Coleman Hawkins: Honeysuckle Rose


Honeysuckle Rose


Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax)


Coleman Hawkins 1937-1939 (Classics French)

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Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax), Benny Carter (alto sax), Django Reinhardt (guitar), Alix Combelle (tenor sax), Eugene d’Hellemmes (bass), Tommy Benford (drums),

Andre Ekyan (alto sax)


Composed by Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller


Recorded: Paris, April 28, 1937


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

This arrangement of Thomas “Fats” Waller's classic opus is the unmistakable work of Benny Carter; the opening saxophone ensemble beautifully reflects his sensibility as an alto saxophone soloist. Also striking is his use of the tune’s original chord changes creating sonorities now long gone from the performance practice of standard tunes. Hawkins’s solo presages his earthshaking 1939 “Body and Soul” recording –- for example, measures nine through thirty-two. Another nice Carter touch is the sax background during Hawkins’s second chorus that sustains the opening G minor 7th chord without resolution during measures one through four (and similar places) -- adding a subtle tension of delight. The closing riff (decorated by Reinhardt’s well-recorded jaunty guitar), like the opening chorus, bears Carter’s timeless touch of brightness and class.

Reviewer: David Sager

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  • 1 DP Waldman // May 01, 2009 at 05:44 AM
    Coleman Hawkin's version of Honeysuckle Rose is a track on The Definitive Coleman Hawkins (Ken Burns Jazz). It's definitely a standout, and by the way, Stephan Grapelli is listed as playing piano on this track.