Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Mosaic Boxed Set... and a Thought on Coleman Hawkins's Dark Ages

Mosaic records will soon be releasing an eight-disk boxed set of Coleman Hawkins recordings spanning the years from 1922–47.  Interestingly, the collection contains none of the sides that Hawkins made while he lived in Europe from 1934–39.  Perhaps there were licensing issues that prevented Mosaic from releasing any tracks from this period, when the saxophonist was in his prime; he made about fifty of them, according to this and this.  Unfortunately, this omission is likely to reinforce the rather closed-minded misperception in American circles that comparatively little of significance occurred in the jazz world outside of the U.S. before the end of World War II.  From reading a lot of jazz history texts, you could be forgiven for thinking that Hawkins vanished from the face of the earth for five years only to reappear out of the blue in New York in 1939 to record "Body and Soul."  Meanwhile, he was happily playing things like this, filmed in the Netherlands in 1935:

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