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Coleman Randolph Hawkins ( St. Joseph ( Missouri ), November 21 1904 - New York City , May 19 1969 ) was an American jazz musician . He is considered the first great jazz tenor saxophonist .

He was one of the pioneers of jazz and especially the saxophone given a firm place within jazz. Hence his nickname "father of the tenor saxophone. He started at age 5 but on piano and later also on cello . On his ninth birthday he got one, then in the United States popular and inexpensive, C-melody sax.Although smaller than a tenor sax still a great tool for a child, but the young Coleman was obsessed.

His knowledge of music and his ability to read music was great and all in 12 years, he performed regularly with others. His big chance came when he was 16 and he by then-wildly popular vaudeville -zangeres Mamie Smith for her show band was asked. His mother initially refused to give permission, but released two years later to do. He played both the cello and saxophone, calling the C-melody soon was exchanged for the tenor sax.

His first pitch was Chicago , at the time of the " reclamation "the first jazz city where almost all the musicians from New Orleans were drawn. Among these musicians included King Oliver , Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong . Moreover, Chicago was the city where young white musicians like Benny Goodman, Bix Beiderbecke and Glenn Miller grew up.

Soon Hawkins also played with musicians in New York . He left Mamie Smith in 1923 to include work with Fletcher Henderson's orchestra.

Inspired by pioneer Adrian Rollini Coleman played there a short time also the big bass saxophone and he also doubled up regularly on clarinet and baritone. However, the tenor would remain big love. It was in this period that his game into maturity and his name was well established. For a year, Armstrong also made part of the Henderson band and already the two soloists remained aloof from each other, yet they will certainly have stimulated each other.

In 1934, Hawkins had to change, and left for England for a commitment by the then famous orchestra of Jack Hylton . A year later Hylton had a tour inGermany which was already no African Americans were admitted. Therefore, he traveled to Netherlands , with regular trips to Paris and Switzerland .Fortunately, during that period a lot of records, including those for the Dutch band The Ramblers sung by Annie de Reuver and with musicians like Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli .

Just before the outbreak of the Second World Hawkins returned in 1939 to New York, where he recorded on October 1 at Kelly's Stables Body and Soul,which earned him worldwide fame in battle, even beyond jazz circles. He entered his most prolific period, and with all the greats of jazz, he made ​​one recording session after another, especially with young musicians who had invented a new form of music: bebop .

His musical taste was very varied and he had a lot of records of Chopin and Schumann to Mahler and Strauss , but Bach was undoubtedly his most favorite and his music he always liked to young musicians as an example. He himself was a good pianist and also played many classic on his Steinway piano. As a saxophone he cherished the heavily gilded copy that he personally from Maurice Selmer , director of the eponymous saxofoon'fabriek "had received.

Late forties was Hawkins 'stylistic role model (G. Slagmolen spoke of "a superb sonorous swing style) instead of that of his vibrato-free playing against player Lester Young to after Miles Davis instigated era of the' to be again demonstrated cool' jazz in the game of Sonny Rollins and (late 60s) Archie Shepp. Nevertheless, he played a prominent role in the 50s in the traveling musical 'circus' of Norman Granz with his famous "Jazz at the Philharmonic.

In addition, there were often also by Granz organized festivals such as the most famous in Newport . And in 1959 he played another version of Body and Soul, which many experts regarded as better than the 'original'. The fact is that Hawkins (or "Bean," as he was often called) also put down in this period stuff, like his wonderful solos on the Benny Carter -album "Further Definitions" and with the orchestra of Duke Ellington .


There is no other example of a jazz musician, without denying his own style in the forefront continued to play until his death, partly as a young man with the young Louis Armstrong, later with the topbopper Dizzy Gillespie and in the years sixty with John Coltrane. His absorption was due to an astonishing musical intelligence.

Special shots  Edit

  • One Hour, Hello Lola (1929), with Red McKenzie , Gene Krupa and Glenn Miller
  • It's the Talk of the Town (1933), with Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra
  • Honeysuckle Rose, Crazy Rhythm (1937), shot in Paris with Benny Carter and Django
  • Body and Soul (1939)
  • The Man I Love, Sweet Lorraine (1943), a trio recording with Oscar Pettiford and Eddie Heywood
  • I Only Have Eyes for You, I'm in the Mood for Love, Bean at the Met (1944), with Teddy Wilson and Roy Eldridge
  • Picasso (1948), acclaimed solo recording
  • Crazy Rhythm, Honeysuckle Rose, Body and Soul (1961), the Carter-album 'Further Definitions "
  • Self Portrait of the Bean, Mood Indigo (1962), with the Duke Ellington Orchestra

Compilations  Edit

Some of these individual images can also be found on the CD "Ken Burns Jazz: Coleman Hawkins' (Verve, 2000). This is a spinoff of the sizeable production of PBS Ken Burns Jazz, which was shown in 12 episodes on television.

Another recommendation is the affordable 4 CD box 'The Bebop Years' of English Proper. In 88 well-documented record pass here productive forties discussed, starting with 'Body and Soul'.

A wider time frame covers "A Retrospective 1929-1963" on RCA (1995), on 2 CDs 34 years displays of images on Victor labels. This includes early classics and original 1939 session 'Body and Soul'.

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