A nice overview of Coleman Hawkins' career in a great 2LP set, containing material recorded between 1939 and 1947, and later work recorded in 1956. Most of the early work is in a wonderful small group format that lets Hawkins' tenor really come to the forefront. Other players on the sessions include Benny Carter, JC Higginbotham, Allen Eager, Peter Brown, and Budd Johnson – and titles include "Half Step Down Please", "Bouncing With Bean", "Meet Doctor Foo", "Spotlite", "Low Flame", and "Jumping For Jane". The later work features the orchestra of Billy Byers, including soloists Zoot Sims
, Al Cohn
, and Hank Jones. Coleman's the main blower, though – and the arrangements have a solid base that lets him open up in that exploratory tone he was crafting during the time. And although tracks are short, there's a heck of a lot of soul packed into them – recorded with impeccable quality, much more so than earlier sides. Titles include "I Never Knew", "Bean & The Boys", "The Essence of You", "Have You Met Miss Jones", "Dinner For One Please, James", and "I'm Shooting High".
(Cover has a cutout notch, some wear, and peeling inside the gatefold.)