Coleman Hawkins

1904 - 1969

tenor Saxophone

The "Grand Old Man" of the Tenor Saxophone Coleman Hawkins (Born Nov. 21, 1904, in St. Joseph) has been an influential figure in Jazz from the 20s until his death in 1969. He was, until the arrival of Lester Young, the only great tenor sax player in Jazz music. Hawkins had a large, heavy, sound that was far different from Young's lighter, cooler tone. Hawkins became deeply involved in the bop revolution of the mid-40s, and his playing provided the improvisational foundation with his small combos on 52nd Street. Since 1943 when his sextet included trumpeter Benny Harris and pianist Thelonious Monk, he has employed such greats as trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Fats Navarro and drummer Max Roach, among others. However to many boppers his heavy big sound was out of fashion. During the hard bop years immediately following the bebop period, the deep and heavy Hawkins-style was resoted to favour.
Hawkins began his jazz career in his teens as member of Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds in 1921. He then joined Fletcher Henderson in 1924, spending a decade in the band that included Louis Armstrong. It was there that he established himself as a star soloist." In 1934, Hawkins left for a five-year stay in Europe. With his return to the United States in 1939, and the resulting recording of "Body and Soul", which became an all-time Jazz classic, Hawkins re-established his supremacy in the jazz tenor sax ranks. Although moving into the role of elder statesman in the '50s, Hawkins continued to test himself, and in mid-1963 recorded with the forward-looking group of Sonny Rollins for RCA. He also worked with Duke Ellington and Jazz At The Philharmonic in the '60s.
Go to Coleman Hawkins' page at emusic for free MP3 downloads
Recommended recordings
Body and Soul BMG/RCA
The Genius of Coleman Hawkins Verve 825-673
The Hawk Flies High OJC 27-2 - Riverside 233
Hawk in Hi-Fi BMG/RCA
The Hawk Relaxes OJC 420-2 - Moodsville 15
Soul OJC 96-2 - Prestige 7149
Night Hawk OJC 420-2 / Swingville 2016
Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster Verve 823-120
At Ease with Coleman Hawkins OJC
Rainbow Mist Delmark
Hawk Talk Tradition
Blues for Rampart Street (with Ida Cox) OJC
Supreme Enja
Compact Jazz: Coleman Hawkins & Ben Webster Verve 833-296
Body and Soul RCA
The Hawk Returns WEA/Savoy Jazz
The Tenor for All Seasons Jazz Classics
The Hawk in Europe ASV
In a Mellow Tone OJC 6001
Desafinado: Bossa Nova and Jazz Samba Universal/Impulse
Today and Now Universal/Impulse
Hollywood Stampede Capitol
Retrospective 1929-1963 Bluebird
With the Red Garland Trio OJC/ Swingville
Body and Soul Revisited Universal/Grp