced him to leave. He briefly worked with Krupa again before forming a short-lived sextet.

In 1946, Bothwell put together his own band. The new group recorded on the Signature label and featured ex-Raeburn singers Don Darcy and Claire Hogan, Bothwell’s wife, as vocalists. Bothwell had previously recorded under his own name in 1944 using members of Raeburn’s orchestra.

Featuring adventurous jazz along the lines of Charlie Ventura and Stan Kenton, Bothwell’s band struggled for commercial acceptance, and by early 1948 he had called it quits. He remained active for the next couple of years, putting together small groups and orchestras for various occasions, but by 1950 had left the music business altogether. He moved to Connecticut where he became a salesman for General Electric. He later operated his own photography business in Florida. Bothwell suffered a stroke in the mid-1980s and passed away in 1995.

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  • I'll Close My Eyes
    Johnny Bothwell (Don Darcy), Signature (1947)

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