Coleman Hawkins, c. 1943.
(born Nov. 21, 1904, St. Joseph, Mo., U.S.—died May 19, 1969, New York, N.Y.) U.S. jazz
musician. Hawkins came to prominence as a member of Fletcher Henderson
's big band (1924–34), with which he absorbed the style of Louis Armstrong
and developed the smooth legato phrasing and robust tone that set the technical standard for all tenor players. He worked in Europe (1934–39) and soon after his return recorded “Body and Soul,” which became a commercial success and one of the masterpieces of improvised jazz. Hawkins was the first important tenor saxophone soloist in jazz. He was receptive to the harmonic advances made by younger players, who widely acknowledged his influence.
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.