I started this post on November 21, which is Coleman Hawkins’ birthday — to the sounds of his music played by WKCR-FM in New York City. And then the jazz guitarist- archaeologist Nick Rossi unearthed this photograph on Google: Hawkins in Amsterdam, spring 1938, with Maurice van Kleef, drums; Freddy Johnson, piano — a trio that recorded a dozen sides:
Hawk moved to another neighborhood in 1969, but he certainly hasn’t been forgotten. Here are a group of artists — I think few if any of them were playing in 1969 — paying their own energetic loving tribute at the Cleveland Classic Jazz Party. Dan Barrett, trombone / leader; Howard Alden, guitar; Randy Reinhart, cornet; Scott Robinson, tenor saxophone; Joel Forbes, string bass; Ehud Asherie, piano; Ricky Malichi, drums.
MY BLUE HEAVEN (with an affectionate backwards glance to the Victor All-Star Octet of 1940, featuring, among others, Benny Carter, J. C. Higginbotham, and Walter Johnson):
SOMEDAY SWEETHEART (with thoughts of the 1933 Allen-Hawkins Orchestra, whose first two test recordings — this and SISTER KATE — were not issued at the time but were saved for future generations):
BEAN AND THE BOYS (a line on LOVER, COME BACK TO ME from 1946, the middle of an especially fertile decade for Hawk):
IF I COULD BE WITH YOU (harking back to the cosmically-important 1929 Mound City Blue Blowers session):
Beautiful music. The Cleveland Classic Jazz Party (nee Jazz at Chautauqua) is no more, which is cause for woe — but these artists are still filling the air with beauty, for which I and others bless them.
May your happiness increase!