Coleman Hawkins Body and Soul

Thanks to masqualero for the You Tube

Body and Soul was a popular song written in 1930 lyric by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Evans, and music by Johnny Green. Early performances with the lyrics were recorded by singers Gertrude Lawrence and Libby Holman. It quickly became popular and widely recorded by jazz and popular artists. And then it slumbered until 1939.

This version by Coleman Hawkins, was recorded October 11, 1939 at the Victor Studios in New York. It was released on the Bluebird label and also a special issue on the Record Shop of Harlem label. I have the latter 78 rpm record, which might be the most valuable 78 rpm record in my collection. But, I’m not much into the more arcane aspects of record collecting; I just wanted the record for the performance. Many jazz critics cite this Coleman Hawkins performance as among the most important recording performances in the history of Jazz. Opinions vary. I’ll just say that it’s an incredible performance and I had to have this record.

The personnel at the session were: Coleman Hawkins – Tenor Sax; Tommy Lindsay – Trumpet; Joe Guy – Trumpet; Early Hardy – Trombone; Jackie Fields – Alto Sax; Eustis Moore – Alto Sax; Gene Rogers – Piano; William Smith – Double Bass; and Arthur Herbert – Drums .(Personnel listing thanks to Christopher Jolly, commenter on the original You Tube post).

By the time he recorded Body and Soul, Coleman Hawkins was nearly an old pro with 20 years in recorded jazz music. He was a stand out player in the early to mid 1920’s Fletcher Henderson Bands. In the early 1920’s, he also recorded with the Mound City Blue Blowers, which was mostly made up of  changing groups of white musicians such as Benny Goodman, Frankie Trumbauer, Bix, and the Dorsey Brothers.


About Richard Rollo

I am a retired Community College Instructor. I taught Political Science 1 American Government for 22 years in Southern California. I am originally from Northern Minnesota. My earliest years were spent in the living quarters of a rural Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific Railway Depot. Then my family joined the great 1950's migration to Southern California where I joined up with fellow baby boomers in overcrowded schools.
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