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Musician

Coleman Hawkins

Born:

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: Radio & Podcasts

Saxophonists, Classic and Contemporary

Read "Saxophonists, Classic and Contemporary" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


This show features a wide variety of saxophonists, both as soloists and bandleaders. It includes iconic players like Stan Getz and Roscoe Mitchell as well as today's stars with Melissa Aldana and Miguel Zenon. Playlist Henry Threadgill Sextett “I Can't Wait Till I Get Home" from The Complete Novus & Columbia Recordings of Henry ...

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Article: Interview

Stephane Mercier: New Saxophone Talent

Read "Stephane Mercier: New Saxophone Talent" reviewed by AAJ Staff


This article was originally published at All About Jazz in December 2001. Belgian alto saxophonist Stephane Mercier tolerates no boundaries. “I listened to some cheesy things when I was young--I don't mind. If I like something, I just put it," he proclaims about his approach to music. A new talent in the jazz world, ...

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Article: Book Excerpts

JD Allen: Just Keep Going

Read "JD Allen: Just Keep Going" reviewed by AAJ Staff


The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1, “JD Allen: Just Keep Going" from Philip Freeman's Ugly Beauty: Jazz in The 21st Century (ZerO Books, 2022). Queens, New York seems purposely designed to confuse travelers. It's January 2, 2020, a brisk but sunny day, and I'm to meet saxophonist JD Allen at Samurai ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

21 Standards on Tap

Read "21 Standards on Tap" reviewed by David Brown


What makes a song a standard? How does a tune enter the commonly shared repertoire that jazz musicians have been expected to know at any moment? Tonight, we spin a variety of well-worn standards for your listening pleasure. Sonny Rollins once said, “Jazz and standards are forever locked in loving embrace." Some commentary in this episode ...

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Article: The Jazz Life

I Hear a Rhapsody

Read "I Hear a Rhapsody" reviewed by David Caudill


We put out a call to visitors to AAJ to tell us their stories about how jazz has impacted, indeed shaped their lives. David Caudill heard the call. David has lived in Cincinnati for three decades and spent a long career writing, both in journalism and for a short while in corporate communications. He ...

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Article: Album Review

Dave Green Trio plus Evan Parker: Raise Four

Read "Raise Four" reviewed by Duncan Heining


Bassist Dave Green recorded this set for the BBC Radio 3 programme Somethin' Else in 2004. In the interview included here with the show's presenter Jez Nelson, Green reflects on a forty year career in jazz. It is fitting that this fine record, only his fourth as leader, sees its release in the year Green marks ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Sonny Rollins: Ten Colossal Albums

Read "Sonny Rollins: Ten Colossal Albums" reviewed by Chris May


The history of modern jazz is a short one, but even so there are few musicians whose careers began in the bop era and who are still with us in 2022. Drummer Roy Haynes is one. Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins is another. Both players recorded with trumpeter Fats Navarro and pianist Bud Powell in 1949.

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Article: History of Jazz

Bebop, Beats, and the Drive of Beat Literature

Read "Bebop, Beats, and the Drive of Beat Literature" reviewed by Arthur R George


"Mulberry-eyed girls in black stockings, Smelling vaguely of mint jelly and last night's bongo drummer... fling their arrow legs / To the heavens / Losing their doubts in the beat" of jny: San Francisco nights, announced poet Bob Kaufman's “Bagel Shop Jazz." (Solitudes Crowded with Loneliness, New Directions Publishing, 1965; Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman, City ...

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News: Video / DVD

Coleman Hawkins on Video

Coleman Hawkins on Video

Yesterday, I spent a chunk of the day listening to tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins while writing. Hawkins, or Hawk, remains a marvel. The first modern tenor saxophonist, Hawk could blow hot and soft, and had more to do with the invention of bebop than he's been given credit for. He was formidable his entire career, which ...


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