From the mid-'50s until Coleman Hawkins's death in 1969, the tenor-saxophonist frequently teamed up with trumpeter Roy Eldridge to form a potent team. However, Hawkins rarely met altoist Johnny Hodges on the bandstand, making this encounter a special event. Long versions of "Satin Doll," "Perdido" and "The Rabbit in Jazz" give these three classic jazzmen (who are ably assisted by the Tommy Flanagan Trio) chances to stretch out and inspire each other. The remainder of this CD has Eldridge and Hodges absent while Coleman Hawkins (on "new" versions of "Mack the Knife," "It's the Talk of the Town," "Bean and the Boys" and "Caravan") heads the quartet for some excellent playing. Timeless music played by some of the top veteran stylists of the swing era.
This releases contains the complete classic album Desafinado (Impulse AS- 28), which marks Coleman Hawkins’ only incursion into the Bossa Nova genre while showcasing him as the only horn. As a bonus, Kenny Burrell’s entire LP Bluesy Burrell (Moodsville MVST29) featuring Coleman Hawkins, and recorded in between the two bossa nova sessions. Even though it was not recorded in the Bossa Nova style, it maintains the relaxed spirit of the first album. Both LPs feature the exceptional Tommy Flanagan (playing percussion on the first album), as well as Latin percussion - by Willie Rodríguez on Desafinado, and by the great Ray Barretto on Bluesy Burrell.
At Ease is one of the most charming and attractive of the many albums Coleman Hawkins and Tommy Flanagan made together—a collection of ballads played with great affection for the melody. Hawkins could be fiercely aggressive in his playing. In this collection, he displays his tenderness. If ever there was a master of the ballad, it was Coleman Hawkins. His romantic style and sound caused one writer to say: "Hawk turned the saxophone into the sexophone." At Ease was done for the Moodsville series but while Hawkins, with the expert help of his pianist, Tommy Flanagan, sets a mood on eight standards, it is never merely mood music.
Soul singer Barbara Massey and jazz guitarist Ernie Calabria paired up for this rare 1971 album. With Calabria having worked with Nina Simone and Harry Belafonte, among others, and Massey having sung backup for artists including Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, and Herbie Hancock, the pairing was an inspired one and resulted in this superb soul-jazz outing. Massey has a dry yet passionate and evocative vocal quality that often brings to mind Grace Slick. Fittingly, the duo takes on Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love," turning the Summer of Love anthem into a steamy and hypnotic soul-funk jam. Elsewhere, the duo touches upon such varying styles as folk, Latin, and psychedelic rock with cuts like "For You" and "Do You Know?," bringing to mind such similarly inclined acts as the Free Design and Bill Withers. Anyone who has even a passing interest in this kind of '70s cross-genre aesthetic will certainly want to seek out Prelude To…
Arranger Ernie Wilkins' two Everest LPs, Here Comes the Swingin' Mr. Wilkins and The Big New Band of the '60s, are reissued in full on this single CD. Recording during 1959-1960, Wilkins used an overlapping personnel of Count Basie members (both past and of the time), some of the top jazz-oriented studio players, and various miscellaneous jazz musicians. There is no way that this could have been a full-time big band, not with such soloists as Duke Ellington's tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, trumpeters Clark Terry and Thad Jones, and the Basie players, but Wilkins' swinging arrangements gave his short-lived orchestra its own sound.