I Wish I Were Twins – 1935

Coleman Hawkins

The earliest film that exists of the great tenor

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Coleman Hawkins (1904-69) was the first significant tenor-saxophonist in jazz, and one of the greatest of all time.

Hawkins, who recorded with both Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds during 1921-22 and Sonny Rollins and Paul Bley in 1963, had a very productive and influential career for 45 years.

While he was filmed on several occasions in the 1950s and ‘60s and appeared in a 1945 movie, his earliest appearance on film is quite obscure.

After ending his decade as a star with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra (1924-34), Hawkins spent a five-year period living and playing in Europe.

While in the Netherlands in 1935, Hawkins was captured on film playing “I Wish I Were Twins” while accompanied by pianist Leo de la Fuente, sounding as modern as ever.

-Scott Yanow


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