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Though it won't get the attention of the recent Duke Ellington or Louis Armstrong centennials, the 100th anniversary of Coleman Hawkins' birth, coming up on November 21, certainly warrants celebration from jazz fans. Dubbed the "father of the tenor saxophone," Hawkins was a vital force on the jazz scene for five decades, moving through the swing era to bebop and beyond.
Bluebird's "Centennial Collection" begins and ends, appropriately enough, with two renditions of the tune Hawkins is most associated with, the lush ballad "Body and Soul," (the classic 1939 version and a 1956 recording with a 24-piece orchestra). In between, the CD packs in 18 more tracks recorded between 1929 and 1963, featuring ample illustrations of Hawkins' powerful, yet always relaxed sound and that rich, luxuriant tone. What's most remarkable about the collection is the sheer variety of settings Hawkins performsand excelsin, from early swing sides with McKinney's Cotton Pickers and big band efforts with Fletcher Henderson and Lionel Hampton, to bebop outings with Fats Navarro and J.J. Johnson, and even a memorable 1963 pairing with his supreme disciple, Sonny Rollins.
While it's outstanding as an overview of Hawkins' careerand as a brief tour of most of the major jazz movements of the first two-thirds of the last centurywhat really puts this set over the top is an accompanying DVD that features rare video of Hawkins jamming with fellow tenor titan Lester Young and others. Essential.
Track Listing: 1 Body and Soul
2 Wherever There's a Will, Baby
3 If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight
4 Hello Lola
5 Hocus Pocus
6 One Sweet Letter From You
8 Bouncing With Bean
9 Say It Isn't So
10 Half Step Down, Please
11 Angel Face
12 I Love You
13 The Bean Stalks Again
14 There'll Never Be Another You
15 His Very Own Blues
16 April in Paris
17 I Love Paris
18 Love Me or Leave Me
19 Just Friends
20 Body and Soul
21 Indian Summer
23 Jumpin' With Symphony Sid
24 Wild Man Blues Hawkins ...
25 Lover Man [#]
Personnel: Bernard Addison: Guitar; Manny Albam: Arranger; Henry "Red" Allen: Trumpet; Buster Bailey: Clarinet;
Everett Barksdale: Guitar; Raymond Beckenstein: Flute; Artie Bernstein: Bass; Chu Berry: Saxophone; Jack
Bland: Guitar; Paul Bley: Piano; James H. Brown: Alto Sax; Max Cahn: Violin; Benny Carter: Clarinet,
Trumpet, Saxophone, Alto Sax; Charlie Christian: Guitar; Al Cohn: Tenor Sax; Cozy Cole: Drums; Eddie
Condon: Banjo; Leonard Davis: Trumpet; Stanley DeParis: Trumpet; Marion Deveta: Baritone Sax; Allen
Eager: Tenor Sax; Vic Engle: Drums; Al Epstein: Saxophone; Jackie Fields: Saxophone; Arnold Fishkin:
Bass; Pops Foster: Bass; Barry Galbraith: Guitar; Paul Gershman: Violin; Dizzy Gillespie: Trumpet; Bernie
Glow: Trumpet; Freddie Green: Guitar; Urbie Green: Trombone; Henry Grimes: Bass; Joe Guy: Trumpet;
Edmond Hall: Clarinet; Lionel Hampton: Vocals, Vibraphone; Earl Hardy: Trombone; Clyde Hart: Piano;
Coleman Hawkins: Saxophone, Tenor Sax; Fletcher Henderson: Piano, Arranger; Arthur Herbert: Drums;
J.C. Higginbotham: Trombone; Milt Hinton: Bass; Hilton Jefferson: Clarinet, Alto Sax; Budd Johnson: Alto
Sax; J.J. Johnson: Trombone; Keg Johnson: Trombone; Osie Johnson: Drums; Walter Johnson Jr.: Drums;
Claude Jones: Trombone; Hank Jones: Piano, Celeste; Jimmy Jones: Piano; John Kirby: Bass; Leo Kruczek:
Violin; Gene Krupa: Drums; Lester Lee: Saxophone; Jack Lesberg: Bass; Tommy Lindsay: Trumpet;
Lawrence Lucie: Guitar; Shelly Manne: Drums; Sam Marowitz: Alto Sax; Kaiser Marshall: Drums;
Theodore McCord: Clarinet; Roy McCurdy: Drums; Red McKenzie: Comb; Hal McKusick: Sax (Alto); Glenn
McGaha Miller: Trombone; Eustis Moore: Saxophone; Marty Napoleon: Piano; Fats Navarro: Trumpet;
Fred Ohms: Trombone; Lou Oles: Trumpet; Mary Osborne: Guitar; Romeo Penque: Flute; Danny Polo:
Clarinet; Russell Procope: Clarinet, Alto Sax; Janet Putnam: Harp; Don Redman: Clarinet, Alto Sax,
Baritone Sax, Vocals; George Ricci: Cello; Max Roach: Drums; Gene Rodgers: Piano; Sonny Rollins: Tenor
Sax; Ernie Royal: Trumpet; Alvin Rudintsky: Violin; Pee Wee Russell: Clarinet; Tosha Samaroff: Violin;
Jack Satterfield: Trombone; Sol Schlinger: Baritone Sax; Lucien Schmit: Cello; Charlie Shavers: Trumpet;
Zoot Sims: Tenor Sax; Zutty Singleton: Drums; Joe "Fox" Smith: Trumpet; Russell Smith: Trumpet;
William McLeish Smith: Bass; Joe Sullivan: Piano; Billy Taylor: Tuba; Joe Thomas: Trumpet; Nick Travis:
Trumpet; Lloyd Trotman: Bass; Fats Waller: Piano; Chuck Wayne: Guitar; Ben Webster: Saxophone;
Chauncey Welsch: Trombone; Marty Wilson: Vibraphone.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.