From the mid-'50s until Coleman Hawkins's death in 1969, the tenor-saxophonist frequently teamed up with trumpeter Roy Eldridge to form a potent team. However, Hawkins rarely met altoist Johnny Hodges on the bandstand, making this encounter a special event. Long versions of "Satin Doll," "Perdido" and "The Rabbit in Jazz" give these three classic jazzmen (who are ably assisted by the Tommy Flanagan Trio) chances to stretch out and inspire each other. The remainder of this CD has Eldridge and Hodges absent while Coleman Hawkins (on "new" versions of "Mack the Knife," "It's the Talk of the Town," "Bean and the Boys" and "Caravan") heads the quartet for some excellent playing. Timeless music played by some of the top veteran stylists of the swing era.
This releases contains the complete classic album Desafinado (Impulse AS- 28), which marks Coleman Hawkins’ only incursion into the Bossa Nova genre while showcasing him as the only horn. As a bonus, Kenny Burrell’s entire LP Bluesy Burrell (Moodsville MVST29) featuring Coleman Hawkins, and recorded in between the two bossa nova sessions. Even though it was not recorded in the Bossa Nova style, it maintains the relaxed spirit of the first album. Both LPs feature the exceptional Tommy Flanagan (playing percussion on the first album), as well as Latin percussion - by Willie Rodríguez on Desafinado, and by the great Ray Barretto on Bluesy Burrell.
At Ease is one of the most charming and attractive of the many albums Coleman Hawkins and Tommy Flanagan made together—a collection of ballads played with great affection for the melody. Hawkins could be fiercely aggressive in his playing. In this collection, he displays his tenderness. If ever there was a master of the ballad, it was Coleman Hawkins. His romantic style and sound caused one writer to say: "Hawk turned the saxophone into the sexophone." At Ease was done for the Moodsville series but while Hawkins, with the expert help of his pianist, Tommy Flanagan, sets a mood on eight standards, it is never merely mood music.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. A wonderful little record – a real standout in both the careers of Milt Jackson and Coleman Hawkins! The album captures Hawk during his great later years – that time when his sound was even more soulful and inventive than ever – with lots of odd modern undercurrents that really work nicely with the album's slight Latin inflections – a bit like those you might hear on some of Hawkins' Impulse Records material from the same generation.
Orrin's commentary (from his new liner notes): "Before [Coleman] Hawkins, the tenor saxophone-which has come to be one of the basic instruments of jazz-simply did not exist, a fact that would be disputed by neither Lester Young nor Ben Webster-his most prominent immediate successors-nor by Sonny Rollins or John Coltrane or anyone you might choose to put near the head of the line thereafter…This was not my only studio experience with Hawkins, although it was the only opportunity to deal with him strictly on his own terms, which is certainly the only appropriate way to approach a great artist."
"The Genius of Coleman Hawkins" is a true classic. Not only because we get to hear one of the be-bop masters, in good sound and good form, but because of the material on the album. There isn't much new material – they're all old familair standards – but Hawk plays them like an old lover. It doesn't hurt when you have the Oscar Peterson Trio backing you as it did so successfully on many Verve dates. Toss Herb Ellis in on guitar and you've got a quintet of all-stars. Along with his Ben Webster Encounter, this is the highlight of his "second career."