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Hodges was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts , to John H. Hodges and Katie Swan Hodges, both originally from Virginia . [2] Soon afterwards, the family moved to Hammond Street in Boston , where he grew up with baritone saxophonist Harry Carney , and saxophonists Charlie Holmes and Howard E. Johnson . [2] His first instruments were drums and piano. While his mother was a skilled piano player, Hodges was mostly self-taught. [2] Once he became good enough, he played the piano at dances in private homes for eight dollars an evening. [2] He had taken up the soprano saxophone by his teens. It was around this time that Hodges developed the nickname "Rabbit", which some people believe arose from his ability to win 100-yard dashes and outrun truant officers. In fact, Carney called him Rabbit because of his rabbit-like nibbling on lettuce and tomato sandwiches. [2]


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