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General information  

  • Real name : Coleman Randolph Hawkins
  • Date of birth : 21/11/1904
  • Place of death : New York City
  • Date of death : 19/05/1969

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Alias  

  • Hawkins Coleman

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Coleman Hawkins (1904)

Coleman Randolph Hawkins

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  Summary  

Coleman Randolph Hawkins (November 21, 1904 – May 19, 1969) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. Hawkins was 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". While Hawkins is most strongly associated with the swing music and big band era, he had a role in the development of bebop in the 1940s.

Lester Young, who was called "Pres", in a 1959 interview with The Jazz Review, said "As far as I'm concerned, I think Coleman Hawkins was the President first, right? As far as myself, I think I'm the second one." Miles Davis once said: "When I heard Hawk, I learned to play ballads." Hawkins was nicknamed "Hawk" and sometimes "Bean".

  Biography  

 Early life and the swing era
Hawkins was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri, in 1904. Some out-of-date sources say 1901, but there is no evidence to prove an earlier date. He was named Coleman after his mother Cordelia's maiden name.

He attended high school in Chicago, then in Topeka, Kansas at Topeka High School. He later stated that he studied harmony and composition for two years at Washburn College in Topeka while still attending THS. In his youth he played piano and cello, and started playing saxophone at the age of nine; by the age of fourteen he was playing around eastern Kansas.

Hawkins joined Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds in 1921, whom he toured with through 1923, when he settled in New York City. Hawkins joined Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, where he remained until 1934, sometimes doubling on clarinet and bass saxophone. Hawkins's playing changed significantly during Louis Armstrong's tenure with the Henderson Orchestra during 1924-25. In the late 20's, Hawkins also participated in some of the earliest interracial recording sessions with the Mound City Blue Blowers. During the time with Henderson, he became a star soloist with an increasing amount of star solos on record. While with the band, he and Henry "Red" Allen recorded a series of small group sides for ARC . Hawkins also recorded a number of solo recordings, with either piano or with a pick-up band of Henderson's musicians in 1933-34, just prior to his European trip. He was also featured on a landmark Benny Goodman February 2, 1934 session for Columbia, which also featured Mildred Bailey as guest vocalist.

In late 1934, Hawkins accepted an invitation to play with Jack Hylton's band in London, and toured Europe as a soloist until 1939, memorably working with Django Reinhardt and Benny Carter in Paris in 1937. Having returned to the United States, on October 11, 1939, he recorded a two-chorus performance of the pop standard "Body and Soul", which he had been performing at Kelly's Stables. A landmark recording of the swing era, recorded as an afterthought at the session, it is notable in that Hawkins ignores almost all of the melody, only the first four bars are stated in a recognizable fashion. In its exploration of harmonic structure it is considered by many to be the next evolutionary step in jazz recording from where Louis Armstrong's "West End Blues" in 1928 left off.

 The bebop era

After an unsuccessful attempt to establish a big band, he led a combo at Kelly's Stables on Manhattan's 52nd Street with Thelonious Monk, Oscar Pettiford, Miles Davis, and Max Roach as sidemen. He was leader on what is generally considered the first ever bebop recording session with Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach in 1944. Later he toured with Howard McGhee and recorded with J. J. Johnson and Fats Navarro. He also toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic.

In 1948 Hawkins recorded Picasso, an early piece for unaccompanied saxophone.

After 1948 Hawkins divided his time between New York and Europe, making numerous freelance recordings. In the 1960s, he appeared regularly at the Village Vanguard in Manhattan.

Hawkins directly influenced many bebop performers, and later in his career, recorded or performed with such adventurous musicians as Sonny Rollins, who considered him as his main influence, and John Coltrane. He appears on the Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane record. In 1960 he recorded on Max Roach's We Insist! - Freedom Now suite.

 Later life

In the 1950s, Hawkins performed with more traditional musicians such as Henry "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 .

In the 1960s, Hawkins began to drink heavily and his recording output began to wane. However, he did manage to record some notable albums with musicians such as Duke Ellington, among others. His last recording was in 1966.

With failing health, Hawkins succumbed to pneumonia in 1969 and is interred in the Yew Plot at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

The Song of the Hawk, a 1990 biography written by British jazz historian John Chilton, chronicles Hawkins' career as one of the influential jazz performers of the 20th century.

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  Played movies  

  Albums 

  Tracks  

Name Duration Released
When Day Is Done 03:15 1996
Half Step Down, Please 03:02 1996
Body and Soul 03:00 1996
How Strange 03:02 1996
She's Funny That Way 03:14 1996
April in Paris 03:06 1996
Fine Dinner 02:33 1996
Spotlite 03:06 1996
Meet Doctor Foo 02:32 1996
Say It Isn't So 02:57 1996
I Love Paris 03:30 1996
Bouncing with Bean 03:03 1996
The Bean Stalks Again 03:24 1996
My Blue Heaven 02:46 1996
There Will Never Be Another You 02:57 1996
The Sheik of Araby 02:56 1996
Angel Face 03:12 1996
And I Still Love You 03:14 1965
Beautiful Girl 04:28 1965
She's Fit 02:45 1965
Red Roses for a Blue Lady 02:25 1965
Out of Nowhere 03:41 1965
Wrapped Tight 03:30 1965
Indian Summer 05:03 1965
Intermezzo 03:37 1965
I Won't Dance 03:22 1965
Marcheta 03:06 1965
Here's That Rainy Day 05:24 1965
Bean's Place 02:57 1965
Love Song from 04:18 1962
One Note Samba 06:01 1962
Don't Love Me 04:44 1962
I Remember You 03:59 1962
Quintessence 04:50 1962
Samba Para Bean 05:29 1962
Go Li'l Liza 06:32 1962
I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover 02:53 1962
Desafinado 05:49 1962
Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree 04:32 1962
Stumpy Bossa Nova 02:30 1962
Swingin' Scotch 05:37 1962
Un Abraco No Bonfa 04:52 1962
Put on Your Old Grey Bonnett 09:59 1962
O Pato 04:12 1962
La Rosita 05:02 1959
It Never Entered My Mind 05:47 1959
Blues for Yolande 06:44 1959
Tangerine 05:21 1959
Prisoner of Love 04:13 1959
You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To 04:15 1959
Like Someone in Love 03:55 1957
Begin the Beguine 03:02 1957
How Long Has This Been Going On? 03:54 1957
Blues for Rene 03:03 1957
I Wished on the Moon 03:38 1957
Somebody Loves Me 03:51 1957
You're Blasé 03:35 1957
The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise 03:49 1957
I'll Never Be the Same 03:29 1957
There's No You 03:25 1957
In a Mellow Tone 04:45 1957
Ill Wind 05:33 1957
My Melancholy Baby 04:08 1957
I Never Had a Chance 02:06 1957

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Coleman Hawkins", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.