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Coleman Hawkins

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Coleman Hawkins single-handedly brought the saxophone to the prominence in jazz that the instrument enjoys. Before he hit the scene, jazz groups had little use for the instrument. One player (forgot who) said, "with all due respect to Adolph Sax, Coleman Hawkins invented the saxophone." Hawkins, or "Bean", as he was known as, started playing cello at a young age before switching to the saxophone. He was a lifelong listener of classical music, and as a result, his knowledge of music theory was far ahead of his peers. Whereas Louis Armstrong improvised his solos based on the melody, Hawkins based his on the harmony and had a strong sense of rhythm. Hawkins hit New York at the age of 20 and quickly established himself, as he became the star of the Fletcher Henderson band

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Article: History of Jazz

That Slow Boat to China: How American Jazz Steamed Into Asia

Read "That Slow Boat to China: How American Jazz Steamed Into Asia" reviewed by Arthur R George


A kind of jazz was already waiting in Asia when American players arrived in the 1920s, close to a hundred years ago. However, it was imitative and incomplete, lacked authenticity and live performers from the U.S. Those ingredients became imported by musicians who had played with the likes of Joseph “King" Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, ...

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Article: Take Five With...

Take Five with Matthew Alec

Read "Take Five with Matthew Alec" reviewed by AAJ Staff


Meet Matthew Alec: Saxophonist, Executive Producer at Cleveland Time Records and bandleader for the jazz fusion group Matthew Alec and The Soul Electric. Nominated as 'Cleveland's Best Horn Player' by Cleveland Scene Magazine, Matthew earned his Bachelor's Degree in Music from Kent State University in 2007. While at KSU, he studied both 20th century classical music ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Saxophone Colossi: An Alternative Top Ten Banging Albums

Read "Saxophone  Colossi: An Alternative Top Ten Banging Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Miles Davis once said you could tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker. You might want to add John Coltrane, you might even want to add Davis. But however you cut it, saxophones and trumpets have been the flag bearers of the music. Trumpets got things rolling and saxophones came into ...

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Article: Album Review

Connor Munroe: Then + Now

Read "Then + Now" reviewed by Edward Blanco


Ransom Everglades High School saxophonist Connor Munroe, from Miami, FL, has been playing the sax since he was nine years-old and has been selected for twelve All-American and All-State jazz bands among his many awards. He here presents his debut album, the warm and charming Then + Now. Offering a light repertoire of five well-known ballad ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Guitar Gods & Goddesses: An Alternative Top Ten Albums

Read "Guitar Gods & Goddesses: An Alternative Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Although it has been present in jazz since the 1920s, when it was routinely used in rhythm sections, as a solo instrument the guitar struggled to make itself heard--literally--until the second half of the 1930s, when reliable pick-ups and portable amplifiers became available. Foremost among the pioneers of the electrified instrument was Charlie Christian, a member ...

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Article: Album Review

Jason Whatley: On the Beak

Read "On the Beak" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


If Australia is “The Land Down Under," then Tasmania could be called “The Land Way Down Under,' a thumbprint of a main island cut adrift from the southern hemisphere's one country continent about 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, to sit off the south western corner of the state of Victoria, ...

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Article: Book Review

The Sound I Saw

Read "The Sound I Saw" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis


This article was co-written with Joshua Bleeker. The Sound I Saw Roy DeCarava 208 pages ISBN: # 13: 978-1644230107 David Zwirner Books 2019 When two or more art forms combine, they may serve and harmonize and support each other or they ...

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Article: Live Review

Nick Hempton Band Live & Loud

Read "Nick Hempton Band  Live & Loud" reviewed by David A. Orthmann


Nick Hempton Band Live and Loud New York, NY December 3, 2020 Can venues reflect the tenor of a particular time? In August of 2018, saxophonist Nick Hempton played two sets at a park in Dobbs Ferry, NY, a striking location right on the Hudson River. It was a comfortably warm ...

News: Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Coleman Hawkins

Jazz Musician of the Day: Coleman Hawkins

All About Jazz is celebrating Coleman Hawkins' birthday today! Coleman Hawkins single-handedly brought the saxophone to the prominence in jazz that the instrument enjoys. Before he hit the scene, jazz groups had little use for the instrument. One player (forgot who) said, “with all due respect to Adolph Sax, Coleman Hawkins invented the saxophone." Hawkins, or ...


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