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Hawk Talk

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, February 6, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

From the Label

Coleman Hawkins, father of modern jazz saxophone, established the standards against which all other jazz saxophonists of his day were measured. Renowned for his aggressive swing and harmonic sophistication, Hawk never stopped growing over the course of a career spanning more than 40 years. From the hot swing of the Fletcher Henderson band in the late '20s to the hot bed of bebop innovation in the '40s and beyond, Hawkins was there to challenge and inspire generations of saxophonists. This 1963 session, his last with strings, finds the mature Hawkins in mellow, impeccably swinging form. Backed by the Frank Hunter Orchestra, Hawk wraps his full gruff tone around a program of tunes that includes arrangements of themes by Brahms and Shumann and some otherwise unavailable Hawkins originals. The Tradition reissue of this album includes new comprehensive liner notes and two bonus tracks left off the original album. The mastertapes were digitally remastered for this release.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Easy Walker
  2. Traumerei
  3. All The Time
  4. Lady Butterfly
  5. Not Quite Night
  6. Pebbles
  7. I Knew Dana
  8. Lullaby
  9. Hawk Talk
  10. Misty Morning
  11. Lonely Tenor
  12. Whisper To Me


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 6, 1996)
  • Original Release Date: 1963
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Tradition Records
  • ASIN: B0000058Q6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #778,916 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Originally recorded on March 21 and 25, 1963, these 12 tracks (see product description) feature Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax with a different rhythm section for each date. The March 21st date (tracks 1,3,5,6,7, and 12) has Dick Hyman on piano, Milt Hinton on bass, and Osie Johnson on drums. Supporting the Hawk on the March 25th session (tracks 2,4,8,9,10, and 11) are the great Hank Jones on piano, George Duvivier on bass, and Jimmy Crawford on drums. Both sessions include the Frank Hunter Orchestra.

Of particular interest and among the highlights on this CD are three tunes composed by Hawkins: Lady Butterfly, Hawk Talk, and Lonely Tenor. For this reviewer, the songs by Schumann (Traumerei) and Brahms (Lullaby), while recognizable and pleasant, strike me as something akin to novelty items.

Although each track is enjoyable, the cumulative effect of listening to all 12 tracks is a certain sense of sameness, due in large part, I suspect, from the playing of the full orchestra behind the quartet, playing which at times unfortunately becomes rather overpowering and even tends to drown out some of the more subtle nuances of the soloist and his sidemen.

Reissued on the Tradition label, this CD has excellent audio quality throughout and can be purchased quite reasonably through Amazon.com. If the producers of these 1963 sessions were aiming at a product to match the justly famous Charlie Parker With Strings album, they fell way short of that high mark. Nonetheless, this is an album that will offers a series of relatively short tunes with the Hawk in a decidely mellow and relaxed frame of mind.

Although not in any way an "essential" album for his fans, it is recommended to all those who love hearing Coleman Hawkins perform on his tenor sax.
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