Coleman Hawkins considered the first important tenor sax player. He is strongly associated with swing , big band and was influencial in the bebop and avant guarde era. Many tenor men and horn players to come would try to emulate his mood and style of playing. Miles Davis was quoted as saying “when I heard Hawk I learned to play ballads”. His 1939 jazz recording of the pop standard of Body and Soul featuring him improvising almost the whole song except for the first four bars. A definate evolutionary step in the jazz world. He also was the leader of the first ever bebop recording session with Dizzy Gillespie, and Max Roach in 1943. Known for his adaptable playing style he had no problems communicating with younger players. In the late 50’s he was considered a “has been” when he recorded with Roy Eldridge and John Coltrane. Lester Young known as “The Prez” said that Coleman was the first “Prez” and I was the second.
Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster is a favorite of mine.