Archive for Coleman Hawkins

Summertime – Henry “Red” Allen & Coleman Hawkins

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , on June 27, 2019 by telescoper

Summer seems to have made it to Ireland at last so here’s an appropriate piece of music. It’s George Gershwin’s Summertime, played in 1958 by a band led by trumpeter Henry “Red”Allen that included the great Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax. This record came from a session that Henry Allen said near the end of his life that he regarded as his best work, and indeed his playing on this is absolutely beautiful (as is that of Coleman Hawkins). Other musicians on this track are Earl Warren (clarinet), Marty Napoleon (piano), Chubby Jackson (bass) and George Wettling (drums). Enjoy!

Sonny Rollins’ letter to Coleman Hawkins

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , , on March 4, 2015 by telescoper

I couldn’t resist reblogging this wonderful letter from one great saxophonist, Sonny Rollins, to another, Coleman Hawkins.

The letter was written in 1962. You can find here on Youtube a recording of the two of them playing the great Jerome Kern tune All The Things You Are at the Newport Jazz Festival just a few months later in summer 1963. The title seems to match the sentiments of the letter rather nicely!

Simon Purcell

Do read this, a touching letter from Sonny Rollins to Coleman Hawkins in 1962 (from the website The greatest players possess not only self-discipline and powers of concentration, but generally, great humility.

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Copenhagen, Cosmology and Coleman Hawkins

Posted in Biographical, Jazz, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on August 18, 2014 by telescoper

Now that I’ve finally checked into my hotel in the wonderful city of Copenhagen I thought I’d briefly check in on the old blog as well. I’m here once again for a meeting, this time as an invited speaker at the 2nd NBIA-APCTP Workshop on Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics; NBIA being the Niels Bohr International Academy (based in Denmark) and APTCTP being the Asia Pacific Centre for Theoretical Physics (based in Korea). This is the kind of meeting I actually like, with relatively few participants and lots of time for discussion; as a welcome gesture for the first day there was also free beer!

I decided for some reason to try an experimental route getting here. There wasn’t a flight at a convenient date and  time from Gatwick, the nearest airport to my Brighton residence, so I decided to get an early morning flight from Heathrow instead. The departure time of 06:40, however, left me with the difficulty of getting there in time by public transport as the relevant trains don’t run overnight. I toyed with the idea of booking an airport hotel for the night, but decided that would be extravagant so instead opted to get a coach from Brighton; this was cheap and comfortable – only a handful of other passengers got on the bus – and got me there right on schedule. The downside was that I had to catch the 01:40 from Brighton Coach Station, which arrived at about 4am at Heathrow Terminal 3. It was quite interesting finding the normally busy terminal almost deserted but although I did a self-service check-in straight away the bag drops didn’t open until almost 5am. None of the cafes in the check-in area were open, so I had to hang around for an hour before finally getting rid of my luggage and passing through to the airside whereupon I nabbed some coffee and a bite to eat.

The flight was almost uneventful. Unfortunately, however, as we came in to land at Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport, a young person sitting behind me vomited uncontrollably and at considerable length, producing a steady flow both of chunder and unpleasant noises. The aftermath was quite unpleasant, so I was quick out of the blocks when the plane finally came to a stop at the gate. An aisle seat turned out to have been a wise choice.

Assuming it would be too early to check into the hotel that had been booked for me, I decided to go straight to the meeting but got to the Niels Bohr Institute’s famous Auditorium A near the end of the first talk, about the Imprint of Radio Loops on the CMB (a subject I’ve blogged about), which is a shame because (a) its interesting and (b) some of my own work was apparently discussed. That happens so rarely these days I’m sorry I missed it.

I was a bit tetchy as a result of my sleepless night, though I limited the expression of this to a  couple of rants about frequentist statistics during the discussions.

After the free beer I finally made my way to the hotel and checked in. It’s not bad, actually. There can’t be that many hotel rooms that have a picture of the great tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins on the wall:


Anyway, I was due to give the conference summary on Friday but I’ve been moved forward to Wednesday so I’d better think of something to say. Maybe in the morning though, I could do with an early night…

Now This is What You Call a Gig!

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , on March 5, 2014 by telescoper

No time for a proper post today, but I couldn’t resist reblogging this advertisement for what must have been an amazing concert with an amazing lineup; so amazing that Pharaoh Sanders and Albert Ayler, who were also there, didn’t even make it onto the poster!


Now This is What You Call a Gig!

It was 1966…Pharaoh Sanders and Albert Ayler were also there playing with Coltrane’s group

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Posted in Jazz with tags , , , on December 29, 2011 by telescoper

I saw that someone posted this on Youtube, so couldn’t resist putting it on here. For a long time in the 70s and 80s this was used by Humphrey Lyttelton as the theme tune for his BBC Radio programme The Best of Jazz so it’s full of nostalgia for me as I used to listen to it every Monday night when I was school. Although quite a traditionalist in terms of his own music, Humph played all kinds of Jazz on his programme and in so doing introduced me to a great deal of music that I still love, thirty odd years later. The only problem with using this as his theme tune was that I never got to hear the whole thing all the way through, until I finally got around to buying the LP (which I still have).

This track, Wanderlust, is taken from the album Duke Ellington meets Coleman Hawkins and it features star performers from the Ellington Band of the early sixties, with the great Coleman Hawkins sitting in on tenor saxophone. It’s a fairly basic blues composition, of the type often played at jam sessions like this; Ellington himself doesn’t play a solo, but provides wonderful piano accompaniment throughout. The rest of the rhythm section comprises Aaron Bell (bass) and Sam Woodyard (drums). Soloists in order are: Johnny Hodges (alto sax), typically relaxed; Ray Nance on trumpet; Harry Carney (baritone sax); Lawrence Brown (trombone); and finally a longer contribution by the star of the show, Coleman Hawkins, whose climactic solo is superbly constructed around the simple blues chords, taking it into another dimension entirely, before an ensemble chorus after which Sam Woodyward whips it up in sixths and takes them home. A great record by a bunch of great musicians that manages to be simultaneously very typically Duke Ellington and very typically Coleman Hawkins.

Honeysuckle Rose

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , on October 8, 2011 by telescoper

I’m in a vegetative mood today and the old energy levels aren’t high enough to post anything demanding, so I thought I’d put up a piece of music for your entertainment and edification. This was recorded in Paris, on April 28th 1937 and it revolves around a lengthy  tenor saxophone solo by the great Coleman Hawkins. Inspired by his sojourn in Europe, Hawkins returned to New York to record probably the most famous tenor solo ever, on the classic ballad Body and Soul, but this shows a side to his playing that was more familiar to swing era jazz fans. Listen to the drive that he injects into this performance combined with that “heavy” tenor tone, and you’ll understand why he was regarded as the pre-eminent tenor soloist of the 30s.

Other members of the band include Benny Carter who plays the alto solo near the end and who obviously did the arrangement for the four saxophones – nobody else in jazz history has ever managed to get such a biting sound out of small saxophone section as Benny Carter. And if that weren’t enough there’s a bonus in the unmistakeable form of  Django Reinhardt‘s guitar. Enjoy!