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Reviews: Coleman Hawkins: The Hawk Flies High

Reviews: 5

Review by Claude September 26, 2006 (8 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This March 1957 session recorded in mono by Riverside is boppier than Coleman Hawkins' other recordings made in the late 50's, which often focussed on his "smokey" ballad playing. Most tracks here are medium tempo, with extensive solo space for Hawk and some brief interventions by trumpeter Idrees Sulieman and trombonist J.J. Johnson. The rhythm section stays in the background.

The album was reissued on CD first in 1991 and recently remastered for a K2 20Bit reissue (now OOP). I compared the hi-rez layer of the SACD to the K2 CD.

At first, the difference was unspectacular, I even thought there was something missing with the SACD, as the K2 - which sounds slightly brighter - brings out more treble details such as the cymbal playing and tape hiss. But after a few minutes, the SACD turns out to be more natural, as the horns are fuller-bodied and less edgy in the upper register, and the mono "soundstage" has more depth. The K2 CD sounds lightweight in comparision.

A very enjoyable mainstream session, well recorded and perfectly transferred to SACD.

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Review by miguelito54 October 2, 2007 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This session kind of looked back at Coleman Hawkins' bands in the mid to late 1940's, when he featured quite a few younger players from the bop generation in his band - several of the musicians here among them. The advantage was better recording technique and extended playing time giving soloists more room to stretch out. The stellar cast here takes good advantage of these opportunities. This is no simple blowing session: There are nice arranged details, such as Idrees Sulieman holding a trumpet note for an entire chorus using circular breathing, with Hank Jones tinkling underneath, before he really digs into his solo. All player were familiar with each other from countless sessions and play as a cohesive unit.
Sound is mono with a natural soundstage placing the rhyhthm section behind the horns, but everybody is audible. The horns have a lot of presence but a warm, round sound, the bass sounds rather full (here one gets an idea why Pettiford's sound was considered so big by his peers!) - consider Oscar Pettiford did not use amplification! The drums could be a little more up front for my taste.
In my opinion, one of Hawkins' best albums from the time, faithfully reproduced, sound-wise.

p.s.: The musicians are: Coleman Hawkins - tenor sax; Idrees Sulieman - trumpet; Jay Jay Johnson - trombone; Hank Jones - piano; Barry Galbraith - guitar; Oscar Pettiford - bass; Jo Jones - drums.
Recorded by Jack Higgins at Reeves Sound Studios.

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Review by Barb October 16, 2007 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
C. Hawkins ts, I. Sulieman tp, J. J. Johnson tb, H. Jones p, B. Galbraith g, O. Pettiford b, J. Jones dr, Riverside 1957 monaural.
This is wonderful jamming and improvising music with swinging and driving rhythms (and two ballads Think Deep and Laura) breathtaking solos and perfect interplay. Especially the eleven minute Juicy Fruit and the nine minute Sancticity seem to be pure jamming tracks. Great!
Although there are better sounding recordings of that era, it has good, nostalgic, pleasing sound that I like more than some of the modern over-engineered multi-tracks recorded in five different studios resulting in a completely synthetic sound. Here the musicians play live in one studio at the same time and you can feel that. It does not reach today`s audiophile standards but it is pure fun to listen to. And that`s the point!

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Review by Croc August 18, 2008 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Fantastic.
Great music.
Very very good sound.
Mono.

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Review by lampertb January 28, 2011
Performance:   Sonics:
Mono in SACD?

Oh, yeah! ... as this release convinces you.

Track 2 includes perhaps the most fun moment/solo of post-bob jazz that I have heard, including "Diminuendo and Crescendo" from Ellington's "Live at Newport" (hard to beat). I won't ruin it for you, if you haven't heard it.

The sound on this one? It's MoFi... 'nuff said. Great stuff. I'm glad that I bought it. The Hawk flies indeed!

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