Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins – Sonny Meets Hawk! (Pure Pleasure)
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This is a memorable meeting of a pair of genial giants, Sonny Rollins who has been called again and again the boss of the modern tenor sax, and Coleman Hawkins, who is the father of jazz saxophone playing. Each has made enormous contributions to jazz improvisation, beyond the limits of his instrument. The sum total of their work forms the impressive foundation for this once-in-a-lifetime album.
This recording is extraordinary in every sense, and not merely in that it marks the first time (except for a brief on-stage appearance at the 1963 Newport Jazz Festival, which inspired this studio recording) that these great musicians have played together. Each has blended his own strong personality with the other’s, yet neither has lost his individuality. Where one reaches into the other’s 'bag', it is done with musical logic and respect; always, the goal of a cohesive duet relationship is uppermost in each of their minds. And perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of this album is that neither musician plays safe; each exercises his powerful imagination throughout, running all the risks entailed in daring improvisation, but gaining also the satisfactions inherent in such an approach.