Recorded in concert on November 6, 2004 at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele as part of the Jazzfest Berlin (Berliner Festspeile)
It's hard to believe that the saxophone once took a back seat to the trumpet and the cornet as a jazz instrument, but in fact, that was very much the case in the 1890s, 1900s, and 1910s. The rise of Coleman "Bean" Hawkins in the '20s, however, changed that; thanks to the popularity and visibility that Hawkins enjoyed as the tenor star of Fletcher Henderson's orchestra, saxophonists became incredibly prominent in jazz - and any jazz musician who is playing a saxophone today (be it tenor, alto, soprano, baritone, or bass) owes him a huge debt of gratitude. Bennie Wallace is well aware of that debt, which is why the tenor man salutes him with such enthusiasm on Disorder at the Border: The Music of Coleman Hawkins. Recorded live at the Berlin JazzFest in Germany on November 6, 2004, this 65-minute CD celebrates what would have been Hawkins' 100th birthday had he lived to see November 21, 2004 (the seminal tenor man died in 1969 at the age of 64). Disorder at the Border finds Wallace leading a nonet that consists of six horn players (including trumpeter Terell Stafford and trombonist Ray Anderson) and a rhythm section, with guitarist Anthony Wilson (who isn't part of the nonet) handling the arrangements. Stylistically, Wallace is quite different from Hawkins; while Hawkins is remembered for swing, classic jazz, and bop, Wallace is identified with post-bop and the avant-garde. But Hawkins has long influenced Wallace's tone (along with Ben Webster, Eric Dolphy, and John Coltrane, among others), and Wallace's adoration of Hawkins' playing is evident on two Hawkins compositions ("Bean and the Boys" and the title track) and four other songs associated with him ("Body and Soul," "La Rosita," "Honeysuckle Rose," and "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho"). That isn't to say that Wallace actually goes out of his way to emulate Hawkins; Wallace never allows his own personality to become obscured, and the result is an excellent CD that reflects both Wallace's individuality and his love of the great tenor master.
All Music Guide