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Bean At the Met

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Album Review

This LP (whose contents have been reissued in different settings on CD) features the always adventurous tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins with three different modern groups. The first four selections are the earliest studio recordings of pianist/composer Thelonious Monk, who was clearly happy to be performing in Hawkins' quartet. A date from Dec. 1946, matches Hawkins with such young modernists as trumpeter Fats Navarro, trombonist J.J. Johnson and vibraphonist Milt Jackson on intriguing versions of "I Mean You" and two versions of "Bean and the Boys," showing that Hawk was able to keep up with (and indeed master) the innovations of bebop. He is also heard on two ballad showcases and in a less memorable but still enjoyable 1949 date with a variety of French musicians, plus drummer Kenny Clarke, that is highlighted by a pair of blues.

Biography

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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