Hawkins, Coleman

Hawkins, Coleman

▪ American musician
in full  Coleman Randolph Hawkins 
born November 21, 1904, St. Joseph, Mo., U.S.
died May 19, 1969, New York, N.Y.
 American jazz musician whose improvisational (improvisation) mastery of the tenor saxophone, which had previously been viewed as little more than a novelty, helped establish it as one of the most popular instruments in jazz. He was the first major saxophonist in the history of jazz.

      At age four Hawkins began to study the piano, at seven the cello, and at nine the saxophone. He became a professional musician in his teens, and, while playing with Fletcher Henderson (Henderson, Fletcher)'s big band between 1923 and 1934, he reached his artistic maturity and became acknowledged as one of the great jazz artists. He left the band to tour Europe for five years and then crowned his return to the United States in 1939 by recording the hit “Body and Soul,” an outpouring of irregular, double-timed melodies that became one of the most imitated of all jazz solos.

      Hawkins was one of the first jazz horn players with a full understanding of intricate chord progressions, and he influenced many of the great saxophonists of the swing era (notably Ben Webster (Webster, Ben) and Chu Berry) as well as such leading figures of modern jazz as Sonny Rollins (Rollins, Sonny) and John Coltrane (Coltrane, John). Hawkins's deep, full-bodied tone and quick vibrato were the expected style on jazz tenor until the advent of Lester Young (Young, Lester), and even after Young's appearance many players continued to absorb Hawkins's approach. One of the strongest improvisers in jazz history, Hawkins delivered harmonically complex lines with an urgency and authority that demanded the listener's attention. He was also a noted ballad player who could create arpeggiated, rhapsodic lines with an intimate tenderness that contrasted with his gruff attack and aggressive energy at faster tempos.

      Hawkins gave inspired performances for decades, managing to convey fire in his work long after his youth. From the 1940s on he led small groups, recording frequently and playing widely in the United States and Europe with Jazz at the Philharmonic and other tours. He willingly embraced the changes that occurred in jazz over the years, playing with Dizzy Gillespie (Gillespie, Dizzy) and Max Roach (Roach, Max) in what were apparently the earliest bebop recordings (1944). In time he also became an outstanding blues improviser, with harsh low notes that revealed a new ferocity in his art. Despite alcoholism and ill health, he continued playing until shortly before his death in 1969.

Additional Reading
John Chilton, The Song of the Hawk: The Life and Recordings of Coleman Hawkins (1990), discusses Hawkins's life and works. Burnett James, Coleman Hawkins (1984), includes a discography.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hawkins, Coleman (Randolph) — born Nov. 21, 1904, St. Joseph, Mo., U.S. died May 19, 1969, New York, N.Y. U.S. jazz musician. Hawkins came to prominence as a member of Fletcher Henderson s big band (1924–34), with which he absorbed the style of Louis Armstrong and developed… …   Universalium

  • Hawkins,Coleman Randolph — Haw·kins (hôʹkĭnz), Coleman Randolph. 1901? 1969. American jazz saxophonist. Noted for his improvisational solos, he established the saxophone as a leading jazz instrument. * * * …   Universalium

  • Coleman Hawkins — Nom Coleman Randolph Hawkins Naissance 21 novembre  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Coleman Hawkins — Coleman Hawkins, circa September 1946. Photo: William P. Gottlieb. Background information Birth name Coleman Randolph Hawk …   Wikipedia

  • HAWKINS (C.) — HAWKINS COLEMAN (1904 1969) On a souvent dit que le saxophoniste ténor noir Coleman Hawkins, surnommé Bean (haricot), était «l’inventeur du saxophone ténor». Cette formule signifie que nul avant lui, en jazz, n’était parvenu à domestiquer… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Hawkins — Hawkins, John * * * (as used in expressions) Hawkins, Coleman (Randolph) Hawkins, Erick Hawkins, Sir John …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Coleman — Coleman, William, llamado Bill * * * (as used in expressions) Coleman, (Randolph Denard) Ornette Hawkins, Coleman (Randolph) Young, Coleman …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Coleman Hawkins — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar al aut …   Wikipedia Español

  • Hawkins — /haw kinz/, n. 1. Sir Anthony Hope ( Anthony Hope ), 1863 1933, English novelist and playwright. 2. Coleman, 1904 69, U.S. jazz saxophonist. 3. Also, Hawkyns. Sir John, 1532 95, English slave trader and rear admiral. * * * (as used in… …   Universalium

  • Coleman — /kohl meuhn/, n. 1. Ornette /awr net /, born 1930, U.S. jazz saxophonist and composer. 2. a male given name. * * * (as used in expressions) Coleman Randolph Denard Ornette Hawkins Coleman Randolph Young Coleman * * * …   Universalium

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