From the 1960 Coleman Hawkins album "The Hawk Swings". Coleman Hawkins is considered "The father of the tenor saxophone" one of the greatest jazz giants.
In the 1950s, Hawkins performed with more traditional musicians such as Red Allen and Roy Eldridge, with whom he appeared at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival and recorded Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster with fellow tenor saxophonist Ben Webster along with Oscar Peterson (piano), Herb Ellis (guitar), Ray Brown (bass), and Alvin Stoller (drums). In the 1960s, he appeared regularly at the Village Vanguard in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, Hawkins had began to drink heavily and his recording output began to wane. However, he did manage to record some notable albums, including an album for the Impulse! label with Duke Ellington. His last recording was in 1967.
With failing health, Hawkins succumbed to pneumonia in 1969 and is interred in the Yew Plot at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.
The Song of the Hawk, a 1990 biography written by British jazz historian John Chilton, chronicles Hawkins's career as one of the most significant jazz performers of the 20th century.
Although Adolphe Sax actually invented the saxophone, in the jazz world the title "Father of the Tenor Saxophone" became justly associated with Coleman Hawkins (1904 - 1969), not only an inventive jazz giant but also the founder of a whole dynasty of saxophone players. Before Hawkins, the saxophone (itself "born" in 1846) was mainly a favorite in marching bands and something of a novelty instrument in circus acts and vaudeville shows. Indeed, at age 16, Coleman started out with such a vaudeville group, Mamie Smith and her Jazz Hounds.
At age four Hawkins began to study the piano, at seven the cello, and at nine the saxophone. He became a professional musician in his teens, and, while playing with Fletcher Henderson’s big band between 1923 and 1934, he reached his artistic maturity and became acknowledged as one of the great jazz artists. He left the band to tour Europe for five years and then crowned his return to the United States in 1939 by recording the hit “Body and Soul,” an outpouring of irregular, double-timed melodies that became one of the most imitated of all jazz solos.
Hawkins was one of the first jazz horn players with a full understanding of intricate chord progressions, and he influenced many of the great saxophonists of the swing era (notably Ben Webster and Chu Berry) as well as such leading figures of modern jazz as Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. Hawkins’s deep, full-bodied tone and quick vibrato were the expected style on jazz tenor until the advent of Lester Young, and even after Young’s appearance many players continued to absorb Hawkins’s approach. One of the strongest improvisers in jazz history, Hawkins delivered harmonically complex lines with an urgency and authority that demanded the listener’s attention. He was also a noted ballad player who could create arpeggiated, rhapsodic lines with an intimate tenderness that contrasted with his gruff attack and aggressive energy at faster tempos.