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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke


Coleman Hawkins - Tenor Saxophone with the Manny Albam 0rchestra.
Recorded at Webster Hall N.Y.C. July 1956
RCA Victor Gold Series 74321 851 522


1. April In Paris
2. Mon Homme
3. Under Paris Skies ( Sous le Ciel de Paris )
4. Mimi
5. La Chnouf
6. La Vie En Rose
7. La Mer ( Beyond The Sea )
8. Paris In The Spring
9. I Love Paris
10. Mademoiselle De Paris
11. Chien Perdu De Collier
12. Tu N'Peux Pas T'Figurer

The 1950's proved to be a highly productive period for Coleman Hawkins. A constant stream of albums was released with such luminaries as J.J. Johnson, Oscar Peterson, Red Allen and Roy Eldridge. By 1956 Hawkin's tone on tenor had reached its later maturity, characterised by a certain hardness and gruffness of quality but with an almost disdainful shrug of the shoulders in its delivery. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful sounds in all of jazz. It is stripped of any frills or sentimentality and is the mark of a profoundly experienced musician making a clear and forthright statement of his beliefs.

Hawk first visited Paris in the mid 1930's and acquired a life-long love for European culture and acceptance . Like many American Jazzmen of his time it was here that he felt he had garnered the first real appreciation due to him as an artist.

Whilst recorded in New York this album is comprised of songs associated with France and with Paris in particular. Hawkins collaborates on these selections with composer/arranger Manny Albam. This was a musical partnership that would be re-visited in 1965 with the "Wrapped Tight " session. The arrangements are highly dramatic but contain many humorous moments with the insertion of quotes such as "Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay " from the woodwind in "April In Paris ", the "Can Can " used as a counter-melody in "La Vie En Rose " and "An American In Paris " in "I Love Paris."

Throughout these recordings there is a great amount of interplay between the soloist and the orchestra - this is not just a "with strings" album. On "Mon Homme " the melody is stated by the strings to which the saxophone replies. On "La Vie En Rose " the tenor comes in most dramatically at the middle eight . Other outstanding moments include the trumpet obligato on "Paris In The Spring " , the fairground organ effect on the intro of " Under Paris Skies " and the double - tongued passage at the start of " Mimi". There is also a great sense of swing to many of the numbers and an obvious feeling of enthusiasm and commitment on the part of Hawkins (he can even be heard shouting encouragement to himself on " La Vie En Rose ").

This recording is essential Hawkins, essential tenor saxophone and essential Jazz !

Dick Stafford

D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living in Coventry.



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