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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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COLEMAN HAWKINS

Three Classic Albums Plus

Avid AMSC 1025

 

 


CD1
Bean Bags
1. Close Your Eyes
2. Stuffy
3. Don't Take Your Love From Me
4. Get Happy
5. Sandra's Blues
6. Indian Blues
The Genius Of Coleman Hawkins
7. I'll Never Be The Same
8. You're Blas‚
9. I Wished On The Moon
10. How Long Has This Been Going On
11. Like Someone In Love
12. My Melancholy Baby
13. Ill Wind
14. In A Mellow Tone
15. There's No You
16. The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise

CD2
1. Somebody Loves Me
2. Blues For Rene
Night Hawk
3. Night Hawk
4. There Is No Greater Love
5. In A Mellow Tone
6. Don't Take Your Love From Me
7. Pedalin'
The Newport Jazz Festival July 3, 1959
8. A Smooth One
9. Sweet Sue
Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge at the Opera House
10. Kerry

 

The word "genius" should not be bandied about in a cavalier fashion. However in the case of Coleman Hawkins, it may well be appropriate. In this Avid double-CD release, Coleman Hawkins is featured in a variety of settings with several groups of stellar musicians, so that the listener can't help but come away with the judgement that Hawkins displays durable exuberance and imagination that makes him a saxophone virtuoso.

CD1 starts off with a brilliant meeting between Hawkins and Milt Jackson, who are supported by what can only be considered an all-star quartet of Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Burrell, Eddie Jones and Connie Kay. While Jackson and Hawkins had recorded together many years previously, this was their first endeavour as co-leaders. With a mixture of standards and a couple of Jackson original compositions, the session is a swinging affair of refined elegance. Close Your Eyes sets the stage with a romantic interpretation of the song allowing both Hawkins and Jackson plenty of room to stretch out. Next up is a Hawkins original Stuffy in which he romps along in a most robust fashion, and Jackson demonstrates his usual sense of musicianship .Perhaps the most compelling tune of this set is Don't Take Your Love From Me done in lyrical mode by the two leads, backed by unwavering support from the rhythm section, that combines vitality with restraint.

The balance of this disc is pure Hawkins despite the presence of the Oscar Peterson Trio (Peterson/Brown/Ellis) supported by Alvin Stoller on drums. Hawkins takes charge of this session from the outset, with the rhythm section providing support and no solo turns. That is not a detriment, as Hawkins shows why he was one of the most all-encompassing influences on the tenor sax. Whether it's I'll Never Be The Same, I Wished On The Moon or The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise, the Hawkins tone is distinctive, the swinging irrepressible, and the technique creative.

CD2 is a potpourri of record dates all of which again reaffirm the undisputed place of Coleman Hawkins in the annals of jazz music. Firstly the combination of Hawkins and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis turned out to be a creative tour de force and thankfully not a JATP tenor clash. Perhaps part of that can be attributed to the excellent rhythm section lead by the impeccable Tommy Flanagan. In any event the two players conversed in the same musical language, but with different things to say. While all the cuts are worthy of mention, there are some memorable moments on In A Mellow Tone where Hawkins and Davis engage in some arresting trade-offs, and Don't Take Your Love From Me which is a very different interpretation of the song compared to the Hawkins/Jackson take on disc 1.

The final three cuts on the disc - A Smooth One, Sweet Sue, and Kerry - find Hawkins in the company of trumpeter Roy Eldridge with two different rhythm sections, one lead by Ray Bryant, and the other John Lewis. Hawkins and Eldridge, two old war horses, were perfect foils for each other. Eldridge, with his confrontational trumpet style, seemed to be more enthused when playing off another horn and Hawkins performed with more vigour when prodded by the boisterous Eldridge.

This is a terrific set of lasting value.

Pierre Giroux



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