Henry 'Red' Allen & Coleman Hawkins: I Cover the Waterfront


I Cover the Waterfront


Henry 'Red' Allen All Stars


World on a String (RCA Bluebird 2497)

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Henry 'Red' Allen (trumpet), J.C. Higginbotham (trombone), Buster Bailey (clarinet), Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax), Marty Napoleon (piano), Everett Barksdale (guitar), Lloyd Trotman (bass), Cozy Cole (drums).

Composed by Johnny Green and Edward Heyman


Recorded: New York, March 27, 1957


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

"In 1957, [Henry 'Red' Allen] made a startling recording for Victor," Whitney Balliett wrote of this session. "It included several long ballads, and Allen converted each into a massive lullaby." But don't let this lullaby put you to sleep -- you might miss one of the finest trumpet solos of the decade. Allen shows how to craft a complete musical statement on the horn, each phrase developing a story, without wasted energy or empty pyrotechnics. Allen had learned his craft on the riverboats with Fate Marable, and assimilated the Great Leap Forward signaled by Louis Armstrong in the 1920s; but he was still raising the level of his game during the Eisenhower years. One even hears faint echoes of Miles Davis and the 1950s cool school in this gently ambling improvisation. And then Allen invites Coleman Hawkins to join in on tenor. Can you get too much of a good thing? Listen to it once, and then listen to it all over again. Then -- and only then -- is it time for bed.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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