This was 1960, and stereo was still a novelty. In 1958, people had bought, and listened awestruck to, the sound of a locomotive passing from one channel to another (You can hear it! Going across the
Technology, these days, has moved in a different direction, and someone listening to a streaming service over their iPad speaker is not going to get the full effect available to the 1960 stereo buff, with his speakers placed exactly such and such many feet and inches apart, exactly so many inches off the ground, exactly at such and such an angle, standing exactly so many inches away. stooping if you were over six feet tall, getting up on a stepstool if you were...but that was rarer. Not many women were as likely to make fools of themselves over technology in those days.
And it's kinda too bad. The stereo separation of tenors was sort of a gimmick, but it was a nice one, especially on "In a Mellow Tone," which they start out with a channel-combining unison on the head, then proceed to battle stations on the right and the left for their solos. The master and the disciple, now a full-fledged star in his own right, trading solos with love and respect and lot of competitive fire.
Tommy Flanagan, at 30, was already a veteran of countless recording sessions--this made his 24th appearance on Prestige alone, playing with everyone, but especially the swing-to-bop veterans. (Certainly not exclusively--he had been the piano player on John Coltrane's groundbreaking Giant Steps.) He could always be counted on to do everything well, Ron Carter was still at the beginning of his jazz Odyssey. Gus Johnson, for Prestige, had played the blues with Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon, swing with the Swingville All Stars, and modern with Lem Winchester. He was a decade younger than Hawkins and at least that much older than everyone else in the group, and a perfect fit.
The album was released on Swingville (and later on Prestige, with "Lover," left off the original package, added in) as Night Hawk, after its only Hawkins original. Esmond Edwards produced.
Listening to Prestige Vol. 2, 1955-56, and Vol. 3, 1957-58 now include, in the Kindle editions, links to all the "Listen to One" selections. All three volumes available from Amazon.
The most interesting book of its kind that I have ever seen. If any of you real jazz lovers want to know about some of the classic records made by some of the legends of jazz, get this book. LOVED IT.
– Terry Gibbs
EXPECT VOLUME 4, 1959-60, BY THE END OF THIS YEAR.