Coleman Hawkins

Essential Albums

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About Coleman Hawkins

Coleman Hawkins was the first great tenor saxophonist, one of those who did the most to establish that instrument's role in jazz. When he joined the Fletcher Henderson band in 1924, Hawkins's smooth legato and powerful sense of swing, combined with an unusually broad knowledge of harmony and theory, quickly made him the dominant tenor man of the time. His return in 1939 from a long period in Europe was capped by a record date that included a watershed version of "Body and Soul." One of the few older musicians to embrace the intricacies of bebop, Hawkins continually challenged himself throughout a long and illustrious career.

St. Joseph, MO, United States
November 21, 1904

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