Tuesday, December 25, 2007
HAWKINS, COLEMAN Jazz great Coleman Hawkins (1904-1969) is generally credited with introducing the tenor saxophone to the contemporary jazz ensemble. Before Hawkins, few jazz aficionados considered the tenor saxophone a suitable jazz instrument; today few would consider a jazz ensemble complete without it. Having earlier studied the piano and cello, Hawkins began playing the tenor sax at the age of nine. Twenty-six years later, his first commercial hit, the immortal "Body and Soul," was recorded. Along with Lester "Prez" Young (1909-1959), another talented tenor saxophonist, Hawkins' influence on younger saxophonists and jazz musicians in general during the 1940's and 1950's cannot be minimized.