Coleman Hawkins Filmed in Brussels
Coleman Hawkins was the subject of a beautifully filmed studio session taped in Brussels in 1962. The film was made following Hawk's appearance at a festival in Dinant, Belgium, the birthplace of saxophone inventor Adolphe Sax. The festival honored Sax, who'd patented the instrument in 1846, but who knows if it would ever have enjoyed its immense popularity had Hawkins not invented a style for it in jazz, the idiom where it's found its most complete expressive identity?
After the festival, which Hawk's biographer John Chilton called "a huge success," the tenor patriarch traveled to Brussels where this 32-minute film was shot by the Belgian jazz aficionados Yannick and Margo Bruynoghe. Hawk's accompanists included three American expatriates, guitarist Mickey Baker, bassist Jimmy Woode, and drummer Kansas Fields, and the French-born pianist Georges Arvanitas. The set includes Hawk's durable 1940's originals "Disorder at the Border" and "Rifftide," as well as "Riviera Blues," which showcases Baker but also features one of Hawk's greatest blues performances, an idiom that for most of his career did not seem a good match for his creative energies.