Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Colemans Hawkins: Wrapped Tight

1. Marcheta
2. Intermezzo
3. Wrapped Tight
4. Red Roses for a Blue Lady
5. She's Fit
6. Beautiful Girl
7. And I Still Love You
8. Bean's Place
9. Here's That Rainy Day
10. I Won't Dance
11. Indian Summer
12. Out of Nowhere

Colemans Hawkins - tenor sax
Bill Berry - trumpet (#1,2,3,7,8)
Snooky Young - trumpet (#4,5,6)
Urbie Green - trombone (#1,8)
Barry Harris - piano
Buddy Catlett - bass
Eddie Locke - drums
Bob Thiele - production

Recorded February 22 (1 thru 6) and March 1 (7 thru 12), 1965; released on Impulse!

The allmusic.com review:
Hawkins's last strong recording finds the veteran, 43 years after his recording debut with Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds, improvising creatively on a wide variety of material on this CD, ranging from "Intermezzo" and "Here's That Rainy Day" to "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" and "Indian Summer." Best is an adventurous version of "Out of Nowhere" that shows that the tenor-saxophonist was still coming up with new ideas in 1965.
This album is a good example of old dogs proving that they can learn new tricks. Hawk (also nicknamed "Bean") was about as old-school as jazzers got, having been on the scene almost from its beginnings and having weathered, and thrived in, the various changes that occurred over a four-decade career - from swing, to bebop, to bossa nova, to even just a hint of the jazz avant-garde.

My first exposure to his work was on some compilation album that just happened to have "Picasso" - a signature piece for Hawk, and apparently the very first solo sax recording ever. We take unaccompanied sax recordings - whether individual tunes or whole albums - for granted these days, but back in the late 1940s that must have been nothing short of revolutionary. Hawk was arguably the first influential tenor sax player in the jazz world and well worth getting to know.

This particular recording came right at the twilight of Hawk's career, and is considered by music critics to contain his last good recording sessions. As is fitting for an album recorded for the Impulse! label, there is a distinctive John Coltrane influence to be heard on these tunes. That said, there's still plenty of old-school bebop with just enough of an edge to get the listener's attention.

This one's been out of print for a while & CDs of Wrapped Tight seem to fetch between $25-$100 as of this writing. Hopefully the conglomerate that currently holds the Impulse! catalog will see fit to reissue this wonderful recording. Until then, if you're a working stiff like me, these mp3s will treat you right.

Get Wrapped Tight & enjoy the tunes.