Sunday, January 22, 2012

What I'm Listening To: Coleman Hawkins' All-Star Octet

Now that I'm back riding the stationary bike fairly regularly again, I'm back to my Big Band Bicycling.  One of the tracks that I thoroughly enjoy is "The Sheik of Araby" performed by Coleman Hawkins' All-Star Octet.  This tune was recorded in January of 1940 (and you can hear it on a soundtrack collection from the Ken Burns documentary "The War").

Building on his October 1939 recording of "Body and Soul," you can hear clearly in "The Sheik of Araby" during Hawkins' tenor saxophone solo towards the end of the recording a definite Bebop rhythm, pacing, and sound that would become immortalized by the likes of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Max Roach, and others.

It's fascinating to listen to an early Charlie Parker piece and then to "The Sheik of Araby" by Coleman Hawkins.  I love Charlie Parker and his pioneering work with the Bebop style, but I have to give Hawkins the true props for being Bebop's real first practitioner and innovator.

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