Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

433

Bennie Wallace: Disorder at the Border: The Music of Coleman Hawkins

By

Sign in to view read count
This is a stomping band, as Coleman Hawkins said of the Fletcher Henderson orchestra he — and the hitherto mostly awkward tenor saxophone — grew up together with. Louis Armstrong and his hero the great cellist Pablo Casals inspired Hawkins' phrasing and timing, Art Tatum and J.S. Bach his harmonic command. His nickname "Bean" referred to high intelligence, he was an instrumental virtuoso with immense stamina and invention qua improviser, a passionate complex man never to be underrated.

The extraordinary "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho" which concludes this 2004 Hawkins centenary concert from Berlin is very appropriate. Swinging fiercely with mostly just Alvin Queen's magnificent drumming, Bennie Wallace exhibits his own stamina in impassioned tenor saxophone emulation of a Bach solo invention; and that's only the climax, after a startling arrangement and succession of stirring solos: an ideal centenary celebration.

Wallace comes out of the Hawkins school: no imitator, where he sounds very like Hawkins that's a natural aspect of his own way, and what he's playing. On "Body and Soul" he's entirely individual, and has maybe never played more beautifully.

In this stomping band Stafford and Anderson can each sound like two men in ensemble, Anthony Wilson's bop-slanted arrangements are subtle or driving as appropriate, and Donald Vega's atmospheric, often extended piano introductions risk overshadowing his solo work elsewhere. Hawkins wasn't Henderson's only major soloist: I hadn't previously heard young Leali, Schroeder, Vega and Boller and want to hear more. Jesse Davis I know. Where he and Leali solo in succession then trade passages theye are plainly individual stylists.

That's on "Honeysuckle Rose," the one non-Wilson chart. Wallace organised it with reminiscences of Benny Carter's great arrangements and brilliant transcription of a passage James P. Johnson delivered in his piano solo recording of the number. Subtlety's one thing, but there's also none of that carefulness which can afflict deliveries of arrangements of music with a vintage. This is musical performance, and no pastiche. Listen to the bluesiness and slow stride of Vega's intro.

Henderson's recorded performances were restricted by technology: time limits. They couldn't unfold with the freedom, relaxation and fire Hawkins remembered. This is of course a live performance, nobody worried about finishing within any time limit, and the only "Disorder" was a word in the opening stomper's title.

Stafford's immense tone powers in ensemble, and blazes in solo. The master colourist trombonist Anderson is involved in the one brief wobble, his sound and Wallace's don't blend in their brief ensemble unison on "La Rosita," whoops! But Anderson's solo immediately thereafter has an amazing transition from harshness to luminous transparency. He delivers a differently magnificent eruption on "Honeysuckle Rose," and preaches on "Joshua..."

Wallace's tenor is properly to the fore throughout, with here an altoist, there Schroeder's baritone, performing a substantial solo as the middle section of an extended development Wallace himself has begun; and subsequently proceeds to bring to extended climax. He's a giant tenorist. This is a great and not merely stomping band.


Track Listing: Disorder At The Border; La Rosita; Bean & The Boys; Honeysuckle Rose; Body And Soul; Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho.

Personnel: Bennie Wallace: tenor saxophone, leader; Brad Leali: alto saxophone; Jesse Davis: alto saxophones Adam Schroeder: baritone saxophone; Ray Anderson: trombone; Terell Stafford; trumpet; Donald Vega: piano; Danton Boller: bass; Alvin Queen: drums; Anthony Wilson: arranger.

Title: Disorder at the Border: The Music of Coleman Hawkins | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Justin Time Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Alleviation CD/LP/Track Review Alleviation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Last Minute Panic CD/LP/Track Review Last Minute Panic
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Murphy CD/LP/Track Review Murphy
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Haberdashery CD/LP/Track Review Haberdashery
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Song of the Silver Geese CD/LP/Track Review Song of the Silver Geese
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Live at Kolarac CD/LP/Track Review Live at Kolarac
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Port Of Call" CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read "The Tenth Muse" CD/LP/Track Review The Tenth Muse
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "We Know Not What We Do" CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "Radioactive Landscapes EP" CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by James Nadal
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "Promethean" CD/LP/Track Review Promethean
by David A. Orthmann
Published: July 3, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!