Monday, March 21, 2011

At Ease with Coleman Hawkins

I LOVE MUSIC! All sorts of music! When I received my DailyOM today in my inbox I saw this and HAD to repost. I'm listening to the samples right how and they are wonderful! It's perfect because I have been in a JAZZ mood lately! Check it out!

Coleman Hawkins


It wouldn’t be overstepping any boundaries to call Coleman Hawkins one of the most important saxophonists in jazz history. The Missouri–born “Hawk” helped bring the tenor sax to prominence as a solo instrument, first as a member of the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra in the 1920s and ’30s, and eventually as a pioneer of the bop era, recording with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, John Coltrane, and Max Roach. If the silken tone and gentle improvisation on the late-era collection At Ease with Coleman Hawkins don’t sound that revolutionary, it’s only because so many musicians have aped Hawkins’s sound. Like its title suggests, At Ease is an album of slow tempos and slow-burning embers, gently stoked.

Dim the lights, pour some bubbly, draw a bath, and slip into “For You, For Me, For Evermore,” At Ease’s tender opener. Hawk’s sax flaps in short flurries around pianist Tommy Flanagan’s wide-open piano chords, then coasts on home into the tune’s sultry melody. There’s barely there accompaniment from bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Osie Johnson, just enough background slink to keep the momentum going. With such minimal accompaniment, Hawk’s earthy horn has plenty of open space to explore. It blooms all over “Mighty Like a Rose,” suffusing the nooks and crannies of the jazz standard’s melody with Hawk’s fat, gilded tone. There’s no showing off here, just the melodic, masterful phrasing and warmth of a master instrumentalist.

While At Ease sets a sensual mood that lasts from Flanagan’s first piano flourish to Johnson’s final drumbeat, the album’s not elevator jazz by any stretch. Hawkins and his group inject a remarkable amount of energy for a record that stays low-key for its entire 42-minute run time. And the two soloists are consistently inventive, spinning out reams of spontaneous melodic lines in response to the eight delightful standards chosen for the occasion. Flanagan swings hard as his right hand dances around the melody of “I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You),” the perfect bop complement to Hawk’s own soulful solos on the song. At Ease proves that, four decades into his jazz career, Hawk was still a master.

Listen to all sound clips from this CD
  • "For You, For Me, Forevermore"
  • "Mighty Like a Rose"
  • "I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)"

  • Buy this CD

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