This Day in Black History: Nov. 21, 1904

This Day in Black History: Nov. 21, 1904

Jazz saxophonist Coleman Hawkins was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri, on Nov. 21, 1904.

Published November 21, 2012

(Photo: Library of Congress)

Saxophonist Coleman "Hawk" Hawkins was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri, on Nov. 21, 1904.

At 5, Hawkins' mother, a school teacher, taught him to play piano. His tastes for song soon expanded to cello and eventually to tenor saxophone.

He is regarded by some as the first great saxophonist of jazz and was a prominent name in the jazz scene in the 1930s and '40s, going on to record with fellow legends Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington among many others. Hawkins is perhaps best known for his 1939 version of "Body and Soul."

On May 19, 1969, the musician passed away from liver disease in New York City.  He was 64.

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Written by Britt Middleton

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