Monday, June 16, 2008
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Erskine Hawkins & His Orchestra
Artist:Erskine Hawkins & His Orchestra
Album:Blues Masters Vol. 1:Urban Blues
Trumpet player and bandleader Erskine Hawkins was known as the 20th Century Gabriel. He is best known as the composer of the Glenn Miller hit Tuxedo Junction but he led his own popular big band in the 30s & 40s. He was born July 26, 1914 in Birmingham, AL. He learned drums & trombone before switching to trumpet at age 13. While attending the Alabama State Teachers College, he became the leader of the 'Bama State Collegians. They moved to New York in 1934 and became the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra. Hawkins met his idol Louis Armstrong at the Apollo and Armstrong liked to sit in with his band when they were in New York. Hawkins heyday was in the late 30s while recording for RCA Records. He was one of those trumpet players that liked to hit high notes. Other featured musicians were Dud Bascomb on trumpet, Paul Bascomb on tenor sax and Avery Parrish on piano. Tuxedo Junction and the Parrish song After Hours were his two biggest hits and Tuxedo Juntion became a huge hit for Glenn Miller so Hawkins must have made a bundle in royalties. Hawkins' swinging down home style kept him busy until he split up the band in 1953. I've featured this Rhino blues comp before and it is recommended to beginners looking to learn more about the greats of black music. He continued to remain active and recorded a reunion album in 1970. Erskine Hawkins died on Nov. 11, 1993 at age 79. Here's a very rare clip of Erskine Hawkins & His Orchestra performing in a 1937 film featuring solos by Hawkins, Dud & Paul Bascomb.