Rod Cless

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Rod Cless
Birth name Rod Cless
Born (1907-05-20)May 20, 1907
Lenox, Iowa
Died December 8, 1944(1944-12-08) (aged 37)
Genres Jazz
Instruments saxophone
Associated acts Art Hodes
Muggsy Spanier

George Roderick "Rod" Cless (May 20, 1907, Lenox, Iowa – December 8, 1944, New York City) was an American jazz clarinetist and saxophonist, perhaps best known for his work on sixteen Muggsy Spanier tunes[1] for Bluebird Records. Additionally, Cless worked with other artists such as Frank Teschemacher, Charles Pierce, Gene Krupa, Art Hodes, Bobby Hackett, Max Kaminsky and Mezz Mezzrow.


Walking home from the last night of a job at the Pied Piper (where he played alongside his friend Max Kaminsky) in December 1944, Cless fell over the balcony of his apartment building and died four days later at 37.[2][3][4]

Select discography[edit]

With Art Hodes

  • Sittin' In (Blue Note)
  • The Funky Piano Of Art Hodes (Blue Note)
  • Art Hodes And His Chicagoans, The Best In 2 Beat (Blue Note)
  • The Complete Art Hodes Blue Note Sessions (Blue Note)

With Muggsy Spanier

With the Rod Cless Quartet


  1. ^ Rust, Brian, Jazz and Ragtime Records, 1897-1942, Mainspring Press, 2008.
  2. ^ Jazz Lives
  3. ^ AllMusic
  4. ^ Remembering Rod Cless, at Shiraz Socialist, by James McGraw, who presents a January 1945 article from The Jazz Record. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  5. ^ Scott Yanow, review of The Great 16! at Allmusic