Personnel: Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone); Coleman Hawkins; Kenny Burrell (guitar); Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor saxophone); Idrees Sulieman (trumpet); Vic Dickenson (trombone); Ronnell Bright (piano); Ron Carter , Wendell Marshall (bass instrument); Gus Johnson , Charles "Specs" Wright, Walter Bolden (drums); Roy Gaines (guitar); Jerome Richardson (alto saxophone); Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone); Joe Thomas (trumpet); Ray Bryant, Red Garland, Tommy Flanagan (piano); Eddie Locke, Osie Johnson (drums); Jerry Valentine.
Audio Remasterer: Joe Tarantino.
Liner Note Author: Bob Bernotas.
Recording information: Hacdensack, NJ (11/07/1958-08/16/1962); Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (11/07/1958-08/16/1962).
Photographer: Esmond Edwards.
Arranger: Jerry Valentine.
By the time Coleman Hawkins was recording for Prestige in the late 1950s and early '60s, he was already the distinguished elder statesman of the tenor saxophone, and was playing with musicians who had grown up in a world changed by his musical innovations. THE BEST OF COLEMAN HAWKINS captures the Hawk at the start of his final decade of playing, with the stylistic blueprint for saxophone that he invented still blazingly apparent on these cuts.
In addition to his robust tone, brilliant harmonic conception, and infallible sense of swing, Hawkins was always searching for new ideas. His merging of old and new schools is nicely represented here, spurred on by a wonderful crop of younger musicians, including guitarist Kenny Burrell, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Ron Carter, and tenor man Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. (Note the boiling mood as Davis and Hawkins trade solos on "In a Mellow Tone.") Hawk's justifiably loved ballad playing is here, too (especially on the aching "I Want to Be Loved"), rounding out a style-spanning glimpse at his late-period work.