Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic First British Tour 1958 006
Pages 8 and 9 of the programme for Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic tour of Great Britain. Page 8 features a profile of Stan Getz, with a profile of Coleman Hawkins on page 9.
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T N the history of jazz there have been only a few soloists of whom one -â¢-could say, â He has his own highly personal style.â Stan Getz is one of these rare birds, at which the critic in me breathes a sigh of gratitude, for the truly individual player transforms the task of jazz criticism from impossibility to mere difficulty. I can talk of the â Getz sound â or the â Hawkins approach â and 1 know I will be understood.
Stanâs style, today a matured and finished thing, has been developing steadily for ten years, until today even the assurance of his
work in the â Four Brothers â days may be recognised as a stage long since passed. Getzâs romantic approach to improvisation, the unusually high melodic content of his solos, his firm yet tender tone and his infallible technique are the hallmarks by which he will be remembered when the history of modernism is adequately recorded.
The one time I saw Stan playing on his home ground was in a Newark drinkingclubin February, 1957. He sat on a high stool, his legs tucked under him, instrument held between open knees, and with supreme nonchalance ran through four or five numbers. Then he slid off the stool and chatted at the bar for a while before returning to play some more.
And everything he played had the mannered grace and felicity of one ofthe mosthighly accomplished and sophisticated musicians ever to appear on the jazz scene. This British visit is wonderful opportunity for our jazz public to hear for itself what I heard in Newark.
AFFECTIONATELY and simplyâ Hawk â to countless admirers, Coleman Hawkins remains the great, enduring genius of the tenor saxophone, as supreme on his instrument as Louis Armstrong on the trumpet. His version of â Body and Soulââhas come to be recognized, like Louisâ earlier â West End Blues,â as a classic and veritable landmark in the jazz story. Like Louis, he created an enormously infl uential style and endowed it with a big, warm tone so perfectly suited to jazz that it has never been excelled.
Yet unlike Louis, Hawk had no instrumental tradition to build upon and no mentors to guide his first steps. When he joined Fletcher Hendersonâs orchestra in 1923, the tenor was not taken very seriously as a solo instrument, but within a few years, and almost single-handed, he had brought about a revolution in the conception of tenor playing.
The extent of his achievement is not always appreciated by a generation whose experience hardly pre-dates the innovations of Charlie Parker, or, at most, those of Lester Young. Yetthemusicians best in a position to judge are very well aware of it. Thus, in Leonard Featherâs recent â Book of Jazz â,
Duke Ellington ended a brief survey of the major saxophone stylists (from Bechet to Bird via Hodges) with this significant statement : â ... Hawk, who I think was the greatest influence and stimulated the greatest change in saxophone style very abruptly.â
And it is an influence, of course, that is still highly potent today.
Whether he is soulfully exploring the possibilities of a pretty ballad, or swinging forcefully on some uptempo number, Hawk is the epitome of the adventurous and professional jazz saxophonist, as you will surely discover at this concert.
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