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Complete Jazz Series 1953 - 1954

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Album Review

On one day in 1954, tenor sax great Coleman Hawkins recorded a dozen selections for the Jazztone label. The original LP had nine of the songs, but now, with the added time of a CD, all 12 have been brought together. Half feature Hawkins with the rhythm section, and most of these are ballads while the hotter numbers add trumpeter Emmett Berry and trombonist Eddie Bert. The music overall is relaxed and swinging, fitting securely in the modern swing mainstream of the mid-'50s. Hawkins sounds reasonably inspired and it is a rare treat to hear the underrated Emmett Berry in this setting.


Born: 21 November 1904 in St. Joseph, MO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

Coleman Hawkins was the first important tenor saxophonist and he remains one of the greatest of all time. A consistently modern improviser whose knowledge of chords and harmonies was encyclopedic, Hawkins had a 40-year prime (1925-1965) during which he could hold his own with any competitor. Coleman Hawkins started piano lessons when he was five, switched to cello at age seven, and two years later began on tenor. At a time when the saxophone was considered a novelty instrument, used in vaudeville...
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