From the mid-'50s until Coleman Hawkins's death in 1969, the tenor-saxophonist frequently teamed up with trumpeter Roy Eldridge to form a potent team. However, Hawkins rarely met altoist Johnny Hodges on the bandstand, making this encounter a special event. Long versions of "Satin Doll," "Perdido" and "The Rabbit in Jazz" give these three classic jazzmen (who are ably assisted by the Tommy Flanagan Trio) chances to stretch out and inspire each other. The remainder of this CD has Eldridge and Hodges absent while Coleman Hawkins (on "new" versions of "Mack the Knife," "It's the Talk of the Town," "Bean and the Boys" and "Caravan") heads the quartet for some excellent playing. Timeless music played by some of the top veteran stylists of the swing era.
This releases contains the complete classic album Desafinado (Impulse AS- 28), which marks Coleman Hawkins’ only incursion into the Bossa Nova genre while showcasing him as the only horn. As a bonus, Kenny Burrell’s entire LP Bluesy Burrell (Moodsville MVST29) featuring Coleman Hawkins, and recorded in between the two bossa nova sessions. Even though it was not recorded in the Bossa Nova style, it maintains the relaxed spirit of the first album. Both LPs feature the exceptional Tommy Flanagan (playing percussion on the first album), as well as Latin percussion - by Willie Rodríguez on Desafinado, and by the great Ray Barretto on Bluesy Burrell.
At Ease is one of the most charming and attractive of the many albums Coleman Hawkins and Tommy Flanagan made together—a collection of ballads played with great affection for the melody. Hawkins could be fiercely aggressive in his playing. In this collection, he displays his tenderness. If ever there was a master of the ballad, it was Coleman Hawkins. His romantic style and sound caused one writer to say: "Hawk turned the saxophone into the sexophone." At Ease was done for the Moodsville series but while Hawkins, with the expert help of his pianist, Tommy Flanagan, sets a mood on eight standards, it is never merely mood music.