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The Hawk Relaxes by Coleman Hawkins

Coleman Hawkins’s penchant for recording with young lions toward the end of his career sometimes resulted in near-catastrophe (witness the 1963 Sonny Meets Hawk! date for RCA in which the two tenor giants not only fail to find common ground, but Rollins’s aggressive honking at times presents the aural equivalent of a jab in the eye to the patriarchal Hawkins.) Not so with this straightforward recording featuring some of the finest fledgling talents of the era. Backed by Ronnell Bright on piano (the eldest of the sidemen on this date at 30) and a young but already frequently used session man, Kenny Burrell on guitar, Hawkins masterfully wends his way through a set of slightly off-the-beaten-path standards such as "Moonglow," "Just a Gigolo" and "Speak Low."

As the title suggests, this disc catches Hawkins at his most mellow a setting that provides very little room for the sidemen to stretch. This is a bit of a disappointment as the disc also features Ron Carter on bass just prior to his stint with Miles’s famous early-60’s ensemble. Also present is drummer Andrew Cyrille poised to begin his career with the innovative Cecil Taylor Unit. Although it would have been nice to hear these future greats step out a bit, this disc is still a notable record of an early outing and both turn in solid performances. Hawkins's sophisticated stylings, as always, are a sheer delight for the senses. If you’re looking for the perfect CD to pop in while curled up fireside with your sweetie on a chilly evening, this may well be it.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Coleman Hawkins
  • CD Title: The Hawk Relaxes
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Moodsville
  • Rating: Four Stars
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