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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Blue Classic Line
COLEMAN HAWKINS
PORTRAIT

BLUE CLASSIC LINE
Saban Crescendo 7265

 


  1. Perdido
  2. Sweethearts on Parade
  3. And So To Sleep Again
  4. Itís No Sin
  5. Spellbound
  6. Carioca
  7. Lost In a Fog
  8. Midnight Sun
  9. If I Could Be with You (One Hour Tonight)
  10. I Canít Get Started
  11. Ruby
  12. Where Is Your Heart?
  13. Itís Only a Paper Moon
  14. Sih-Sah
  15. Beanís Talking Again
  16. Bah-U-Bah
  17. I Surrender Dear
  18. Sophisticated Lady
  19. My Blue Heaven
  20. Honeysuckle Rose
  21. Organ Grinder Swing

Coleman Hawkins made the tenor saxophone into the leading jazz instrument it is today. He was by far the most accomplished saxophone player of his time. When bebop came along in the 40ís, he was able to adapt and take on the new style with more ease than any of his contemporaries. He had a superb technique and a wonderful sound, which made him instantly recognisable.

This portrait of ĎThe Hawkí is of the period 1949 to 1952; he is recorded with various front line partners Rex Stewart, Tyree Glenn, Benny Harris, Idrees Sulieman, Mathew Gee, Joe Wilder, Nat Peck plus some others who are not named. There are also some quartet sessions in a programme that has a lot of variety and includes many good standards.

Perdido and Sweethearts on Parade have Hawk in a band with Rex Stewart and Tyree Glenn on which there is some nice guitar from Billy Bauer, as usual in these kind of bands Hawk overshadows everyone, even though the other members all play well. Rex Stewart was a fine cornet player, as any Ellington fan will testify he also solos well here.

The next two tracks were made a year later, the first has Hawk in ballad style, showing off his magnificent tone and lyrical style. The tone is shown off to even better effect on track 5, where he plays with an unidentified string section. Similar comments apply to track 7 where he is again featured with strings. But come to think of it, itís true of every track! The sleeve does not identify the vibes player on tracks 9 & 10 but to me it sounds like Lionel Hampton, nobody plays the vibes like Hamp. If it is he doesnít get much chance to play, because Hawk plays all the way through the tracks!

Tracks 13 to 18 were recorded in Paris with a rhythm section that included Kenny Clarke, who was resident in France at that time. Nat Peck plays trombone and the group has a nice light sound. I like all this group of tracks but Sophisticated Lady is a gem, never an easy tune to play, Hawk gives it the full treatment.

The final set of 3 tracks is with Cozy Coleís Big Seven and probably comes from the same session as the first 2 tracks. Very listenable again, Tyree Glennís trombone leading us into an Ellingtonian theme statement on Blue Heaven.

This is excellent tenor sax from one of the all time Ďgreatsí on the instrument. There are a lot of Coleman Hawkins recordings about, the Hawk played for money. If there was a recording session he could make, he would do it, Thankfully the supporting musicians on all these tracks are excellent and the record is worthy of its place on the shelves of any serious jazz collector.

Don Mather

 



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