Coleman Hawkins – Live at the first Playboy Jazz Festival – August 7, 1959 – Armed Forces Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Coleman Hawkins this weekend. Recorded live and broadcast by Armed forces Radio during the first Playboy Jazz Festival, held in Chicago on August 7, 1959.
Nicknamed “Hawk” and sometimes “Bean”, Coleman Hawkins was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. One of the first prominent jazz musicians on his instrument, as Joachim E. Berendt explained: “there were some tenor players before him, but the instrument was not an acknowledged jazz horn”. Hawkins biographer John Chilton described the prevalent styles of tenor saxophone solos prior to Hawkins as “mooing” and “rubbery belches.” Hawkins cited as influences Happy Caldwell, Stump Evans, and Prince Robinson, although he was the first to tailor his method of improvisation to the saxophone rather than imitate the techniques of the clarinet. Hawkins’ virtuosic, arpeggiated approach to improvisation, with his characteristic rich, emotional, loud, and vibrato-laden tonal style, was the main influence on a generation of tenor players that included Chu Berry, Charlie Barnet, Tex Beneke, Ben Webster, Vido Musso, Herschel Evans, Buddy Tate, and Don Byas, and through them the later tenormen, Arnett Cobb, Illinois Jacquet, Flip Phillips, Ike Quebec, Al Sears, Paul Gonsalves, and Lucky Thompson. While Hawkins became well known with swing music during the big band era, he had a role in the development of bebop in the 1940s.
In the 1950s, Hawkins performed with more traditional musicians such as Red Allen and Roy Eldridge, with whom he appeared at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival and recorded Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster with fellow tenor saxophonist Ben Webster along with Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, and Alvin Stoller. His 1957 album The Hawk Flies High, with Idrees Sulieman, J. J. Johnson, Hank Jones, Barry Galbraith, Oscar Pettiford, and Jo Jones shows his interest in modern jazz styles during a period better known for his playing with more traditional musicians.
Hawkins’ interest in more modern styles manifested in a reunion with Monk, with whom he had remained close even though they hadn’t played together for over a decade. Monk led a June 1957 session featuring Hawkins and John Coltrane that would yield the classic Monk’s Music album issued later that summer. Outtakes from this session would comprise half the tracks on Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane, released on the Jazzland Records subsidiary of Riverside Records in 1961.
Sit back, relax and hit the Play button. BTW: the announcer says Stereo, but this broadcast is in plain old mono.