A mid-'50s tenor sax workout by the immortal soloist Coleman Hawkins. This was originally issued on Urania and wasn't spectacular, but did have some nicely played blues and ballads. It has been reissued on CD by Fresh Sounds. (Allmusic)
This 1962 Moodsville quartet date finds Coleman Hawkins in excellent form performing tunes from Broadway shows. It's an unusually lively date for this label that specialized mainly in slow ballad treatments in a jazz setting, and it's a terrific date because of that. Hawk stays down in the lower register of his tenor throughout most of the selections, and his breathy, smoky tone is most attractive. ~ Amazon Customer's Review
Surprisingly, this Impulse album is the only recorded meeting between these two swing giants. Born just five years apart, Ellington and Hawkins led parallel lives through the swing era, but somehow never ended up in a recording studio together until this 1962 session. The pairing is certainly a good one that should have been repeated more often. Hawkins' famously robust tenor sax fits in seamlessly with Ellington and a small group of his top sidemen including Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, and Ray Nance. These old pros work smoothly through a relaxed set of new and old Ellington compositions.
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."