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Coleman Hawkins

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

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

My Conversation with Gary Peacock

Read "My Conversation with Gary Peacock" reviewed by AAJ Staff

This article was first published at All About Jazz in October 1999. Having been in the political arena, I know first hand the power of celebrity's undertow. It has a way of casually siphoning the integrity of a candidate. Fame and power in politics, I find, is quite similar in our music, and that ...

ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

The Rebel Festival

Read "The Rebel Festival" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

On the morning of July 4, 1960, there were more than a few signs of the mayhem that had taken place the night before in Newport, Rhode Island. Newport's Millionaires Row woke up to broken store windows, overturned vehicles, and storm drains clogged with garbage and beer bottles. One-hundred-eighty-two people, mostly young, New England college students ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Rudy Royston: Little Steps, Big Pictures

Read "Rudy Royston: Little Steps, Big Pictures" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Everybody needs a helping hand now and then. Rudy Royston understands that. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused gigs to completely dry up for all musicians, and with that, their main income stream. Yet there are still mortgages, rents and bills to pay, and children to feed. It says something about the precarious finances of a jazz ...

Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter

Read "Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter" reviewed by Chris May

Jazz has been inextricably linked with social and political protest since at least the late 1930s, when Billie Holiday made famous the leftist songwriter and poet Abel Meeropol's “Strange Fruit." The song, which has a power to move that is undiminished by familiarity, likens the bodies of lynched African Americans to fruit hanging in trees.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Denny Zeitlin: Live at Mezzrow

Read "Live at Mezzrow" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Coming up on two decades of creative engagement and evolution, pianist Denny Zeitlin's group with bassist Buster Williams and drummer Matt Wilson remains one of the most bracing, sophisticated and creatively satisfying trios on the scene. In the best of times, a set like this, recorded live at Spike Wilner's New York piano room Mezzrow, can ...

ARTICLE: THE JAZZ LIFE

My Early Years with Bill Evans, Part 2

Read "My Early Years with Bill Evans, Part 2" reviewed by Chuck Israels

Bassist and composer Chuck Israels was raised in a musical family. He studied the cello and played guitar in junior high school. Later musical training took place at Indian Hill, a summer workshop in the arts directed by his parents, and at the High School of Performing Arts in New York City. A year at Massachusetts ...

ARTICLE: BOOK REVIEW

Space Is The Place: The Lives And Times Of Sun Ra

Read "Space Is The Place: The Lives And Times Of Sun Ra" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Space Is The Place: The Lives And Times Of Sun Ra John F. Szwed 512 Pages ISBN: 978-1-4780-0841-5 Duke University Press 2020 Of all the 20th century jazz figures, perhaps only John Coltrane and Miles Davis have achieved greater cult status than Sun Ra. Unlike Coltrane, Ra lived into ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Jeff Rupert/George Garzone: The Ripple

Read "The Ripple" reviewed by Jim Worsley

The Ripple refers to the infectious, warm, intimate, yet big sound developed by the great Lester Young, starting in the late 1930s. While Young pioneered improvisational creativity, Stan Getz later took the baton (well, it was actually a saxophone) and further expanded his idol's stylish approach with new and creatively open-ended visions. Young and Getz collectively ...

ARTICLE: SOCAL JAZZ

George Garzone: Sax In The City

Read "George Garzone: Sax In The City" reviewed by Jim Worsley

George Garzone is not the mayor of the city of Boston. If he was appointed to a position it would more likely be king. He is, at the very least, the toast of the town. This isn't news. King George has reigned with a firm grasp of his mighty tenor saxophone for close to half a ...


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