The Essential Sides Remastered 1929-1939
Coleman Hawkins, certainly a much sought-after sideman and soloist in his early days, had much to offer for the variety of early vintage jazz bands he played with. This whopping four-CD set really lays out the goods on Hawkins, as he was rapidly developing from 1929 up to the pre-World War II days ten years after. JSP Records, a trusted company in issuing no-nonsense and unique reissues, has really put its foot to the floorboard with this roaring overview of Hawkins. You get seven precious tracks with Detroit's McKinney's Cotton Pickers; a few with the obscure Jack Purvis, Michel Warlop, or Jack Hylton orchestras; and a massive 14 sides from Spike Hughes & His Negro Orchestra. In addition to the typical Chocolate Dandies, Benny Goodman, and Benny Carter recordings, there are rare sessions the tenor saxophonist co-led with trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen, a small handful with Hawkins as leader, and cuts accompanied by the Berries and the Ramblers. Apparently Dan Morgenstern from the Jazz Institute at Rutgers University was helpful advising JSP on excavating music for this compilation -- always a good thing. Also laudable are the digital reproductions of this older material, clean as can be and crankable. This might be an expense for both fans and novices, but it's well worth the price to hear a youthful master at his craft, with bands that challenged his already high-level artistry.