Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins – Sonny Meets Hawk!

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Sonny Meets Hawk! is a 1963 album by jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins, with Coleman Hawkins appearing as guest artist. It was recorded at RCA-Victor Studio “B” in New York City on July 15 and 18, 1963. The album marks the first time the two saxophonists had entered a recording studio together, although they had appeared on stage together briefly that same year at the Newport Jazz Festival (Wikipedia).

AllMusic Review: 
Throughout a career that spanned more than 40 years, Coleman Hawkins consistently maintained a progressive attitude, operating at or near the cutting edge of developments in jazz. If Hawk’s versatility came in handy when he backed Abbey Lincoln during Max Roach’s 1960 We Insist! Freedom Now Suite, he took on an assignment of challenging dimensions when in 1963 he cut an entire album with Sonny Rollins in the company of pianist Paul Bley, bassists Bob Cranshaw and Henry Grimes, and drummer Roy McCurdy. Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Rollins each virtually defined the tenor saxophone for his respective generation. To hear the two of them interacting freely is a deliciously exciting experience. Hawkins is able to cut loose like never before. Sometimes the two collide, locking horns and wrestling happily without holding back. For this reason one might detect just a whiff of Albert Ayler’s good-natured punchiness, particularly in the basement of both horns; such energies were very much in the air during the first half of the 1960s. Rather than comparing this date with the albums Hawkins shared with Ben Webster (1957), Henry “Red” Allen (1957), Pee Wee Russell (1961), or Duke Ellington (1962), one might refer instead to Hawk’s wild adventures in Brussels during 1962 (see Stash 538, Dali) or Rollins’ recordings from around this time period, particularly his Impulse! East Broadway Run Down album of 1965. Check out how the Hawk interacts with Rollins’ drawn-out high-pitched squeaking during the last minute of “Lover Man.” On Sonny Meets Hawk!, possibly more than at any other point in his long professional evolution, Hawkins was able to attain heights of unfettered creativity that must have felt bracing, even exhilarating. He obviously relished the opportunity to improvise intuitively in the company of a tenor saxophonist every bit as accomplished, resourceful, and inventive as he was. (

Track listing:
“Yesterdays” (Jerome Kern, Otto Harbach) – 5:13
“All the Things You Are” (Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II) – 9:33
“Summertime” (DuBose Heyward, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) – 5:58
“Just Friends” (John Klenner, Sam M. Lewis) – 4:40
“Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be?)” – (Davis, Roger “Ram” Ramirez, James Sherman) – 8:54
“At McKies'” (Rollins) – 7:03

Sonny Rollins – tenor saxophone
Coleman Hawkins – tenor saxophone
Paul Bley – piano
Roy McCurdy – drums
Bob Cranshaw – bass (tracks 1, 2, and 5) – recorded July 15
Henry Grimes – bass (tracks 3, 4, and 6) – recorded July 18

Released: October 1963
Recorded July 15 (#1-2, 5) & 18 (#3-4, 6), 1963
RCA-Victor Studio B, New York City
Length: 41:21
Label: RCA-Victor
Producer: George Avakian