Coleman Hawkins

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Coleman Hawkins at the Spotlite Club, circa September 1947.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb .
Coleman Hawkins (incorrectly referred to as "Haskins" in the list) included in the Topeka High School Orchestra, from the 1921 yearbook.

Coleman "Hawk" Hawkins (born November 21, 1904 in St. Joseph , Missouri , † May 19, 1969 in New York ) was an American jazz musician ( tenor saxophone and clarinet ). He is considered the "father" of tenor saxophone playing and, alongside Lester Young, was one of the first style-forming soloists on the instrument. In his career from 1922 to 1969 he was most recently assigned to mainstream jazz , but repeatedly took on challenges and played with the respective avant-gardists of their time. His nicknames were Hawk and Bean .


Early years (1904–1934)

Coleman Hawkins came from a middle class family and grew up in the American Midwest. His mother played the piano and organ; at the age of four she got young Hawkins to learn the piano; At the age of seven he began to play the cello and at the age of nine he got a C melody saxophone . He made his first appearances at school events at the age of twelve in a trio with piano and drums; through these performances he soon became a local celebrity. His parents then sent him to Topeka for further musical training ; There he met the pianist Jesse Stone and his Blue Serenaders and belonged to the band for a few months. Their music was territory jazz with a relaxed two-beat rhythm.

From 1921 he was active as a musician in Kansas City ; in April, vaudeville blues singer Mamie Smith accepted the seventeen-year-old into her backing band Jazz Hounds and was able to persuade his parents to let him go on tour with her. Hawk played there blues and New Orleans jazz in the style of King Oliver and Louis Armstrong . His then-colleague Garvin Bushell recalled that Hawkins was brought into the band mainly because he could read music; "He was further on this instrument in everything than I had ever seen ... He could read everything and was not wrong in a single note ... And he didn't play his saxophone as if it were a trumpet or clarinet, as was customary at the time. He played the chords because he had played the piano as a child. "

In early May 1922, the Jazz Hounds made a guest appearance for record recordings in New York City ("Mean Daddy Blues"); During this time Hawkins also made interludes with the cello. In the meantime he had become a star and the attraction of the band, but only got a few solo opportunities, which led him to get out and stay in New York. There he got jobs in the bands of Ralph Jones and Cecil Smith, until he ended up in the prestigious orchestra of Wilbur Sweatman . There he heard Fletcher Henderson , who brought him into his band in 1924. At first he was only present for a few recordings, such as "Dicty Blues" on August 9, 1923.

He only became a permanent member of the band when they got an engagement at Club Alabam . After all, it was the Roseland Ballroom , where from September 1924 he rose to become a leading soloist alongside Don Redman and Louis Armstrong and developed his own style, such as in “The Stampede” in 1926 and the hit “Queer Notions” in 1933. In these Time fell his first marriage to a dancer named Gertrude, whom he still knew from his time with Mamie Smith. In 1929 the two divorced again.

"By 1929 at the latest, Hawkins' reputation as the best tenor saxophonist was undisputed through his records and performances with Fletcher Henderson, and his influence on other saxophonists, not just tenor saxophonists, was overwhelming," wrote his biographer Teddy Doering. Hawkins was increasingly used to record other band leaders or producers, for example with the Little Chocolade Dandies in September 1929, shortly afterwards with McKinney's Cotton Pickers and with Red McKenzies Mound City Blue Blowers , with which he "If I Could Be with You" grossed. In late 1930 the Henderson band moved from Roseland to Connie's Inn , a prestigious basement club that broadcasted radio appearances.

Coleman Hawkins and Buck Washington: "I Ain't God (!) Nobody", duo recording from March 8, 1934

A highlight in Hawkins' work with Henderson was "It's the Talk of the Town" from 1932, probably the first major solo ballad interpretation in jazz history after Joachim-Ernst Berendt . On September 29, 1932, Hawkins' first recordings were made under his own name with the Englishman Spike Hughes , through whom he learned how high his reputation was in Europe. He had previously heard a colleague who had just returned from Europe talk about how good the working conditions there were for musicians, especially blacks. Immediately he sent a telegram to Jack Hylton , the "English Paul Whiteman ", which only read: "I want to come to England." Hylton replied the next day; Hawkins took a vacation from Fletcher Henderson because he believed he would only be staying in Europe for a month or two. Ultimately, however, he stayed until 1939.

Shortly before his departure for Europe, John Hammond produced duo recordings of the saxophonist with the pianist Buck Washington in March 1934 ; it seems as if these recordings (“I Ain't Got Nobody” and “It Sends Me”) partly looked like a shadow of bebop with their “harshness and boldness from today's perspective ”.

The decision to work in Europe for a while was also influenced by Hawkins' "dethronement" in early 1934, when he was with the Henderson Orchestra in Kansas City and at the newly opened Cherry Blossom nightclub on Lester Young, Ben Webster , Herschel Evans and other Kansas City tenorists. Mary Lou Williams was an ear-witness of this jam session : "Bean Hawkins hadn't expected the Kaycee tenorists to be so great and was uncertain and couldn't find a straight line, even though he played all morning."

In Europe (1934–1939)

Jack Hylton

He left New York on March 30th and after his arrival in London played first in Jack Hylton's large orchestra as well as in the smaller ensemble led by his wife Ennis; Hawkins first came to Paris at Christmas 1934. Afterwards, some appearances were planned in Germany, but the National Socialist regime forbade Black Hawkins from entering the country. Hylton left Hawkins in Holland, where he played with Theo Uden Masman and his Ramblers . The collaboration with the Ramblers culminated in three recording sessions, in February and August 1935 ("I Wanna Go Back to Harlem"). After the first session, Hawkins decided not to return to England with Hylton; Paris attracted him. In February he performed at a concert with French musicians in the Salle Pleyel , organized by the Hot Club de France . In March he recorded with Michel Warlop's orchestra ; with the stars of the Quintette du Hot Club de France , Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli . Hawkins then went on an extensive Scandinavian tour, where he was enthusiastically celebrated. After a long stay in Switzerland, his famous recordings with Benny Carter , Reinhardt and Grappelli for Swing took place in Paris on April 28, 1937 , where “ Honeysuckle Rose ” and “ Crazy Rhythm ” were recorded.

Hawkins spent the year 1938 mainly in the Netherlands, where he played at the Negro Palace in Amsterdam , and in Belgium; there he played in Namur in the band of his compatriot Arthur Briggs . He tried to get a work permit for England, but was denied him by the musicians' union. His English fans managed to get him into the country with a trick: the saxophone manufacturer Selmer organized a tour through Great Britain, which was supposed to serve as "training", since Hawkins would only play for musicians. The unions had no say in that, and Hawkins went on tour in England in March / April. After that he actually wanted to return to Holland; However, the tense political situation in Europe prompted him to return to the United States. There were a few more appearances in England, again with Hylton; Hawkins was announced as a "variety artist". The last pre-war recordings were made at the end of May with the Hylton Orchestra; then he returned to Holland in early July and was back in New York on July 31st.

Swing Combos, Body and Soul and Bebop (1939-1945)

In the five years he was gone, the US scene had changed; new saxophonists like Chu Berry and Ben Webster (who had taken Hawkins' place with Henderson one after the other) had earned respect, especially Lester Young , who no longer had to fear the competition of his rival Herschel Evans , who had died a few months earlier . Coleman Hawkins came back to this situation; and his return immediately "made the rounds". Lester Young was performing with Billie Holiday when Hawkins walked in; Rex Stewart reported from that moment: "Bean walked in, took out his instrument and, to everyone's surprise, played with them."

Concert announcement for Coleman Hawkins

Even before he left for the USA, Coleman Hawkins had clarified his future job opportunities; he had the option to play with his own band at Kelly's Stable (141 West, 51st Street). Since his dream musicians such as Red Allen , Benny Carter, Roy Eldridge , John Kirby or Teddy Wilson worked successfully in other bands, he put together an eight-member ensemble with young musicians and the singer Thelma Carpenter . He performed with his band at Arkadia , a dance hall on Broadway. On October 11, 1939, the band went into the studio to record four tracks for the Bluebird label .

"Three pieces are already in the can, and as a bonus so that two records can be filled, ' Body and Soul ' is on the program, which usually served as the end of club appearances," wrote the critic Werner Wunderlich about the historic session. “Hawkins does not have outstanding musicians in his ensemble, so he is the sole soloist on this piece with his tenor saxophone. And it is precisely this, his version of the standard that is often played, in a milestone, a recording of the century of jazz, exemplary for a jazz ballad. With 'Body and Soul' Coleman Hawkins identifies himself as one of the greats, as the 'father of the tenor saxophone' ”, said Wunderlich in his review of the“ recordings of the century of jazz ”. "The perfect architecture of his solo, in which every note leads to the next with compelling logic and glowing intensity at the same time, has been an unforgettable lesson for countless generations about the dramaturgical structure of improvisation", states Marcus A. Woelfle in his contribution to "Body and Soul." “In the book on jazz standards. Now Hawkins has had an overwhelming comeback with “Body and Soul” - “Body and Soul” was the only title with which Hawkins made it into the Billboard Top 20 at number 13, stayed in the charts for six weeks and thus “impressed the large audience ". The Down Beat named him tenor saxophonist of the year after he had been pushed into the background by tenor saxophonists like Lester Young during his time in Europe .

Dizzy Gillespie in December 1955, photographer Carl van Vechten

In February 1941 the engagement in Kelly's Stable ended ; the impresario Joe Glaser finally found a performance opportunity in Dave's Swingland in Chicago. There he led a band with Darnell Howard and Omer Simeon , among others ; until 1943, however, no recordings were made due to the recording ban . While on tour in Indianapolis, surprised by the United States' entry into World War II , he soon realized that job opportunities had deteriorated immensely and returned to New York with his second wife, Dolores Sheridan, whom he had married in Chicago. There he appeared again on December 24th in Kelly's Stable with a new sextet, which also included Kenny Clarke and Ike Quebec . After a long absence from the recording studio, he participated in a session organized by Leonard Feather for Commodore , the poll winners of Esquire magazine ; Hawkins' teammates included Art Tatum , Oscar Pettiford and Cootie Williams .

The young bassist Oscar Pettiford, who greatly impressed Hawkins with his bold harmonic ideas, was present at his next sessions with Eddie Heywood or Ellis Larkins and Shelly Manne in December 1943, which revealed the first bebop echoes (“Voodte” and “The Man I Love "). In an all-star formation with, among others, Armstrong, Eldridge, Jack Teagarden , Lionel Hampton , Red Norvo and Billie Holiday , Hawkins performed at the legendary concert at the Metropolitan Opera on January 18, 1944 .

When bebop emerged in the mid-1940s, many older musicians had problems with modern jazz; not so to Hawkins, for he knew how much he had contributed to the new music. In February 1944 there was an encounter with the bop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie , whose title "Woody'n You" Hawkins then recorded, with Don Byas , Clyde Hart and Max Roach ; the title is considered to be one of the earliest recordings of the upcoming bebop. Then in mid-1944 Hawkins brought Thelonious Monk , whose progressive ideas he valued, to join his quartet for a tour. Then the quartet played in the Downbeat Club ; a recording session took place on October 19 ("On the Bean", "Flyin 'Hawk" and "Drifting on a Reed"); these were Thelonious Monk's very first studio recordings.

Coleman Hawkins and Thelonious Monk: "Drifting on a Reed", recorded October 19, 1944

Coleman Hawkins continued to work with the "traditionalists", such as Eldridge, Ben Webster , Earl Hines , Teddy Wilson and Cozy Cole or with white musicians around George Wettling and Jack Teagarden. At the end of 1944 he accepted - without Monk, who did not want to leave New York - an engagement in Los Angeles; Trumpeter Howard McGhee joined the group on Pettiford's recommendation ; Sir Charles Thompson sat at the piano . After appearances in Buffalo, Detroit and Chicago, they began on February 1, 1945 in Billy Berg's Club on Vine Street in Los Angeles; Hawkins and his musicians were the first to bring the new bebop to the west coast of the United States , ahead of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker , who were due to perform there at the end of the year.

The post-war period (1945–1959)

Charlie Parker played in New York's Spotlite and had now established himself; Hawkins listened to him there with interest. In April and May 1946 he took with him and Lester Young , Buck Clayton , Buddy Rich and others on an extensive Jazz-at-the-Philharmonic tour; What was particularly interesting for the audience was the encounter between Hawkins and Lester Young . In 1946 he recorded some ballads with JJ Johnson and Fats Navarro . In May 1947 Hawkins returned to New York and played for a time in the Three Deuces ; in June '47 Miles Davis , Hank Jones and Kai Winding played in Hawkins' all-star formation (Bean A Re-Bop) . In 1948 he recorded his solo improvisation "Picasso", an improvisation on the chords of "Body and Soul", the first unaccompanied saxophone solo recording in jazz; the idea for the title came from Norman Granz .

Coleman Hawkins and Miles Davis , circa September 1947.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb .

Given the difficult job opportunities, Hawkins was happy to be invited to the first Paris Jazz Festival at the Marigny Theater and other concerts. There he played with Howard McGhee, Erroll Garner , John Lewis and Kenny Clarke, who was supposed to stay in Paris. Back in the USA he worked mostly as a freelance musician; but after a renewed JATP tour and a lack of public interest, he felt the urge to go back to work in Europe. In Paris he put together a formation for a tour to London and Brussels, which included Clarke and James Moody . Back in Paris, he recorded " Sophisticated Lady " with Clarke and Pierre Michelot for Vogue .

At times, Hawkins had alcohol problems because he was depressed; it also suffered from being labeled "out of date" by some critics. With the decline of the bebop wave, its star rose again as interest in mainstream jazz increased . He was also admired by his young colleagues in the bop scene; In September 1950, Charlie Parker's only studio encounter for the film Improvisation took place. In late 1950, he formed a short-lived formation with Kenny Drew , Tommy Potter, and Art Taylor , who considered it an honor to play with him. In the fall of '51 he was able to sign a record deal with Decca ; however, the recordings were unsatisfactory as the company expected him to make catchy versions of pop songs with strings. In 1953 he therefore did not renew his contract and played in a group with Roy Eldridge, which included Art Blakey and Horace Silver , but with which no recordings exist. When Savoy was published in 1954 was a first LP under Hawkins name, however, is not a closed album, but a collection of older and younger session in some catastrophic sound quality. With Illinois Jacquet , he toured American military bases in Europe in 1954.

Buck Clayton

In the summer of 1954 he took part in jam sessions , which were produced under the name of Buck Clayton by Columbia and were among the first long-playing records. Mainly musicians from the old Basie orchestra met here . Hawk was celebrated at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956; In 1956 he accompanied Billie Holiday at their last concert in New York's Carnegie Hall . After several albums for the labels Jazztone , Coral , Urania he recorded for RCA Victor ( Hawk in HiFi with string orchestra) and Riverside . For the latter, The Hawk Flies High was created in March 1957 , with which he continued the glamorous bebop years. He resorted to musicians of that time, JJ Johnson, Hank Jones , Oscar Pettiford and Idrees Sulieman , who came from the Monk environment, while Jo Jones and Barry Galbraith were more likely to be attributed to mainstream jazz . Despite the bopper present, it was more of a response from Hawkins to the back to the roots tendencies in hard bop at the time ; Blues and gospel play a fundamental role here.

Finally, in 1957 Hawk had the opportunity to record some albums for Granz 'new label Verve ; like his duet with Ben Webster , which appeared on Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster , and shortly thereafter with the Oscar Peterson Trio on the album The Genius of Coleman Hawkins . He increasingly took on an elder statesman role in jazz, but repeatedly faced challenges. He demonstrated his openness to newer trends in recordings with Max Roach and Sonny Rollins , with whom he recorded the Freedom Now Suite ; then he worked alongside John Coltrane on Monk's album Monk's Music and played with Eric Dolphy in the backing band of Abbey Lincoln . At the end of the year he was involved in the legendary television production The Sound of Jazz , where he met Lester Young one last time on " Fine and Mellow ". In addition, in the mid-1950s he played mostly in Metropole and on 7th Avenue near Times Square without a permanent formation and took part in recording sessions with JJ Johnson, Charlie Shavers , Red Allen and Cootie Williams / Rex Stewart .

As early as 1958 Hawkins began to record records for the Prestige label , starting with the Swingtet , which was directed jointly with Tiny Grimes and with which Bluesgroove emerged; This was followed by albums such as Soul , Hawk Eyes , At Ease and Night Hawk with changing backing bands, in which Hawkins met the young hardbop generation, such as Ray Bryant , Ron Carter , Kenny Burrell , Tommy Flanagan and Red Garland . Musically he added echoes of soul, rhythm and blues and hardbop in this phase ; his broad, vibrator-rich tenor sound was in demand again.

Immediately before the death of his long-time rival Lester Young, when he was only a shadow of himself after years of almost uninterrupted consumption of alcohol and marijuana , Hawkins, although he achieved stardom earlier than Young, had, according to the critic Joachim Ernst Berendt still its old, indestructible vitality and strength.

The last years (1960–1969)

Benny Carter

In April 1960 he appeared in Essen with Pettiford, Kenny Clarke and Bud Powell ; In 1960/61 there was a "reunion" with Benny Carter ; first on Hawkins own album Bean Stalkin ' , then with Carter's Impulse album Further Definitions , a “remake” of their legendary Paris session from 1937 with Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. In 1962 he toured with Duke Ellington and recorded the Impulse album Today and Now in a quartet ; In 1963 he fought a duel with Sonny Rollins in Newport and in 1963/1964 he was back on tour with Jazz at the Philharmonic ; otherwise he played at the Village Gate with his new backing band consisting of Flanagan, Major Holley and Eddie Locke .

A new crisis arose when, at the age of sixty with three children, he fell in love with a twenty-year-old who soon left him; Even more severe depression and excessive alcohol followed. In 1964 the appearances became less frequent; In early 1965 he appeared on Five Spot with Eddie Locke, Barry Harris and Buddy Catlett . With Hawkins, who has always been a heavy drinker, the high level of alcohol consumption was also noticeable externally: “The once well-groomed man stopped shaving and going to the hairdresser (...) His clothes were neglected, as was his sluggish walk now frail-looking bodies were typical of an old man ”.

Norman Granz was one of the few remaining friends who tried to help him; in 1966 he brought him back to Jazz at the Philharmonic (solo " September Song "). Although the tour was one of the happier moments of his later years, the signs of decline were evident; the critic Arrigo Polillo wrote at the time: “Should this bearded and unkempt man who appeared to be over seventy really be him, Coleman Hawkins? You couldn't believe your own eyes. You could trust your ears, and that was the amazing thing; in spite of everything, the Hawk was still a great master. "

After he collapsed on stage in Oakland that same year , Hawkins was hospitalized. He recovered again, but made such a depressing impression on the 1967 European tour with Oscar Peterson's trio that Ralph Gleason even suspected that he wanted to die. Hawk, who always had a penchant for elegant suits, "looked like a shaggy vagabond." He was booed in Barcelona; while the London audience was able to experience a passably playing Hawkins. On February 13, his last recordings for Storyville with Kenny Drew and NHOP were made during a tour of Denmark, and they showed him again in surprisingly good shape; "A fitting conclusion after such a long recording career," said Teddy Doering.

Barry Harris

In January 1969, his mother passed away at the age of 96, which made him fall even deeper into the depression. Hawkins spent most of the rest of the winter in his New York apartment; but in March he played at the Fillmore East ; in Chicago, on the occasion of a television production, there was a final meeting with Roy Eldridge and Barry Harris. After his return it came to a complete collapse; The diagnosis was bronchial pneumonia and general weakness from malnutrition. Barry Harris took care of his admission to Wickersham Hospital , where a few friends still visited him, Monk, the "jazz baroness" Nica and the New York "jazz pastor" John Gensel . He died on May 19, 1969. The Chicago-recorded program was broadcast across the country as a memorial program.

The funeral services

Woodlawn Cemetery entrance on Jerome Avenue

Hawkins' memorial service and burial took place on May 23 at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Manhattan and Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, respectively; Eddie Locke had been asked by Hawkins' family to organize the pallbearers. These were Zutty Singleton , Zoot Sims , Major Holley, Big Nick Nicholas, and Roy Eldridge. A large group of eminent colleagues had come, including Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Hodges , Illinois Jacquet , Yusef Lateef , Charles Mingus , Ornette Coleman , Horace Silver , Jackie McLean , Charlie Shavers , Clifford Jordan and many others, including Dolores Hawkins, their son Rene and to accompany the daughters Mimi and Colette. After the sermon, Howard McGhee's wife read a poem of her own, Hold Out Your Hand ; Roland Hanna played one of Hawkin's favorite pieces, Robert Schumann's "Träumerei", followed by his own composition "After Paris". Thad Jones played his piece "Say It Softly" on the flugelhorn. In addition, hundreds of fans had come to the church; others who had not been admitted stood outside on Lexington Avenue. A few days after his funeral, the House of Representatives in his home state Missouri named Coleman Hawkins an honorary citizen. On May 25th, the television show on which Hawkins had last appeared was broadcast locally. In a revised form, with contributions from Dan Morgenstern , Eldridge, Harris, Truck Parham and Bob Cousins, it was broadcast nationwide in July. Eddie Jefferson sang the lyrics he wrote for Hawkins' version of "Body and Soul".

Its music and meaning

The evolution of Coleman Hawkins' style

Coleman Hawkins, often referred to as the "inventor" of the tenor saxophone, resisted this ascription and mentioned early saxophonists such as Happy Cauldwell in Chicago or Stump Evans from Kansas City. "If he wasn't the first to play the saxophone, he was the first to discover its many possibilities, define its tonal character and perfect his technique," says Arrigo Polillo in an appreciation, "the one who ( and not just the tenor, but the whole family of saxophones) established itself in the jazz world in the second half of the twenties ”.

“I played very loud,” Hawkins recalled in a 1967 downbeat interview, “and used a very hard reed because I had to try to do my solos over seven or eight wind instruments playing at the same time. My fullness of sound developed while I tried these reeds and changed mouthpieces over and over again in the course of the evening. I had to take on the likes of Armstrong, Charlie Green , Buster Bailey and Jimmy Harrison . ”Polillo continued,“ This is the first record Hawkins showed that he had now developed full mastery of his instrument and a personal style The Stampede from 1926. This (early) recording was a comparative criterion for all saxophonists of their time. ”According to Martin Kunzler , this record initiated“ the triumphal march of an instrument that had previously led a no less miserable existence in jazz ”. "He was the first to really play it as an instrument," said Ronnie Scott .

“His early style was still influenced by the way the instrument was played on the clarinet,” says Carlo Bohländer ; “In the thirties, his chord melodies were increasingly characterized by harmonic extensions, dotted eighth note movements and legato articulation. His abundant ingenuity allowed him to spin phrases again and again and string them together without resting points. ”It was the rather inadvertent inclusion of Body and Soul that finally solidified Hawk's position; "To Hawk's great surprise, it became his most famous and best-selling recording and is considered a frequently cited example of jazz improvisation."

Coleman Hawkins and Thelonious Monk: "Flyin 'Hawk": recorded October 19, 1944

It was the recordings from 1939 and the early forties that made up the core of his work: “When Lights are Low”, made in 1939 in a session with Lionel Hampton, then “Sweet Lorraine” and “The Man I Love” from 1943 Eddie Heywood, Oscar Pettiford and Shelly Manne. His position in the up-and-coming bebop is shown by his sessions for the Apollo label in February 1944, when the saxophonist was working with small combos on 52nd Street. He was one of the very first musicians of his generation to show respect and trust in the bop and "was committed to their recordings, which should open a new chapter in the history of jazz". Although this musical expression was new to himself, he recorded titles such as “Rainbow Mist”, “ Yesterdays ” and the bebop numbers “Woody'n You”, “Disorder at the Border” and “ With Pettiford, Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach ” Bu Dee Dah ”, which earned him the respect of the avant-garde musicians of the time.

Hawkins distinguished "a round, full, vibrator-rich and expressive tone", says Carlo Bohländer . Martin Kunzler emphasizes the authority of his playing, the vibrato, the rhapsodic attitude, his powerful motor skills in fast trains and the romantic dimension of his ballad interpretation. The author quotes Miles Davis as saying, “ By listening to Hawk, I learned to play ballads. Paul Gonsalves regarded Hawkins "as one of the greatest musical personalities of the century who never let her personal style get into a mesh."

Teddy Doering chronologically names five characteristics of Hawkins' personal style:

“A surprising, succinct introduction, sort of jumping into a solo ”, heard in Hawkins' early titles such as “Whenever There's a Will” with the Cotton Pickers , “Sugar Foot Stomp” (1931) with Fletcher Henderson or in the Parisian Session in "Crazy Rhythm" (1937).
“The invention of a simple riff melody, which is then repeated several times with slight modifications”. He used this stylistic device after his return to the United States from 1939 to around 1944 in “ One O'Clock Jump ” or “Esquire Bounce” with the Esquire All-Stars .
“The ballad technique; it has been fully developed since 1929 at the latest and is one of his greatest achievements ”. Doering calls Hawkins' "ornamentation, the individual embellishment of the basic theme in the melodic area as well as the harmonic exploration and alteration of the underlying changes ."
“The shredding in quick pieces.” As an example, the author cites the Gershwin standard “The Man I Love” or the method used by R&B musicians at JATP live performances to play short repetitions, the “screeching” in high register over two or three notes, frenzied runs to impress the audience.
"His way of playing the last few years with their short, some say: breathless phrases ". Doering believes that Hawkins, who has had breathing problems for the past few years, made the most of it and tried to "assemble these short phrases, this motivational improvisation, into convincing statements."

Hawkins' and Lester Young's differing views of the game

Hawkins and Lester Young on the Mercury 78 "I Got Rhythm" from the JATP concert in April 1946

Teddy Doering explains in his Hawkins biography that the late 1930s were marked by the rivalry between tenor saxophonists Hawkins and Lester Young . At the latest with the famous jam session in 1934, Hawkins had come across an equal rival. His first appearance after his return from Europe in 1939 was connected with this meeting. Despite his success with “Body and Soul”, he “found that the next generation of tenorists almost without exception followed Lester Young's style of playing. At first sight, the main difference in the style of the two musicians lies in the tone. Hawk's broad, vibrator-rich, expressive and aggressive tone stands in sharp contrast to the subtle, introverted, lyrical and reserved conception of Lester Young. ”Doering sees another difference in the improvisations : Hawkins placed them vertically,“ d. H. the changes were more important to him than the melodies . In melodies he saw only dissolved chords . Lester Young, on the other hand, is quite different; his conception was rather linear: the melody lines he invented were important to him. In rhythmic respects Hawkins remain, on its 4.4 with its regular dotted notes ' while Young came off of this rhythmic concept. "

The "Hawkins School"

Ben Webster

Hawkins' style was a model for contemporaries like Ben Webster and the late Chu Berry , who were his direct successors at Fletcher Henderson, as early as the 1930s . "Ben Webster even managed to increase this (Hawkins) tone and the associated expressiveness, while Chu Berry tried to surpass Hawk in his ornamentation."

Later his sound influenced an entire generation - his biographer Teddy Doering speaks of the "Hawkins School" - of swing, R&B and bop players such as Illinois Jacquet , Arnett Cobb , Lucky Thompson , Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins , as well as Don Byas , who saw his strength in ballad creation, and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis with his rough, impulsive and aggressive style of playing, and finally the blues tenor saxophonists like Hal Singer , Houston Person , Al Sears , Jack McVea and Jimmy Forrest . to name just a few. Doering also mentions the R&B saxophonists who related to Hawkins, such as Big Jay McNeely , Bull Moose Jackson or Sam "the Man" Taylor . There were also numerous white musicians who played in the big swing orchestras, such as Sam Donahue , Flip Phillips , Tex Beneke , Vido Musso and Georgie Auld .

Significant recordings

  • 1923 - Dicty Blues (Fletcher Henderson Orchestra)
  • 1929 - The Stampede (Fletcher Henderson Orchestra)
  • 1929 - Hello Lola, One Hour (Mound City Blue Blowers)
  • 1933 - Jamaica Shout - (1st session of Coleman Hawkins and His Orchestra)
  • 1935 - I Wish I Were Twins - (Coleman Hawkins acc. By The Rambles)
  • 1937 - Honeysuckle Rose, Crazy Rhythm, Out of Nowhere, Sweet Georgia Brown (Coleman Hawkins All-Star Jam band, Paris)
  • 1939 - When Lights Are Low (Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra)
  • 1939 - Body and Soul - (Coleman Hawkins and His Orchestra)
  • 1943 - The Man I Love - (Coleman Hawkins Quintet, with E. Heywood and O. Pettiford)
  • 1944 - On the Bean - (Coleman Hawkins Quartet with Thelonious Monk)
  • 1946 - Bean and the Boys - (with Fats Navarro, JJ Johnson, Milt Jackson, Curly Russell, Max Roach)
  • 1948 - Picasso (CH solo)
  • 1957 - Blues for Yolande (CH, Ben Webster and Oscar Peterson)

Discography (selection)

Coleman Hawkins session with Roy Eldridge and Teddy Wilson , during which "I'm in the Mood for Love" was recorded for the Keynote label on January 31, 1944 . In 1948 the title was taken over by Mercury .

On the double LP Coleman Hawkins - a Documentary (RLP 12-119) released by Riverside , he tells about his life.


Web links

Commons : Coleman Hawkins  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Sources and Notes

  1. Notes on the early years in Doering, p. 11 f.
  2. ^ Garvin Bushell and New York Jazz in the 1920s . "The Jazz Review" by Nat Hentoff from February 1959, translated by Arrigo Polillo, p. 396.
  3. Quotation Doering, p. 27.
  4. Berendt, p. 118.
  5. Quoted from Polillo, p. 397.
  6. Quoted from Teddy Doering, p. 129.
  7. Among other things presented in Mary Lou Williams' report, which is reproduced in Nat Hentoffs / Nat Shapiros book Jazz told .
  8. "Kaycee": In the USA a common acronym for Kansas City
  9. Mary Lou Williams, quoted from Shapiro, Hentoff: Jazz told. Munich 1958, p. 301 f.
  10. There in May 1936 there was a session with Ernst Höllerhagen and the Berries in Zurich, at which Hawkins can be heard as a vocalist ; see. Doering, p. 132.
  11. Quoted from Polillo, p. 399.
  12. Both quotations from: Werner Wunderlich - Recordings of the Century of Jazz - Coleman Hawkins: Body and Soul ( Memento of the original from September 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. ^ According to Gerhard Klußmeier: Jazz in the Charts. Another view on jazz history. Liner notes (53/100) and accompanying book of the 100 CD edition. Membrane International, ISBN 978-3-86735-062-4 .
  14. Woelfle, p. 11.
  15. Monk returned the favor in the 1950s by bringing Hawkins into his band for the recording of the album Monk's Music when the latter had a career low; see. Woelfle, p. 12.
  16. ^ The precursor for Picasso was the tenor saxophone solo Hawk Variations , which Hawkins recorded in January 1945; it initially only appeared in Europe on the Danish Baronet label.
  17. cf. Doering, p. 168.
  18. See Woelfle, p. 13.
  19. Quoted from Huismann / Behrendt, p. 118.
  20. Quotation Doering, p. 63.
  21. Quoted from A. Polillo, p. 403.
  22. Quoted from A. Polillo, p. 404.
  23. See Chilton, p. 388 f.
  24. a b quotation from Polillo S, p. 395.
  25. Hawkins in Down Beat in October 1967, cited above. after Polillo, S, 396
  26. Quoted from Kunzler, p. 492.
  27. Quoted from Kunzler, p. 492.
  28. Quoted from Bohländer, p. 275.
  29. Polillo, p. 400.
  30. See Polillo, p. 400 f.
  31. Bohländer, p. 275.
  32. Quoted from Kunzler, p. 403.
  33. Quoted from Kunzler, p. 493.
  34. ^ All quotations, based on Doering, p. 91 f.
  35. Quotations from Teddy Doering, p. 93 ff.
  36. Quoted from Teddy Doering, p. 95. Doering names in this "squad" the "Hawkins disciples" around Basie, Jimmie Lunceford and Andy Kirk also tenor saxophonists like Prince Robinson , Herschel Evans , Dick Wilson , Gene Sedric , Joe Thomas or Buddy Tate .
  37. See Feather / Gitler p. 303.
  38. Quoted from Teddy Doering, p. 96.
  39. Coleman Hawkins spoke on the two LPs about his early years, the time with Fletcher Henderson, Europe in the 30s, "Body and Soul", the emergence of modern jazz , New York: "The Toughest Town" and his thoughts on Time and rock and roll . See
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