There's a new Coleman Hawkins set in the works from Mosaic Records. Though there had been rumors at one point of a three-CD Hawk Select, this will be a fullblown seven-CD box, covering much of Hawkins on record from the mid-1920s to the mid-1940s. Jazz musician and scholar Loren Schoenberg, who won a Grammy for his liner notes that accompanied Mosaic's Woody Herman Columbia set, will write the booklet.
"Classic Coleman Hawkins Columbia and Victor Sessions" will feature music from Hawkins' tenure with the Fletcher Henderson orchestra, smaller and mid-sized ensemble groups such as the Mound City Blue Blowers and the Chocolate Dandies, sessions with Benny Goodman, Benny Carter, Count Basie, and Lionel Hampton, many dates made under Hawkins' own name in the 1930s and 40s (including the famous 1939 "Body and Soul" recording), co-leader sides with trumpeter Henry Red Allen, several Metronome and Esquire Magazine all-star gatherings, and two 1947 sessions that put Hawk first in a strings setting and then as leader of a little big band that includes young up-and-comers such as J.J. Johnson, Fats Navarro, and Max Roach.
Set producer Scott Wenzel, who notes that the box is "a work in progress," writes:
The vision of this set is to present selected Coleman Hawkins recordings from mainly the 1930s and 1940s as originally recorded on labels either currently owned by Sony Music (Banner, Brunswick, Cameo, Clarion, Columbia, Conqueror, Domino, Harmony, Lincoln, Melotone, OKeh, Oriole, Perfect, Romeo, Velvet Tone and Vocalion) and BMG (Bluebird, Signature, Victor and "X"). We have also included sessions that currently have no ownership and are in the public domain (Baronet, Ca-Song, Continental, Manor, Regis and Selmer).
As part of the criteria for this set, we have chosen, for most of the recordings, sides where Hawkins solos for more than 16 bars throughout. In addition, a representative sampling of titles from the ‘20s add as a springboard to this package. Undoubtedly there are many other examples of Hawk in prime form from this period; however we have decided to concentrate more on the ‘30s and ‘40s sides.
There's no anticipated date of release yet. Along those lines, though, Mosaic says their Jimmie Lunceford Decca box should be out in either late May or early June this year, and the Sam Rivers set may be dropping around the same time as well.
UPDATE: The Mosaic website now lists the Lunceford and Rivers on its upcoming releases page, along with an exciting addition: a Mosaic Select of trumpeter Charles Tolliver's 1970s big band recordings.