Sonny Rollins & Coleman Hawkins: Just Friends
Sonny Meets Hawk (RCA 63479)
Composed by John Klenner and Sam Lewis.
Recorded: New York, July 18, 1963
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
These two tenor legends may have been "just friends," but there is still an aggressive edge to this encounter. Rollins was flirting with the avant-garde during this turbulent stage in his musical development. But here, instead of Don Cherry, Coleman Hawkins is his front-line partner. Even so, Rollins still pushes toward the outside, especially during the closing moments of this track when he tosses out disjointed phrases behind Hawkins's melody statement. This partnership never really coheres to my satisfaction. Rollins is in an exploratory mood, while Hawkins is trying to get more of a swinging groove happening. Nonetheless, the individual solos are smartly done, and there is inevitably a certain fascination in watching so much sax history compressed into a 4½-minute track.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia