BW: Well two ways. Indirectly the first saxophonists that I really was inspired by, really my heaviest inspirations were Sonny Rollins and [Eddie] "Lockjaw Davis, who were two Coleman Hawkins disciples. I started buying this music when I was thirteen years old. I would go to a record store, back in the days when they let you listen to the record, and I wore out a couple I never bought! ...Anytime, I bought everything I could afford and find by Sonny and by "Lockjaw with Basie and other guys that played with Basie.
And then at Christmas time, my mother bought me a record and I opened it up and it was a Coleman Hawkins record. I put it on the player and thought this isn't hip, this isn't Sonny Rollins. And I didn't get it. And then a little bit later when I got a little older, I got to thinking about the sound of the saxI realized this guy has probably the best tone that anybody ever got on a saxophone. I just started studying that tone and I would buy anything by Coleman Hawkins I could find with ballads on it where he was really opening up his sound. Of course it was different in different periods and it was always the best.
AAJ: What changed about it?
BW: Well, of course, when you hear the earliest recordings, you'd never know it was Coleman Hawkins. And then when he was playing with Fletcher Henderson, when he would play fast, it would be almost like what today would be a modern sound, very compact and centered. But then when he recorded that first ballad, "If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight [in 1929] with Glenn Miller and Pee Wee Russell if I'm not mistaken, that's when that ballad sound was first revealed to me. All through the '30s and '40s he kind of developed in one direction. He was using an old Otto Link mouthpiece and mostly Selmer saxophones. When he was recording those ballads like "Body and Soul and "Sophisticated Lady and "How Deep is the Ocean, the stuff in the late '30s and '40sunbelievable!