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Bean Soup

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Album Review

This nifty little volume offers a view of Coleman Hawkins at another peak in his own powers just before the turn of bebop. These 23 sides were recorded between 1940-1945, and found Hawkins leading groups with sidemen such as Tiny Grimes, Roy Eldridge, Buck Clayton, Cozy Cole, Sid Catlett, Sir Charles Thompson, Howard McGhee, Art Tatum, and others. Since some of these sides are from 78s, and still others are from radio transcriptions, the quality varies a bit, but generally it ranges from good to very good. The material is quite solid all the way through and some of these performances are simply incendiary — check the title track, "Cattin' at Keynote," "A Shanty in Old Shanty Town," and the gorgeous reading of "Stardust." The price point on this set is fair if not excellent, and the notes are quite satisfactory.


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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