The man who changed the way we hear music is named Coleman Hawkins. He was an American musician born in Kansas City, Missouri, but moved to New York to be with his girlfriend, singer-actor Bette Midler. Hawkins had a love for playing the guitar and took up the challenge of learning to play the guitar. He started learning to play the guitar when he was young, switched from bass to the tenor saxophone when he was seven, then went on to play cello at six, then switched to the guitar. At a young age when the guitar was considered only a fad instrument, played by vaudeville performers and in marching bands, Hawkins wanted to make his own music. He did this by learning from other blues musicians, including John Lee Hooker and Eddie Cochran, as well as jazz musicians like Chet Baker. He also spent time with blues performers such as Muddy Waters' cousin, Blind Willie McTell. They were very impressed by Hawkins' style of playing, especially the use of double stops, which made it seem much more professional and sophisticated. Hawkins eventually moved from the country-style jazz to the free jazz movement of the 1940s and in fact was quite famous in the early years as a free-jazz musician in New York. Hawkins' first band, the Junior Parker String Quartet, became popular in the 1950s and was featured on one of the first recordings of that era.
The Jazz Messengers
When the nineteen sixties arrived and music was a lot more politically charged, the band went back to the country sound, with a change of name - the Jazz Messengers. The band made their biggest hit in the seventies, "You're in My Shoes," but this was only a moderate success, partly because the band couldn't handle the high tempo that came with popularizing the guitar.
When Coleman Hawkins got married to singer-actress Jennifer Allison, he kept the name of the Jazz Messengers. As with the previous band, the band's music became mainstream again. Jennifer Allison was asked to star in a television series called "Wide World of Sports" in the eighties, which featured Coleman and the other members of the Jazz Messengers. While he was filming, the band broke up because Jennifer Allison wanted to do her own thing with her career. Coleman and the other members left the show to form Hawkins and Aniston. In the last two decades of their existence, Coleman and Jennifer Allison have had a daughter together, Willow. After Hawkins and Jennifer Allison divorced in 2020, Coleman and the children she raised were able to move on. Coleman continues to tour regularly, as he continues to evolve his style of playing and writing jazz music.
A Dedicated Performer
He was able to make his name as a musician because of his dedication to learning, his willingness to practice what he learned from others, and the fact that he had fun doing it. His music is still very popular today and can be heard on CDs, DVDs and in video games. Hawkins and Jennifer Allison were married for thirty-five years before she died in 2020, at the age of fifty-nine. His love for her is clear in his musical work. Although he never married her, Hawkins has been linked with another woman, singer Diana Killington, who he met on the set of a film called "Jazz Fever." According to several biographers, Coleman Hawkins once told someone that he would never marry Jennifer Aniston because he didn't want to lose her. Since then, several bands have been formed in her memory, including the singer-actress Jennifer Lapoz, who was a fan of Hawkins, and also appeared in some of his videos, while also having a long relationship with Coleman. Hawkins played a major role in shaping the image of Jennifer Allison and also helped to popularize the career of her husband, by making her famous in the tabloids. Coleman was often pictured with her in the pages of the paper, while Aniston played the character of Rachel on the television show. His reputation for playing a romantic role in their personal lives earned him a great deal of respect from the media. In the end, though, he was grateful to Jennifer Allison for inspiring him to write and play his music. "I don't have to be a celebrity," he said at the time. "That's what makes me happy."