Bebop Years Box set, Import
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Hawkins began his performing career as a teenager, backing blues singer Mamie Smith in the early 1920's. Before Hawkins, the saxophone was not a major instrument in jazz, and it was seldom featured as a solo instrument. When Hawkins joined Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra in 1924, that began to change. Perhaps inspired by fellow bandmember Louis Armstrong, who spent about a year with Henderson, Hawkins quickly developed his own distinctive style as a soloist. When Armstrong left, Coleman Hawkins became the dominant soloist with the Henderson band, a position he held until 1934. He set the standard for the jazz saxophonist during the first part of the Swing era, and he strongly influenced such other figures as Ben Webster, Benny Carter, Chu Berry and many others. After a productive five-year stay in Europe, Hawkins returned to the U.S. and started his own group in 1939. One of his first records was the ballad "Body and Soul," which became a major pop hit and remains one of the most memorable recordings in jazz history. It set a standard for jazz improvisation that has seldom been matched.
"Body and Soul" first song in this boxed set, and really doesn't belong with the other recordings here, which cover the period 1943-1947. Hawkins' big band failed within a year, and he soon began working with the smaller groups that make up the bulk of these recordings.Read more ›
Coleman had been a highly reputed journeyman jazzman for two decades when the first track in this box set, Body and Soul, was recorded by RCA in October, 1939. The final track on the fourth disk, Bah-U-Bah, was recorded in Paris, rehearsing for a European tour, in December, 1949. So "The Bebop Years" is not only a compendium of the Hawk's finest sessions -- 88 of them -- over a ten-year period, but also a survey of the evolution of jazz from a "high-toned low-class popular" music to the artistic heights that Hawkins shared with Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Monk, Gillespie, Gordon, and other progressive beboppers. The sax was, of course, the master instrument of the era, and it was Hawkins who first proved what the sax could offer. Hawkins had incredible chops, a rich rolling tone especially in his lower register on ballads, and it was on ballads that he sounded most harmonically adventuresome and original. But Hawk never totally abandoned his swing-era roots. He could play 'hot' or 'sweet' but 'cool' was not in him, and the 50's became a decade of neglect and disappointment for him.Read more ›
trumpeter Fats Navarro that produced the great Half Step Down Please.
Otherwise this is a wonderful collection of a more modern sounding Hawkins. At least they have the Dizzy stuff. Rember Hawkins was on the first bebop recordings and I also believe Monks first session.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favorite Jazz albums is Coleman Hawkins' "The Hawk Flies High" which he recorded with 6 other great musicians in 1957. (See my review here on Amazon. Read morePublished on January 15, 2009 by Roger Berlind
I would recommend this for anyone wanting to get an overview of Hawk's playing from his early prime years. Read morePublished on January 19, 2006 by kfer