Today In Jazz

Happy Birthday Coleman Hawkins!

November 21

It’s virtually impossible to play jazz and not be indebted in some way to the Phoenix of the jazz saxophone (as the critic Martin Williams once called him) Coleman Hawkins. As far back as the 1920’s, he was a presence to be feared in the sense that he was so original and so voracious a listener, that he made many musicians feel somehow challenged just by his walking into the club they were playing in. Cannonball Adderley once replied to a musician who voiced this feeling, “A young tenor player was complaining to me that Coleman Hawkins made him nervous. Man, I told him Hawkins was supposed to make him nervous! Hawkins has been making other sax players nervous for forty years!”

Today is Hawkins’ 112th birthday anniversary, and we’ll listen to what Sonny Rollins has referred to as his greatest recorded solo: