The title of this boxed set is quite misleading, because Hawkins was a member of Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra for ten years from 1924, and recorded extensively with that outfit. At a conservative estimate, there are some 80 recordings which should have qualified for inclusion, yet not one appears (although his recordings with Fletcher's brother Horace do). Ignoring for a moment the disparity between the title of this boxed set and its contents, let me now praise what is included. ~ Amazon
Through the 1930s, Coleman Hawkins growth is exponential, especially in his ballad playing. Buttery warm and cozy, he finds notes that always work within the chord and are clearly there for anyone to find. But he's the one who finds them. And what is there to say about his solo on 1939's "Body and Soul" that hasn't already been said? This is the music that has proven so inspirational to generations of tenor saxophonists since; the endless possibility when taste and intelligence take on exceptional material. Our jam-packed set on eight CDs includes 190 tracks, 12 never before released. Included is material from Coleman's earliest days with Mamie Smith and her Jazz Hounds, his time with Henderson including various pseudonym bands and offshoots that shared personnel, the Mound City Blue Blowers, Benny Goodman's orchestra, Lionel Hampton, Benny Carter, Count Basie, co-leader sides with trumpeter Henry Red Allen, Cozy Cole, and a variety of all-star dates for Metronome, Leonard Feather, and Esquire, as well as recordings as a leader of his own dates. Our research has corrected many discrepancies in previous discographies.
This is a decent but not very exciting outing. Then 52, Hawkins uses a typically young rhythm section (including guitarist Kenny Burrell and pianist Ray Bryant) and plays melodically on a variety of originals and standards. This insipid version of "Greensleeves" is difficult to sit through but the rest of this CD is enjoyable if not overly inspiring.
Named after Hawkins’ 1939 proto-bebop classic, this legendary collection proves why Hawkins is considered by many the finest tenor ever. Picking up his career after a stint alongside Louis Armstrong in Fletcher Henderson’s big band and five years in prewar Europe, Body and Soul focuses on Hawkins’ essential small group sides of the ’40s. Here the former swing enthusiast helped create bebop with the help of future jazz icons Benny Carter, J.J. Johnson, Zoot Sims and Max Roach. From “Meet Doctor Foo” to “Angel Face,” Hawkins transforms standards like “My Blue Heaven” into something startlingly new and creates originals like “Bouncing With Bean” that would go on to influenced an entire generation of players. The mid-’50s orchestral sessions that end the album show Hawkins’ eagerness to bring bebop’s structures into new arenas, and the lovely, string-laden remake of the title track indicates that the experiment was a success.
Covering in detail a timeline from January 1944 to October 1945, this chapter in the Classics Coleman Hawkins chronology presents recordings he made for the Asch, Selmer, Capitol, Super Disc and V-Disc labels during what was an exciting and transitional period in the evolution of jazz. During the '40s Hawkins was deliberately aligning himself with young and innovative players; four of the sessions feature trumpeter Howard McGhee and pianist Sir Charles Thompson; bassist Oscar Pettiford was also an integral part of Hawk's mid-'40s West Coast band. Lush ballads and upbeat jam structures make for excellent listening throughout…
During the mid-'40s Coleman Hawkins was hitting another peak, seasoned by many years in big bands both in the States and Europe. He wasn't out of fashion during those early bop years, either, as he often played with the music's young Turks; their sound was a mix of the big band era's refined combo swing and bop's new, angular energy. This Classics disc captures some of the tenor great's best sides from the period, including an early bop milestone featuring Dizzy Gillespie and Don Byas ("Disorder at the Border") and tracks with Ben Webster and a variety of small bands graced by the likes of Byas, Teddy Wilson, Harry Carney, and Cozy Cole. Essential listening.