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.
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 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.
On Sonny Meets Hawk!, possibly more than at any other point in his long professional evolution, Hawkins was able to attain heights of unfettered creativity that must have felt bracing, even exhilarating. He obviously relished the opportunity to improvise intuitively in the company of a tenor saxophonist every bit as accomplished, resourceful, and inventive as he was.
This session is valuable for the majestic playing of tenor great Coleman Hawkins, who performs on half of the eight tracks. The key moments come during the interaction between the guitarist and tenor player, especially during their exchanges on Burrell's "Montono Blues." The rhythm section, Hawkins' working band from this period (pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Major Holley, and drummer Eddie Locke), provide impeccable, sublime support. The CD is rounded out with an up-tempo performance of the standard "I Never Knew," from a date led by pianist Gildo Mahones. This is where Burrell gets a chance to cook in his classic hard bop style, along with the fine alto player Leo Wright.
Rarely is a second version of a concept album successful. But when the collection is as inspired as Robert Goulet on Broadway, a second volume is a natural. On Broadway, Vol. 2 contains 11 songs. including some true Broadway classics like "Mame." "Cabaret," "Impossible Dream," and "Summertime." For those who would want Goulet singing the most well-known songs possible, Vol. 2 is an improvement over Vol. 1.
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.