Avery Parrish(piano)-Jazz After Hours-Orch Erskine Hawkins

A most long and sad day. It was a day of work, but not of great progress. The energy in the world was off, I could feel it.

It´s almost 3am, and I started this morning at 7.45, that is what you call a full day at it, At least, I didnt sit in traffic. Ending now the night, with possibly the best kind of music for a day like this one. The great man Erskine Hawkins, after digging about I manged to get some info on him!!!

1989 Inductee
Lifework Award for Performing Achievement

Composer and trumpet player Erskine Hawkins drew on memories of a neighborhood nightspot for his classic big band standard "Tuxedo Junction", a jazzy number that became the most popular song of the World War II era.

Hawkins was born in Birmingham in 1914, the son of a U.S. soldier who lost his life in military action during the first world war. The young musician began playing drums at the age of 7, moved on to the trombone, then decided at the age of 13 to channel his musical energies into playing trumpet.

While attending the State Teachers College in Montgomery, Hawkins became leader of a band called the Bama State Collegians. The group traveled to New York City during the depression and generated funds used to help keep the institution afloat during its hard times. The band drew a strong public following, especially at the posh Savoy Ballroom.

During the 40s and 50s, Hawkins helped discover several first-rate jazz musicians who drifted in and out of his band, including Paul and Wilbur Bascomb, Sammy Lowe, Haywood Henry and Avery Parrish. He also became on of the principal influences on a young rhythm and blues piano player named Ray Charles.

Hawkins was born in Birmingham in 1914, the son of a U.S. soldier who lost his life in military action during the first world war. A talented high-note trumpeter and a popular bandleader, Erskine Hawkins was nicknamed "The 20th Century Gabriel." He learned drums and trombone before switching to trumpet when he was 13. While attending the Alabama State Teachers College, he became the leader of the college band, the 'Bama Street Collegians. They went to New York in 1934, became the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra, started making records in 1936 and by 1938 were quite successful. With Hawkins and Dud Bascomb sharing the trumpet solos, Paul Bascomb or Julian Dash heard on tenors, Haywood Henry on baritone and pianist Avery Parrish, this was a solidly swinging band that delighted dancers and jazz fans alike. Hawkins had three major hits ("Tuxedo Junction," "After Hours" and "Tippin' In") and was able to keep the big band together all the way until 1953; some of their later sessions were more R&B-oriented yet never without jazz interest. Hawkins led a smaller unit during his last few decades (the survivors of the big band had a recorded reunion in 1971) and the trumpeter kept on working into the 1980s. -- Scott Yanow

Chart Songs as a Songwriter

Song TitleRecording ArtistChart*Year
Tuxedo JunctionGlenn Miller Band11940
Tuxedo JunctionErskine Hawkins Orchestra71940
Tuxedo JunctionJan Savitt151940
Gabriel's HeaterErskine Hawkins281948
*Chart position is based on Billboard Magazine Pop, Country, R&B, & A/C Charts. Other music industry charts may have shown higher chart positions.

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