“Hawk takes flight” haiku

Coleman Hawkins, Nov. 21, 1904 – May 19, 1969

Really don’t know jazz
Do know I like anything
By Coleman Hawkins

The Hawk, hatched this date
In St. Joseph, Missouri
Baby, born to blow

Piano, age 5,
Cello at 7, at 9
Tenor saxophone

Many instruments
Many Midwestern homes
Nebraska, Kansas

Topeka High band
Must’ve really had some swing
Hawk doing his thing

He played in KC
Before the Big Apple called
Hawk was on his way

Fletcher Henderson
Gave him a chance, Satchmo showed
Him how to relax

He was the first great
On the tenor sax, and few
Ever outdid him

Lester Young, called Pres,
Told people Hawk really was
The tenor’s first prez

So swinging, so smooth
Miles Davis said Hawk showed how
To play a ballad

Chords and progressions
Hawk knew them all, but what’s more
He knew to evolve

Hanging with Django
And Benny Carter, breaking
Ground, “Body and Soul”

Helped when the time came
Ushered in new bop players,
Out-jammed them at times

Thelonious Monk,
Dizzy, Miles, Rollins, Coltrane
To name just a few

More traditional
In his last decades, but still
A winning tenor

Happy birthday, Hawk
Let that smoky sound tell us
All the things you are

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