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Ultimate Coleman Hawkins

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Album Review

A true connoisseur, Sonny Rollins concentrates almost entirely upon the year 1944 as he selects Coleman Hawkins tracks for this volume in Verve's Ultimate series. In choosing such a narrow time frame, undoubtedly Rollins was paying effusive tribute to the Hawk recordings that he grew up with. Also 1944 was a year of transition for Hawkins, buttressing Rollins' point that Hawkins was an unsung pioneer of modern music, though the progressive Hawk is not on display here. All but three of the selections come from the Keynote collection The Complete Coleman Hawkins, with hot little swing combos containing the likes of Buck Clayton, Roy Eldridge, Teddy Wilson, Earl Hines, Slam Stewart, Sid Catlett and Cozy Cole. The only exceptions to this single-minded concept are the revolutionary 1948 Picasso, the first unaccompanied tenor solo in jazz history, and a pair of warm-blooded Norman Granz-produced tracks from 1957, Like Someone In Love and La Rosita. So this, then, is not very useful as a basic Hawkins collection, though it will do fine as a sampler from the Keynote box, with the surface noise and distortion from the 78s left in. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi


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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Ultimate Coleman Hawkins, Coleman Hawkins
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