Spend any time discussing music with John Goddard – even five minutes – and the subject of his preference for tunes recorded before 1960 inevitably arises.
So when he decided to focus on jazz for this year’s , his annual night of musical video clips for the , he naturally drifted to pre-1960s jazz.
“My taste in jazz ends in 1960,” says the 67-year-old Goddard, who closed his legendary Village Music store four years ago. “I was a late starter to begin with, as I discovered Billie Holiday in the late 1950s and for many years that was the only jazz artist I’d ever listened to.”
That means there won’t be much fodder for fans of contemporary jazz and the jazz-rock fusion that came in the 1970s. But it also means that Goddard leaves plenty of room for the pioneers of jazz, namely Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington. Goddard’s love for Holiday ensures he’ll focus on vocalists.
The Hi De Ho Show spawned from Goddard's regular video shows at Village Music during the festival's early days, and were named after the famous song by Cab Calloway, the model for Village Music's logo. Goddard's first video show for the festival occurred 16 years ago at the . Its theme was simple: his favorite artists, with his affinity for them being the only thread between them, from Holiday and Frank Sinatra to George Jones and Hank Williams, with some Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley thrown in for good measure.
As usual, Goddard plans for this year’s show include a number of lesser-known figures such as Lucky Millinder, a successful big band leader in the 1940s even though he couldn’t read or write music, did not play an instrument and rarely sang, as well as Tiny Grimes, who played the four-string tenor guitar.
But more than anything, Goddard likes to spotlight compelling video, so while he won’t get to legends like Miles Davis and Chet Baker, for whom he doesn’t have access to great video, he will expose the audience to musical figures they likely don’t know much about.
“It’s not a really a comprehensive history,” he says. “It’s personal favorites and cool videos. I’m not teaching a course on jazz, that’s for sure,” he says.
Goddard continues to open up his jam-packed storage area behind on Sunnyside Avenue on Saturday afternoons for his longtime friends and buyers to sift through, a ritual he says gets him out of the house
“I still really enjoy it and it’s a great way of staying in contact with people,” he says.