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Saturday, 21 November 2015

Coleman Hawkins born 21 November 1904

Coleman Randolph Hawkins (November 21, 1904–May 19, 1969), nicknamed "Hawk" and sometimes "Bean", was the first great tenor soloist in jazz history, Hawkins was, along with Lester Young, one of the two most influential saxophonists of the swing era. His huge, breathy sound, and his brilliant command of harmony ensured a perfect match of emotion and technique in his playing.
Coleman Hawkins was born on November 21, 1904, in St. Joseph, Missouri. His mother, an organist, taught him piano when he was 5; at 7, he studied cello; and for his 9th birthday he received a tenor saxophone. By the age of 12 he was performing professionally at school dances; he attended high school in Chicago, then studied harmony and composition for two years at Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas.
His first regular job, in 1921, was with singer Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds, and he made his first recording with them in 1922. Based in Kansas City, the band played the major Midwestern and eastern cities, including New York, where in 1923 he guest recorded with the famous Fletcher Henderson Band. A year later he officially joined Henderson's band and remained with it until 1934.
From 1934 to 1939 Hawkins lived in Europe. He was guest soloist with the celebrated Jack Hylton Band in England, free-lanced on the Continent, and participated in a number of all-star recording sessions, the most famous of which was a 1937 get-together with the legendary Belgian gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and the great American trumpeter-alto saxophonist Benny Carter.

In 1939 he recorded a seminal jazz solo on the pop standard "Body and Soul", a landmark recording of the Swing Era. It is unique in that virtually the entire recording is improvised, with only in the first 4 bars is the melody stated in a recognizable fashion. It is considered by many to be the next evolutionary step in jazz recording from where Louis Armstrong's "West End Blues" in 1928 left off.

After an unsuccessful attempt to establish a big band he led a combo at Kelly's Stables on Manhattan's famed 52nd Street with Thelonious Monk, Oscar Pettiford, Miles Davis, and Max Roach as sidemen. He was leader on the first ever bebop recording session with Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach in 1943. Later he toured with Howard McGhee and recorded with J. J. Johnson and Fats Navarro. He also toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic. In 1948 Hawkins recorded Picasso, an influential piece for unaccompanied saxophone. After 1948 Hawkins divided his time between New York and Europe, making numerous freelance recordings. In 1950, and again in 1954, he was part of Illinois Jacquet's tour of American service bases. He continued to lead recording groups with such new talented players as Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, J. J. Johnson, and Milt Jackson.
By 1950 the innovations of younger bop musicians had made Hawkins' style seem outdated. In the early 1950s he made a more complete transition to be-bop, working with Roy Eldridge throughout most of the decade. By the late 1950s he was in demand once again, playing numerous jazz festivals and recording with such artists as Thelonious Monk, Max Roach, John Coltrane, and Duke Ellington. In the 1960s he appeared regularly at the Village Vanguard in Manhattan and recorded with Duke Ellington.
By the late 1960s Hawkins' chronic alcoholism had resulted in a deterioration of his health. He collapsed in 1967 while playing in Toronto and again a few months later at a JATP concert. In 1968, on a European tour with the Oscar Peterson Quartet, ill health forced the cancellation of the Denmark leg of the tour. Despite failing health, he continued to work regularly until a few weeks before his death.

He appeared on a Chicago television show with Roy Eldridge early in 1969, and his last concert appearance was on April 20, 1969, at Chicago's North Park Hotel. He died of bronchial pneumonia, complicated by a diseased liver, at New York's Wickersham Hospital on May 19, 1969.
(info edited from Wikipedia &

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Verve Jazz masters 34 – Coleman Hawkins – Go here:

1. Body And Soul (Live (1949/Carnegie Hall)) by Coleman Hawkins 3:24
2. The Big Head by Coleman Hawkins All-Stars 3:20
3. Time On My Hands (Live (1957/Chicago)) by Coleman Hawkins & Roy Eldridge 2:28
4. Rifftide (aka "Disorder At The Border") (Live (1949/Carnegie Hall)) by Coleman Hawkins 4:24
5. Bean And The Boys (Live At The Village Gate, NYC/1962) by Coleman Hawkins 7:02
6. Cocktails For Two by Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins and Oscar Peterson 2:39
7. Hanid by Coleman Hawkins 4:50
8. Just One Of Those Things by Coleman Hawkins All American Four 4:29
9. Only Have Eyes For You [feat. Teddy Wilson] by Coleman Hawkins Quintet 3:09
10. Hallelujah by Coleman Hawkins All American Four 3:58
11. Night And Day by Coleman Hawkins Quartet 3:19
12 . Wonderful [feat. Teddy Wilson] by Coleman Hawkins Quintet 2:56
13. Ill Wind (You're Blowin' Me No Good) by Coleman Hawkins and Oscar Peterson 5:33
14. The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise by Coleman Hawkins and Oscar Peterson 3:47
15. I Wished On The Moon (Stereo Version) by Coleman Hawkins and Oscar Peterson 3:37
16. Picasso by Coleman Hawkins 3:14